We all want to be liked. There’s nothing wrong with that.
And when did being a nice person become such a bad thing? In an increasingly self-absorbed world, we need more selfless people, right?
When put like that, it’s hard to find an argument against being a “do-gooder.”
Except that the difference between being a nice person and being a people pleaser is the long-term physical and mental harm it does to the person who is constantly giving, without replenishing their reserves.
What Is A People Pleaser?
A people pleaser is someone who strives to keep the peace and avoid conflict at all costs, often at their own expense. They don’t consider their own feelings or needs in the service of other people. People pleasers are often seen as doormats or pushovers due to their willingness to do whatever it takes to be liked.
In psychological terms, people with this trait are sometimes classified as being codependent (which refers to a relationship where one person loses their sense of independence and believes they need to tend to the other), sociotropic (which is a tendency to place an irrational amount of value on relationships over personal independence), or having anxious attachment (which is a desire to be close to others whilst simultaneously fearing that those people don’t want to be close in return).
But it’s not all bad. People pleasers have some admirable qualities as well. After all, that’s what makes them so good at making other people happy. Generally, people pleasers are good at reading a room or situation. When they enter a place, they can sense the mood of the people there. Instinctively, they know what other people are thinking, feeling, or need. As such, they are good at caring for others and anticipating their needs.
People pleasers can easily adjust to fit in and blend with different people groups. They are social chameleons, if you like. Because of this, they are good at putting people at ease.
They have a very strong work ethic, although they regularly take on more than they can comfortably handle.
On the other side of the spectrum, people pleasers tend to be perfectionists and overachievers. They place a lot of pressure on themselves to be perfect and push past their natural capacity. Usually, their personality style is Type A, and they strongly need to control the way others perceive them.
15 Signs You Are A People Pleaser
If you’re still on the fence about whether you’re a people pleaser, check out the signs below. If you identify with a number of these signs, chances are you struggle with this affliction.
1. You have a low opinion of yourself.
Deep down inside, you don’t believe you are enough by virtue of who you are or that anyone could ever like you for yourself.
That’s why you work so hard to please everyone, because if people don’t like you for who you are, then they’ll like you for what you do for them, right?
You’re really just trying to buy love and affection with your kindness or acts of service.
2. You need to be liked.
The thought of someone not liking you or even being mad at you is hard to stomach. It can keep you up at night. You bend over backward to get on everyone’s good side because you have a neurotic desire to be liked, no matter what. You thirst for the approval of others and take any form of criticism very badly.
3. You always say “yes,” never “no.”
When anyone needs a favor or any kind of help, they run to you because you’re always available and never say “no.” It’s almost like the word “no” is a cuss word in your vocabulary. No matter how inconvenient or difficult the request is, you’ll say yes.
4. You take the blame regardless.
You’re quick to accept fault, any fault, even when you are not to blame. It doesn’t matter, you’ll apologize and take ownership of it.
You are always ready to take on the blame, even when what happened had absolutely nothing to do with you.
It’s likely you’ve already apologized several times this past week.
5. You are quick to agree.
Your opinions depend on who you’re around at the time because you edit your views to blend in. You may not agree with what they’re saying, but you go along with their sentiments just to be liked.
You don’t want to give them any excuse not to like you or reject you outright. So you change yourself to their ideal friend or partner.
Let’s say you’re out on a first date and the person you’re seeing mentions offhandedly that they don’t eat onions and hate seeing them in their food. Even though you eat onions pretty regularly, guess who is waxing poetic about how disgusting onions are?
This scenario plays out over various topics and conversations with different people.
6. You don’t know who you are, and nor does anyone else.
You struggle with authenticity and to feel ‘seen’ by others. Because you’re constantly changing who you are or what you think, you feel like people don’t really know the true you.
And they don’t. But it’s really not their fault because they’ve never met the real you. You’ve hidden away your true nature behind a false facade of who you think they want instead.
The constant editing of yourself to appeal to others has also led you to have a weak sense of self. You don’t really know who you are anymore. Like a chameleon, you’ve changed so often that you can’t remember the real you.
7. You give and give and give.
You’re a giver. Whether it’s gifts or money or time, you’re always giving. It’s not uncommon for you to give out your last dollar to someone who asks. You justify it by saying “they wouldn’t ask if they didn’t need it,” never even considering that you need it as well.
Giving is almost a compulsion for you. Before the person has even finished stating their request or explaining what they need or why, you’ve handed over the requested item.
8. You push yourself to your limits.
Fluctuating between being exhausted, burnt out, and overworked, you run yourself ragged taking care of others.
Due to an overdeveloped sense of personal responsibility, you feel it’s your job to make sure everyone else is happy. You’re quick to offer help even before you’re asked.
You spread yourself so thin, to the point of burnout, just to help other people.
9. You simply can’t handle conflict.
Conflict really upsets you. You hate having arguments or when other people argue. If people aren’t smiling and 100% happy with you and with others, you make it your mission to resolve whatever is causing the issue, even if you’re not involved at all.
Because you’re so conflict-averse, when you’re the one involved in an argument, instead of addressing the issue, you quickly make excuses for the other person, even when it’s obvious you’re being used or abused. Or you just keep quiet and ignore the matter altogether.
In fact, you will throw yourself under the bus just to avoid conflict and may even feel guilty when you’re angry with someone else. You might feel as if you have no right to be upset with other people, like your feelings on the matter are invalid or even wrong. So you stifle your anger or irritation and put on a smile.
On the off chance the offending party recognizes their error and apologizes to you, you’re quick to accept it and assure them that your feelings weren’t hurt or affected in any way, just so they don’t feel bad.
Your motto is “Peace at any price.”
10. You care too much what other people think of you.
How other people perceive you is very important to you. It consumes your thoughts and affects your behavior. You actually act based on what you think other people think of you.
There may be some activities you want to try out, but you feel others would judge you or look down on you for doing so.
You are constantly trying to maintain your self-image and put yourself under extreme pressure to conform to the narrative you’ve written for yourself. Even though the false veneer is suffocating you, you stress yourself out, ensuring it stays firmly in place.
11. You neglect your own needs.
As you struggle to prioritize everyone else in your life, the one person who always comes in dead last is you. You regularly neglect your own needs in sacrifice to everyone else.
It’s not uncommon for you to sacrifice your time, sanity, and well-being in the interest of others. Taking time for self-care seems selfish and you can’t remember the last time you took care of yourself or had time to recuperate.
You have a hard time advocating for yourself, which has led to your current pattern of self-neglect. Half the time, you’re not even aware of your needs or feelings. So if asked, you’d be hard-pressed to respond or smile brightly and assure everyone that you’re ok.
12. You fear rejection and abandonment.
You have many fears, but the two most prominent ones are rejection and abandonment. Even the slightest bit of criticism is taken poorly and seen as rejection. People describe you as being sensitive because of the way you react to anything you perceive as a negative assessment.
The truth is, you see the criticism as a reprimand, even if it’s said to help you improve.
The fear of abandonment is so ingrained in you that you hold on to toxic relationships because you fear being alone. You feel that being alone is a sign you are inadequate or unlovable.
At times, you wonder if you’ll ever find love or think your abusive partner is the best option available to you. So you go to extreme lengths to avoid abandonment and being alone.
13. You show compassion to everyone but yourself.
It’s easier for you to understand another person’s perspective or to cut them some slack than it is to give yourself a break. You regularly put yourself in the shoes of other people and excuse their behavior, but you can’t seem to extend the same level of understanding or compassion to yourself.
You beat yourself up for falling short of your high standards with your “flimsy” excuses and reasons for failure. But you don’t bat an eyelid when overlooking someone else’s failings.
14. You have a lot of pent-up emotions.
There is so much suppressed emotion inside that you’re afraid of losing control because of it. It’s one reason why you don’t drink a lot of alcohol, because you’re afraid all your pent-up emotions will come spilling out when you don’t have control of yourself.
Sometimes, you feel like a bottle of a carbonated drink that’s been shaken repeatedly. If anyone dares to open it up, the sugary liquid will spew out everywhere.
Instead of talking about what you’re feeling, you push your emotions down, ignoring and overlooking them because you don’t want any conflict. You don’t want people to know that you have feelings because it might make them feel uncomfortable.
15. You make excuses for other people.
Even though you’re being verbally, emotionally, or perhaps physically abused, you blindly believe in other people’s “goodness.” He didn’t mean it like that, you regularly tell yourself. She’s a good person, you say to yourself to excuse repeated toxic behavior.
Though you’re being trampled upon, you overlook it because deep down inside, you’re sure they didn’t mean it like that. They’re just going through some stuff. You even resort to blaming yourself for their behavior. Because clearly, you’re the reason they’re acting this way.
Take This 2-Minute People-Pleasing Assessment
Still not sure whether you’re a people pleaser? Look at the following statements (taken with thanks from this website). If you agree with more of them than you disagree, it’s time to accept your people-pleasing ways and get started on changing said ways.
- I put other people’s needs before my own, even when the cost to me and my happiness is great.
- If someone needs my help, I can’t say no. In fact, I often find it difficult to say no. And when I do, I feel guilty.
- To avoid reactions I’m afraid of, I often try to be who others want me to be, to agree with them, to fit in.
- I keep my own needs and problems to myself; I don’t want to burden others with them. They’re dealing with their own issues.
- It’s my job to make sure everyone else is happy.
- I always have a smile on my face and an upbeat attitude, even if I feel sad or angry or hurt.
- I avoid conflict and confrontation; it’s better just to keep the peace.
- I am often on the go, rushing to get things done.
- I should always be nice and never hurt someone’s feelings.
- I’ll do whatever it takes to get someone to stop being mad at me.
- Normally, I hold back from saying what I really think.
- I want everyone to like me… all the time.
- I feel like a failure if I’ve displeased anyone.
- If I don’t make others happy, I worry that I’ll be alone and unloved forever.
- I will change my behavior, at my expense, to make others happy.
- I spend a lot of time doing things for others, but almost never ask anyone to do things for me.
- If I ask people for help and they agree, I’m sure they must do it out of obligation.
- It’s difficult for me to express my feelings when they differ from someone I’m close to.
The Dangers Of Being A People Pleaser
Being a people pleaser may seem like a noble calling. It’s what’s expected of you because you’re just a nice guy or a good girl. But let’s be honest, it kind of sucks sometimes. Being everyone’s friend comes with a lot of baggage that the people pleaser will be reluctant to admit to.
1. You feel frustrated, angry, and resentful.
There comes a time when you just can’t bend over backward anymore. You’ve made so many concessions, gone out of your way so many times, inconvenienced yourself for other people so much so that you can’t do it anymore.
And they’re still not satisfied.
That’s when the anger builds up and the frustration starts to bubble over. Can’t they see how much pressure you’re under for them? All you do is give and give. Do they even appreciate it? You’re the only person who does anything around here.
Because you lack the skills to talk about your feelings or ask for help, you keep quiet. Since you never complain, no one is aware that there’s a problem. So you let the anger and frustration simmer and stew and grow into resentment.
Eventually, you descend into passive aggressiveness because confronting conflict head-on is too much to ask for. Or worse yet, one day, out of the blue, you explode.
Your efforts to keep other people happy have stretched your physical and mental resources beyond your capacity to handle them.
2. People take advantage of you.
Have you ever had a friend who seemed to only attract users and abusers as romantic partners? There was just something about them that brought the douche bags out in full throng.
Well, you are that friend. Only, you can’t see it.
Like a moth to a flame, abusive people and narcissists flock to your side. Because they’re looking for those they can easily manipulate, they recognize the signs in you. They don’t even have to work that hard because you’re so eager to please. You never complain, are always available to help, and will make up excuses for their terrible treatment. You’re the perfect victim.
They abuse you with impunity and ignore your boundaries because they know you’ll do what they want. You might even apologize for any toil their abuse of you has caused them.
3. Your relationships don’t truly satisfy you.
Relationships are supposed to be about give-and-take. But you realize that you’re always giving and the other person is always taking.
Or you don’t think the other person knows the real you. You don’t feel “seen” by the people closest to you. Maybe your relationship started off with your partner making all the decisions, with you going along without a peep. Now, years down the line, you realize you resent not having a say in anything.
Whatever it is, you’re not satisfied with your relationships, romantic or otherwise. You feel taken for granted and not cared for.
4. You suffer from stress, burnout, and anxiety.
Constantly under pressure, feeling stressed out, anxious, and near burnout have become the norm for you.
You’re stressed out because you’ve stretched yourself out too thin trying to please everybody. Worrying about what everyone thinks of you or if they’re happy or mad at you has left you feeling extremely anxious.
With no thought to refueling or self-care, you’re one step away from a full-on breakdown.
5. Your partners and friends are frustrated with you.
The people who truly care about you are frustrated with your people-pleasing behavior because they can see the toll it’s taking on you. They don’t like the effect it’s having on your physical or mental health.
But you refuse to listen. They hate the way other people walk all over you, but you’re quick to excuse the offensive behavior.
Sometimes, you mistake their concern for jealousy of your new relationships.
Your partners and friends see you giving so much of yourself to others that you don’t have enough left over for them. It’s almost as if they come last on your list of priorities when they actually have your best interests at heart.
6. You ignore your own goals and dreams.
Whilst you’re busy using your mental resources to make sure everyone else has what they want or need, you don’t have enough willpower to devote to your own needs and goals.
Simply put, you’re too exhausted to work on yourself. You’ve used your limited emotional, mental, and physical resources to cater to everyone else. You’ve got nothing left in the tank for yourself.
So your dreams and aspirations remain unfulfilled until you give up and just forget all about them.
7. You suffer from a loss of self.
For so long you’ve hidden under a facade, pretending to be whoever you thought others wanted you to be. You’ve spent years changing and adjusting in line with whichever social group you’re a part of at the moment. You’ve lost all sight of yourself. The mask, the pretense, has left you feeling disconnected from what you truly think and feel.
You are so worried about how people would respond to the real you that you don’t even know who you are anymore. Sometimes, you are not sure of your own emotions because you’ve been so successful at hiding your feelings, you can no longer recognize them.
Keeping your feelings locked up inside, you distrust them and view them as wrong and less important than others.
8. Many of your relationships are shallow.
Because you don’t let people see the real you, you develop superficial relationships with other people. You never talk about your feelings or your problems, thus keeping the relationship at the acquaintance level.
In order to accommodate others, you hide your thoughts, feelings, and preferences, which makes it impossible for other people to really know you.
Most of your relationships are based on dishonesty because you’ve lied about who you really are, what you want in a relationship, or even something as simple as what you think in a conversation. Such falsehood makes it impossible to be known or for anyone to know how to connect with you on a deep, meaningful level.
9. You are out of touch with your emotions.
To keep the peace and not rock the boat, you suppress any emotion that is outside of happy. Somewhere along the way, you’ve convinced yourself that your feelings don’t matter or that the way you felt about something or someone was wrong.
So, instead of talking about the incident and how it made you feel, you ignore it. Surely, you think, there is a logical reason why the other party did what they did.
Or maybe you grew up in an environment where you learned that your feelings on a matter were wrong. Perhaps you didn’t have the right to express anger or sadness because you were a child. What could you possibly be angry or sad about?
As a result, you’ve learned to hide all emotions except happiness. You push everything else down inside because not only are they wrong but also because no one cares about how you feel.
10. You feel like a fake.
Over the years, you’ve created a persona that you feel most people like. It’s your go-to mask that you put on when you interact with others. Any attempt to look beyond the mask is met with swift resistance.
You put yourself under extreme pressure to maintain your false self-image. Since you don’t even know who you are, it’s even more important you keep the mask on at all costs, even when it is suffocating you.
The pressure to be who you aren’t is enormous. The pressure to be who you aren’t, when you have no clue who you really are, is unimaginable.
11. You can’t enjoy yourself.
There is no way you can enjoy yourself when you’re busy worrying whether everyone else is having a good time. Most of the time, you are so busy thinking about the happiness and comfort of others that you aren’t even considered.
You might be at a party, running around making sure everyone has food or drinks and is having a good time, not even remembering that you haven’t eaten since the morning.
Without the least bit of consideration for your own well-being and comfort, you run around making sure everyone is comfortable.
3 Core Reasons Why You Live To Please
People-pleasing behavior is not something you pick up on a whim. It’s not a pattern that you stumble upon. Rather, it’s something that is ingrained in you from childhood. You learned this sacrificial behavior having grown up in an environment where:
a) You had a parent who was very domineering and authoritarian.
In your household, there were a lot of expectations placed on you. You were likely pressured to perform at a high level of success. Often you were punished for making the slightest mistake or error. Tiger Parenting (a form of strict parenting, whereby parents are highly invested in ensuring their children’s success) is a good example of this parenting style.
Most likely, you never went through a rebellious phase during your adolescence, or perhaps your parents destroyed any thought of rebellion before it could even sprout. So, to avoid being yelled at or punished, you decided it was just easier to follow the rules and not rock the boat.
b) You lived with someone who also displayed this behavior.
As children, we imitate those around us. If you were raised by a people pleaser, it’s likely you grew up to become one. You probably grew up with one of your caregivers running around caring for everyone else, to the detriment of their health. You simply assumed that’s how love works.
c) You lived in an abusive household.
You learned early that it was best to keep your abuser happy at all costs to avoid being verbally, physically, or sexually abused, because the chances of you being hurt increased exponentially if your abuser was unhappy.
In order to cope, you learned how to read the mood of the abuser so you could quickly adjust your behavior and escape harm.
These are lessons you’ve carried with you into adulthood. You’ve been this way for most of your life, which is why you’re having such a hard time coming to terms with the fact that it’s not a healthy way to live.
15 Steps To Stop Being A People Pleaser
Because you’ve been this way for such a long time, learning a new pattern of behavior will take a lot of time and effort. However, with time, you should be able to take back control of your life and stop your codependent habits.
1. Talk to a therapist.
The benefits of talking with a licensed professional cannot be underestimated. You get the undivided attention of a non-judgmental third party, who is bound by law and creed to keep your discussions private.
Luckily, over the last few years, mental health issues have slowly become more talked about (and rightly so). Many therapists and mental health companies now offer online services at really affordable prices. So, the limitations of your medical insurance are no longer an excuse to avoid seeing a professional and getting the mental health help you need.
The people-pleasing behaviors that are causing chaos to your mental, emotional, and physical health are behaviors you learned during childhood. You’ve had them longer than most of your relationships. Breaking those habits will not be easy. Talk to a therapist who can help you pinpoint where you learned those coping skills and teach you a better way to respond.
2. Work to get to know your true self.
Other than professional help, your first step should be to get to know yourself, your likes, wants, desires, goals, and so on. What do you really think without the noise of other people’s opinions drowning you out? What are your favorite foods? What do you like to do for recreation? What are your values in life? That sort of thing.
Treat this step like you’ve just been introduced to someone new, who you find interesting and you want to get to know better. What questions would you ask them? Write the questions down and answer each one about yourself.
If there are some questions you don’t know the answers to, don’t stress about it. Make a plan to figure it out.
3. Figure out what you need.
Set your goals and priorities and figure out what you need in order to accomplish them. Your goals and priorities are an offshoot of what you value in life. After identifying what your values are, you’ll know what your priorities are.
For example, if you value education, but dropped out of college, it might be time to think about going back.
Perhaps you value your family but are always staying back at work to finish up on extra projects. It’s time to rearrange your schedule and scale back your office time.
Figure out what you need to live a life that is in line with your values. It’ll make it easier to cut out the stuff you don’t need.
4. Recognize that your needs matter too.
Your needs matter just as much as everyone else’s. After ignoring them for so long, it’s time for you to recognize that your needs matter too.
Think about it, how many people consider your needs and wants as much as you do theirs? Probably no one.
If no one is going to show up for you the way you show up for them, then who is taking care of you? You not taking care of your needs doesn’t mean they disappear. They’re just waiting and getting bigger and more urgent by the day.
It’s time for you to stand up for yourself and look after yourself.
5. Notice and challenge negative assumptions.
Stop assuming someone is angry or unhappy with you just because you told them no or weren’t available to help.
Don’t worry about what other people think and feel about you. Avoid jumping to the conclusion that people won’t like the real you when you haven’t given them the chance to get to know the real you.
Don’t assume that the less than stellar feedback from your boss is a personal attack.
Notice when you have a negative assumption and challenge it. What if your negative assumption is wrong? You would have suffered for no reason.
6. Ask for help.
Learn to ask for help. You can’t do everything by yourself. Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a man or a woman.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, ask for help. When you’re running on empty, ask for help.
After all, you’ve stuck your neck out for so many people in the past; they should be willing to extend the same favor to you. If they don’t, maybe they’re busy or prioritizing themselves (as they should).
On the other hand, they could also be revealing that they are takers and not givers, which is something you need to learn how to spot.
7. Learn to say no.
This is going to be a difficult one. But if you’ve completed steps two and three from this list, saying no should be a lot easier because it means you’re choosing to say yes to your goals and priorities instead.
But for those who find saying no excruciatingly difficult or selfish, try one of the following tips:
Stall for time before deciding.
Don’t give a response right away. Ask for some time to check your schedule or with your partner or whatever. Just to buy yourself some time. Then use that time to figure out:
- a)How much time will this favor take?
- b) Do I really want to do this?
- c) Do I have time to do it?
- d) How stressed am I going to be if I say “yes?”
Remember, your response is about what is convenient for you, not them. So don’t convince yourself to do it because of anything or anyone other than you.
You might say something like:
“Let me get back to you. I need to check my schedule.”
“Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m free then. I’ll check and get back to you.”
“Oh, I think (insert name of partner) has us doing something then, let me check and get back to you.”
Turning down a favor may be a little overwhelming for some people, so instead of trying to jump into the deep end of the pool on your first day of swimming lessons, try wading in the kiddie pool first.
Start small. You could even practice with a trusted friend or family member.
Or try saying no to the server that wants to refill your drink when you know you’ve had enough.
Delay for 50 to 100 milliseconds.
According to a 2014 study at Columbia University, you need between 50 to 100 milliseconds of time to pause and make better decisions. So don’t be quick to respond. Pause and give your brain time to focus its attention and think.
Don’t give a bunch of excuses or reasons why you’re saying no.
Keep your no, short, sweet, and simple. Remind yourself that “no” is a full sentence all by its self. You don’t need to explain it.
When you explain or justify your “no” you are giving the other party room to poke holes into your response or rearrange your schedule for you. We already know standing up for yourself is a hard task, so save yourself the headache by saying “no” in a decisive tone.
8. Be assertive.
It’s hard to be assertive, especially for those of us raised in strict households where the adults had the final say. Asserting yourself is often seen as being rude. So, the first step to being assertive is to dissuade yourself from the notion that being assertive is being disrespectful to the other party.
Being assertive is simply being able to stand up for your rights in a calm and positive way. It’s about being able to express your needs and feelings clearly and firmly, without disrespecting or undermining others. Assertiveness doesn’t mean acting in a dominant or violent manner. There’s no need to exchange insults or trade put-downs.
The people who respond negatively when you assert yourself are usually the ones who have been trampling all over you, unnoticed, for a long time.
9. Seek relationships with people who accept you.
As you go down through this list, it’ll become obvious which relationships need to end and those you need to go low contact with, in case you can’t cut them out of your life completely.
They won’t accept you saying “no” to their requests or will make a big fuss over it, trying to guilt you into changing your mind. Unsurprisingly, they won’t be available to help when you reach out to them. And they’ll take serious exception to any sign of you asserting yourself.
Those are the relationships you need to immediately step back from.
Seek relationships with people who you feel safe enough to be yourself around. Find people who don’t judge you and enjoy your company. If possible, find people who will call you out when they sense you aren’t being authentic.
Maintain healthy relationships that are about give-and-take, where both parties take turns being the giver and the taker. Limit the time you spend with takers who don’t give back to you.
These types of relationships will require you to be authentic and allow people to see the real you. But know that anyone who doesn’t value the real you isn’t worth having in your life. Find your tribe. They’ll accept you with open arms.
10. Learn to tolerate the discomfort of being criticized.
Criticism is hard to stomach, even when it’s delivered gently or meant positively. Accept that you’re a human and not perfect. You will never do everything perfectly. There will always be room for improvement.
Tolerate the discomfort of being criticized. Learn to examine criticism for any merit it may have. Ask yourself, is there any truth to the feedback? If there is, adjust and move on. If there isn’t, ignore and move on. Either way, move on.
There is no way to completely avoid criticism. Some people will be satisfied, others won’t. Be okay with it either way.
11. Accept that not everyone will like you.
Not everyone will like you. For those who do like you, you need to accept that not all of them will be happy with you all the time. It’s impossible to never have any kind of conflict with other people.
Even people born to the same parents and raised in the same house have conflict, regularly. And those from various backgrounds and with unique life experiences will definitely have conflicts too.
You’re like fine wine, an acquired taste. Not everyone will understand nor appreciate your rare personality. And that’s okay. You can’t control what they think or feel about you; accept that and be okay with it.
12. Learn to set boundaries.
Establishing boundaries in your relationships helps people know how to treat you or interact with you. Clear boundaries allow people to know what you can and cannot do, what you will and will not accept. It’s basically about teaching people how to treat you.
Toxic people and fake friends will ignore your boundaries, especially if this is coming after years of interacting with you without such restrictions in the past. Don’t let them shame you into going back to your previous behavior.
Be firm in your boundaries. If they cannot accept it, then they cannot remain in your life, because you refuse to continue on as before.
Remember, this is about standing up for yourself and putting you first. Establish healthy boundaries that allow you to take care of yourself before sacrificing for others.
With new relationships, don’t wait too long before establishing boundaries. The longer you wait, the harder it is to establish them.
13. Wait until you’re asked for help.
When someone is discussing a problem with you, don’t immediately jump in to offer help in resolving the matter. Wait. Let them ask you first. At that point, go through the process of deciding whether you’ll be able to.
You’re not Superman/woman. It’s not your job to save everyone. It may surprise you to know that at times, people just want you to listen to them rant. All that may be required of you is an appropriately placed interjection. It’s possible that they are not telling you about their problems in the hope that you’ll sweep in like a superhero to save the day.
By simply waiting to be asked for help, you’ll find your to-do list magically reducing because either they really didn’t need you to rescue them or they’re too embarrassed to ask for help after everything you’ve done for them already.
Either way, you’ll have more time to dedicate to what is truly important to you.
14. Show kindness when you mean it.
Have you ever noticed how often you do things because you feel it’s expected of you or because you don’t want people to get the wrong impression? You’re living your life based on assumptions because there’s really no way for you to know exactly what they think about you or the situation. Maybe they don’t care one way or the other.
Imagine how much free time you’d have if you stopped worrying so much about what others think.
Consider showing kindness when you mean it. What does that look like?
Instead of buying Girl Scout Cookies because of the random little girl you don’t know, why not save your money to donate to a charity that you really believe in.
Rather than spending an afternoon helping an acquaintance move, why not spend it hanging out with your son.
Your church may be volunteering to help in a soup kitchen, but you’d prefer to rescue a puppy from the pound instead or donate clothes to charity.
Don’t agree to help unless you really want to help. Show kindness, not because other people are watching or expect you to. Do it because you want to, because you mean it.
15. Practice putting yourself first.
If you have gone through these tips in order, putting yourself first will be much easier than before. Now, you’ll have a reason to put yourself first and the tools to do so.
Putting yourself first is actually one of the best things you could do to help others. In order to help someone else, you must be able to draw out of your well of abundance.
If you want to give money to a friend who is short, you must first have money to take care of yourself and some leftover before you can give them any assistance.
If someone needs your help with their project at work, you first need to have finished all of your work, submitted it on time, and be free before you can take on any additional work.
You can’t help anyone if you haven’t first taken care of yourself. It’s about ensuring you are able to be of assistance.
Haven’t you heard of people who jump into a lake or pool to rescue people who are drowning, only to end up drowning as well? This is almost the same situation. If you know you are not a strong swimmer, don’t try to save them by jumping in after them. The best you can do is make sure you stay alive to yell/call for help or throw them a life jacket and pray for the best.
Don’t set yourself on fire just to warm others.
Our people-pleasing habits deny others the opportunity to help, give, and love us back. Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who doesn’t let you give back to them? If you truly care about the person, that kind of disparity leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You end up feeling like a user and that is not a good feeling.
This is aside from the fact that at any point, as you’re struggling to please everyone, you’re battling with anxiety, depression, or stress, sometimes all three at the same time. You’re running on empty fumes, exhausted, resentful, and feeling an immense amount of loneliness.
Somewhere along the road of life, you learned you don’t matter as much as others do or that the right thing to do is to sacrifice yourself for others at all costs. As a result, you feel taken for granted most of the time and unappreciated all the time.
The first person who has to learn to appreciate you is you. You must learn to see your inherent value as a human being. Believe that you’re valuable not because of what you do for others, but because you are a unique individual with a gift the world needs. Only when you value yourself can others learn to value you.
You may also like:
- 10 Ways Being Too Nice Will End Badly For You
- Are You Tired Of Being Nice? Read This.
- How To Overcome Your Fear Of Confrontation And Deal With Conflict
- 7 Highly Effective Ways To Be True To Yourself
- How To Not Care What People Think About You
- 9 Sad Signs You’re Trying Too Hard
- How To Find Yourself: 11 Ways To Discover Your True Identity
- 12 Examples Of Approval-Seeking Behavior (+ How To Drop Your Need For Validation)
- How To Be Yourself: 5 Tips For Being Real, Authentic, And Not Fake
- 21 Ways To Stop Caring So Much (About Everything And Everyone)