People pleasing can take a toll on our emotional wellbeing.
Many of us have fallen into the trap of prioritizing others’ needs above our own, which can lead to stress, anxiety, and burnout.
In this blog, we’ll look at what people pleasing entails and offer practical strategies to break free from this pattern and embrace a healthier, more balanced approach to helping others.
So, What is People Pleasing?
People pleasing involves constantly prioritizing the desires and expectations of others over our own well-being. While being kind and considerate is important, people pleasing takes it to an extreme, often driven by a fear of rejection or a need for external validation.
It can also stem from childhood experiences of rejection or traumatic events that have shaped our desire to belong and be accepted.
Recognizing People Pleasing Behavior
To assess whether you engage in people pleasing behavior, reflect on the following examples and see if you can identify yourself in any of them.
While identifying with these behaviors does not automatically label you as a people pleaser, it can provide insight into areas to explore further.
It’s really important to understand that no one is “a people pleaser”, (a label we often give ourselves) it’s a trait within us.
Here’s those examples:
- Saying “yes” to requests, even when you lack the time, energy, or desire to do so.
- Avoiding conflict by always agreeing with others, even when you hold a different opinion.
- Apologizing excessively, even when you haven’t done anything wrong.
- Altering your behavior or personality to fit others’ expectations.
- Sacrificing your own needs and wants to meet the demands of others.
- Neglecting your well-being by consistently prioritizing others’ needs above your own.
- Struggling to set boundaries and say “no” to others.
- Feeling guilty or anxious when unable to please everyone.
Checking in with how you’re feeling in your body is a big tell-tale sign.
If you’re totally exhausted and feel like you have nothing left in your tank, and you still display the above behaviours that’s a good sign you might be people pleasing.
Strategies to Overcome People Pleasing:
And if you do feel like you could be in people pleasing territory, here’s some strategies you can try today to begin to overcome it.
- Practice self-compassion: Recognize that your people pleasing tendencies may stem from past trauma. Remind yourself that you are worthy of love and acceptance just as you are.
- Communicate assertively: Use “I” statements to express your needs and boundaries. For example, say, “I feel overwhelmed at the moment, and I cannot make it to dinner as planned,” or “I would appreciate some help coordinating the 50th birthday party you mentioned.”
- Learn to say no: Start by saying no to smaller requests, gradually building your confidence. Remember, you don’t need to provide lengthy explanations for your decisions.
- Prepare in advance: Plan what you want to say before engaging in conversations where you typically fall into people pleasing mode. Writing down different scenarios and your desired responses can help you navigate those situations with more confidence.
- Utilize body language: Non-verbal communication plays a significant role in how we assert ourselves. Stand tall, roll your shoulders back, and adopt a confident posture. This physical stance can boost your confidence and reinforce your assertiveness.
- Breathe and stand strong: Before conversations where you anticipate slipping into people pleasing mode, take a moment to breathe deeply and adopt a strong posture. Speak your practiced responses with confidence, knowing that breaking patterns takes time and effort.
- Acknowledge and process emotions: If you feel burnt out, anxious, or overwhelmed, allow yourself to experience and process those emotions. Seeking support or utilizing tools like emotional processing techniques can be beneficial.
Like I mentioned above, people pleasing behaviour can have a detrimental impact on our emotional well-being, leading to stress and burnout, and it’s so common, especially for women.
However, by recognizing our patterns, practicing self-compassion, setting boundaries, and communicating assertively, we can break free from the cycle of people pleasing.
Embrace your worth and prioritize your own needs while maintaining healthy relationships with others.
Remember, it’s a journey, and with time and persistence, you can reclaim your emotional well-being and lead a more fulfilling life.
People pleasing is one of the things I help my clients with regularly, so if you feel like you could use some support, contact me and let’s chat about what coaching program I have that might suit you best.