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How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

July 9, 2021
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Do you consider yourself a people pleaser? Or has someone told you you’re one?

What is a people pleaser, anyway? 

Maybe you’ve been told often how “nice” you are. You might find it hard to say no…and you put the needs of others before your own happiness. 

Being “nice” isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. 

But people pleasing is a symptom. 

Most of the time, you can usually trace people pleasing back to your childhood. It’s typically a habit you picked up or created for yourself as a way to keep connection and avoid pain.

And people pleasing does have a function for those who do it. But is it a problem?  

How People Pleasing Can Be a Problem

While people pleasing does serve a purpose, it can become a problem if you want to have authentic relationships in your life. Ask yourself, “Why am I a people pleaser?” 

Take inventory of the relationships you currently have and think about their authenticity.

If you’re a people pleaser, you probably have people who like you and think you’re awesome because you’re just “so nice.” You’re accommodating, agreeable, and very much a “yes” person.

And if that’s the kind of relationships you want, then that’s where people pleasing is serving its purpose for you. 

But here’s the thing. 

I’m guessing that people pleasing is at the expense of a deeper connection—with yourself and the other person. 

It’s probably also leaving you lacking in deeper intimacy…the more gritty and raw kind. That’s the kind of relationship that may be missing in your life. 

My Advice for People Pleasers

I want to encourage you to be a little messier. 

Get to that gritty intimacy by letting go a bit. Loosen your grip on the energy you’ve invested in people pleasing. Try pissing people off—or saying “no” more.

Here’s where it might get a little tough for you, too:

You’re going to have to be willing to upset people. You might feel judged and criticized. 

You may even lose some of the relationships in your life. 

Sure, it sounds a little scary. But this is the point where you’ll find out which relationships in your life are truly authentic. 

Keep in mind that even when you’re doing your best to please them, people are going to get upset with you and criticize you at times. So to some degree, you might be engaging in the people pleasing for nothing. 

Think about the energy you’re expending holding on so tightly to making that other person happy—while you aren’t. Is it worth it? 

Here’s a short video about people pleasers:

You Can’t Please Others Forever

Let’s say you continue your people-pleasing habit and you enter into a long-term partnership—a marriage or even a business partnership, for example.  

At some point in that relationship, your people pleasing is going to hit a ceiling. It’ll get to a point where it can go no further.

Then, you’ll find yourself in an “Oh sh*t!” kinda moment—when the light bulb kicks on and you see everything clearly.

And you know what? I celebrate that moment for you and with you.

It means you’re probably ready for a change—to learn how not to be a people pleaser. Hopefully you’re ready for more authenticity in every area of your life. 

It’s okay to recognize that sometimes you’re nice—and sometimes you’re not so nice. You’re caring and accommodating, but you don’t always have to be.

When you reach that realization point in your life, that’s the point you’ll grow from.

Take Responsibility for Your Happiness

It’s pretty cliche, but it’s true—you’re responsible for your happiness. Likewise, so is everyone else. 

No one is going to take on the responsibility of making you happy. 

So consider this: why would you want to continue trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of yourself, your connections, and your own happiness? 

Personally, I don’t think it’s a great solution.

I urge you again to allow yourself to let go. Let that other person get mad. They’ll either get over it or they won’t be in your life any longer. 

And you’ll be left with true, authentic, and deep relationships with those who like you for you and not for what you do for them. 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can experience breakthrough in your relationships, check out our certification program.
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Photo Credit: Yanapi Senaud Unsplash

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