You probably know that you need to overcome people pleasing. You have good intentions, and it might even feel good (until it doesn’t) but putting other people’s needs first might not be the best way to take care of yourself.
These behaviors can be detrimental to your mental health and personal relationships, yet putting other’s needs ahead of your own may make you feel like you’re being a nice person – and the fear of not doing it terrifies you.
If you find you spend too much time taking care of others, and not enough time focusing on you, it might be time to amend your people pleasing ways.
What is People Pleasing?
People pleasing is a behavior that involves putting the needs of others before one’s own wants and true feelings. Even though it appears that people-pleasers are doing nice things, they are often not making the right decision for themselves and therefore it is an unhealthy behavior. Putting the expectations of others ahead of your own, and violating your own boundaries is a surefire way to end up feeling bad in relationships.
Understanding People Pleasing Tendencies
Before we delve into ways to overcome people pleasing tendencies, it is important to understand where they come from. If you are a people pleaser, you likely have a strong desire to please others, and have a hard time saying no to requests, often taking on more than you can handle at work and in your personal life. Being a chronic people pleaser can have a negative impact you, even though on the surface doing things for others and lending a helping hand doesn’t seem like a bad thing.
The Negative Impact of People Pleasing Behaviors
Although people pleasing tendencies may seem harmless, they can have a negative impact on one’s life.
Do you often put others’ needs before your own? Has it lead to neglecting your own valuable time and physical health? Pleasing others may mean that you’re compromising the most important things in your life – even to the point that you don’t know what those things are any more. You might find that you also have a hard time making decisions that are best for you, as you are more focused on the wants and needs of others. This can lead to feelings of resentment, which can damage your personal relationships and lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression and low self-esteem.
The Need for Approval of Others
The first step in your recovery is to understand your emotional need for the approval of others. Why is it there? What anxieties does it bring up when you think about setting boundaries or putting the wants of others second to your own? What beliefs do you uncover? Are they true? Understanding your need for approval and people pleasing might be very revealing. People engage in this type of behavior for many reasons, but it is a coping mechanism for something. When you can understand more about why you are a people pleaser, you can begin to heal the wounds and replace the behavior with something healthier.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries – Part One
Setting boundaries is an important step in overcoming people-pleasing tendencies. It involves understanding your own needs, limits personal values, and communicating them to others. But understanding your needs, wants, limits and values might take a little time on its own. On your journey to being a recovering people pleaser, you’ll realize that you haven’t had to ask yourself questions about what you want in a very long time. This doesn’t mean you don’t want anything! Your true self is in there. Just spend less time on doing for others, and more time thinking about yourself.
The Importance of Setting Boundaries – Part Two
Once you understand more about what you want, learning to say no to requests that don’t align with your own values or that would take up too much of your time is your next step. That means being honest about your own wants and feelings, instead of always putting others’ needs first. Setting boundaries can be hard work, especially for recovering people-pleasers. It requires overcoming the fear of rejection and learning to prioritize your own needs. Right now, that might sound like the hardest thing in the world. However, the people who were your great friends in the first place will stick around – even as you work on your recovering people-pleaser status.
You’re on your way to building healthy relationships and taking care of your own mental and physical health, instead of always worrying about others’ needs!
The Importance of Overcoming the Fear of Rejection
One of the biggest obstacles to setting healthy boundaries is the fear of rejection. Likely, you fear that saying no or prioritizing your own needs will lead to others rejecting you, or worse. However, it is important to remember that you are the only person who is responsible for taking care of your own needs and that you cannot please everyone all the time. This, combined with the fact that your life can become unmanageable when you are a chronic people-pleaser, can motivate you to do the work to overcome the fear of rejection. There is a better way than having such high expectations around other’s needs. You can live on your own terms.
How to Overcome People Pleasing Tendencies at Work
Overcoming people-pleasing tendencies in the workplace can also be a challenge, especially if you feel pressure to please your boss or colleagues. However, it is important to remember that you are only one person and cannot always meet everyone’s expectations. Setting clear boundaries around your workload and prioritizing your own tasks can help you avoid taking on too much and prevent burnout.
It is also important to communicate effectively with your coworkers and managers, expressing your own needs and concerns while also listening to theirs. Creating a healthy relationship with your manager and colleagues is essential. If you’re dealing with a toxic work culture, this may be difficult, and you may have no choice but to look for an environment that is functioning more effectively. However, if your organization functions well, you can clear up any unspoken expectations, set boundaries, carefully discuss negative feelings and more, so that your relationships at work stay healthy and balanced. Of course, doing this takes time and finesse, but it can be done.
The important thing to remember that it is possible to be a good employee and still prioritize your own well-being. In fact, you will become a better employee when you take care of yourself. By learning to say no when necessary and setting healthy boundaries, you can create a positive work environment that benefits both yourself and your colleagues, and that’s a good thing!
Seeking Help from a Therapist
Seeking help from a therapist can be a good way to overcome people-pleasing tendencies. A therapist can help you get to the root of your people-pleasing tendencies. They can also provide support and guidance for setting healthy boundaries and prioritizing one’s own needs, and help identify any underlying mental health conditions like anxiety or depression, or negative self-talk that may be contributing to people-pleasing behaviors.
Tips for Setting Boundaries in Personal Relationships
Setting boundaries in personal relationships can be challenging, especially with family members or close friends. Here are some tips for setting boundaries in a healthy way:
1. Communicate clearly – Be clear about what you need and expect from others. Don’t assume that others know what you want or need. Just because you’re practically a psychic when it comes to predicting other’s needs, doesn’t mean other people around you are. And if they can’t predict your needs, it doesn’t mean they don’t care.
2. Be assertive – Be firm in your boundaries, but also respectful of others’ feelings. It’s okay to say no and stand up for yourself. The word “no” is your friend. Learn to use it and feel good about it. Learn when other people being upset is their problem and when it’s yours.
3. Set limits – Next time you’re asked to do something you don’t want to do, you can say no. Or, you can roll out blanket statements and declare that you are no longer going to do whatever it is you are tired of doing. Setting a limit or a boundary is within your rights. You may have to discuss this with other people, but again, a good friend or family member should be able to have a discussion with you.
4. Seek support – If you’re having a hard time setting boundaries, understanding what you want, or any aspect of this process, seek support from a therapist, coach or trusted friend. They can help you practice assertiveness and overcome the fear of rejection.
How to Overcome People Pleasing While Being Nice
If you’re wondering how to overcome people pleasing tendencies while still being nice, you are probably not alone. Is it even possible?
Yes, and it involves setting healthy boundaries, prioritizing your own needs, and learning to express your true feelings and needs. It can also include working on listening to your inner voice including encouraging positive self-talk while discouraging negative self-talk, making better decisions for you, addressing things like social anxiety, or other personality traits.
Making positive changes in your life requires hard work and dedication, but it is possible. Remember to take care of your own physical and mental health, and to seek support from loved ones, mental health professionals, or support groups when needed. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to prioritize your own valuable time and to be true to your own sense of self.
While it can be a hard and long journey. It is important to remember that change doesn’t happen overnight and that small steps can make a big difference. Taking small steps towards setting boundaries and prioritizing your own needs can help make the process less overwhelming and more manageable.
For example, saying no to a request that doesn’t align with your values or setting a time limit for spending time with certain people can be a simple rule to follow. These small steps can eventually become second nature and lead to positive change in all aspects of life.