|Stop people pleasing - you can say no|
Do you feel that you have to do whatever people ask of you? Do you find yourself doing things that you hate, because you feel that you are obliged to? If you answered yes to these questions, then you should probably read on.
Being a people-pleaser is a character trait that some people develop from an early age and that was certainly the case for me. When I was a child, I received virtually no affection, nor even attention, from my father so I was always going out of my way to try and get some. That constant need to get people to like me stayed with me into my adult life and, ultimately, people-pleasing caused me a whole heap of problems. I was so paranoid about people not liking me or, not approving of me that I would work through the night to please my boss, I let my wife spend money we didn’t have and, I lavished gifts on my children that they didn’t need.
We all want to be liked and appreciated, but, when that becomes the overriding purpose of life, then you lose sight of the things that are really important and you often forget that the one person you do need to please sometimes is you.
I am not advocating selfishness at all, more a balance between selfishness and selflessness. So, here are ten ways that I believe you can stop pleasing other people all the time and start to think about yourself too.
1. Recognise your own priorities
Make plans to do the things that will make you happy and get you where you want to be. You don’t need to trample all over other people to get what you want, but your own needs and aspirations are important. A good example of this would be staying in a dead end job that you hate, just because you don’t want to let down your employer. Sometimes, you have to disappoint one person to please another and, sometimes, that person you need to please is you.
2. Understand that you do have a choice
Remember that you always have a choice and, just because someone asks you to do them a favour, that doesn't mean that you are instantly obliged to do it for them. This also applies to work and to social events too. If you know, for example, that you have to get a job done today, when someone suggests going out for lunch, say no, if you can’t spare the time. Otherwise, you will end up working late into the night to meet your important deadline.
Another trait of a people-pleaser is that say yes, without really thinking through the implications properly. They want to get in quick, with the people pleasing “Yes”, whether or not it will cause the problems later on. No one will be offended if you say “Can I get back to you on that?” Then you will have time to work out it if doing something is really feasible or not.
4. Create some boundaries
Create rules and boundaries in your life that you can stick to and others can come to learn to respect. You could say that you never work after 6pm, or on Sundays. Decide what you are willing to do and what time you want for yourself and then, in time, other people will come to respect these boundaries too.
5. Not everything is your problem
Other people will take advantage of you if they know that you are a people-pleaser and you will find that their problems seem to become your own. You don’t need to become a selfish and uncaring person, but you do have to realise that other people have to take responsibility for their own problems. You can’t solve everything for everyone else and nor should you try to.
|Some people won't like you saying no. So, what!|
6. Don’t let other people’s reaction deter you
Unfortunately, there are some very manipulative people in the world and they will all use the tricks that they can, to get you to do what they want. If there are people who are abusing your kindness, then, when you first start to say no, they may feign disappointment or get angry with you. They will also quite likely play the guilt card and tell you what hardships that you’re not doing a favour will cause them. Don’t let that dissuade you; it’s probably a good way to find you’re who your real friends are.
7. Do the things that make you happy
Doing things that make you happy does not make you a selfish person because helping other people can be very rewarding. I lent a friend in need some money the other day, and I was pleased to have been able to help. I also turned another friend down, because he asks me on an almost weekly basis. You have to think about your own happiness too, and you can’t buy happiness by doing favours for everyone else. There needs to a balance between doing things that you want to do and doing things to help other people out.
8. Speak your mind
Another side of the people-pleaser personality is that they will agree with anything that anyone says. Yes, becomes their favourite word and they will say that they agree with someone’s opinion, even though they really vehemently disagree. Personally, I would try and avoid an all-out argument, it’s just not my style, but I would be prepared to politely agree to disagree. You should never compromise your own beliefs or, strongly held opinions, just to win favour from someone else.
9. Take it one step at a time
It’s hard to break a habit of a lifetime, so take small steps when you first start to try putting yourself first. Start by saying no to close friend and explain why you can’t do something for them. If they are any kind of friend at all, they will understand your reasons. Once you have done it a few times and you have realised that people won’t hate you for thinking about yourself occasionally, you will start to feel more comfortable doing it again and you will feel a lot better about yourself too.
10. Build on each success
Keeping a diary of your progress can be very helpful tool in the fight to beat any habit. Make a note of the things that you did, why you did them and how you felt afterward too. A diary will help you to track of your progress and help you realise what causes you to say yes, when you should have said no.
|Stop being pleasing other people and feel free|
When you stop people-pleasing, you will feel great
There is a vast difference between a people-pleaser and a selfish person and, the best place to be, is somewhere between the two. I am not, of course, suggesting that people never put themselves out for others because that would be equally wrong. However, if you are the type of person who frequently gets to the end of the day thinking; “Damn! I wish I’d never agreed to that”, then it would be well worth why you asking why you did. When you do stop being a people-pleaser, you regain control over your own life again and, believe me, you will be a happier person. It is impossible to make everyone like you so, don’t even try. Friends should like you for who you are, not what can you do for them. If they don’t, then they are not friends at all.
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