People pleasers. Parents, friends, men, colleagues, even strangers – you want everyone to think good of you. The thought of doing something that makes someone think badly of can make you very anxious.
Being a people pleaser is not good for your self-esteem. Your mood and worth becomes dependent on how others react and think about you.
So what can we do to stop being a people pleaser?
1. Learn how to say “no” with honesty
Don’t make up excuses when you say “no” to something. Be honest and assertive. Say it politely, and the world will deal with it! If anyone is worth your time, they will not reject you over a ‘no’.
2. Ask for what you want
If your friend wants to eat dinner out but you’d prefer to stay in and cook, speak up! You might not get what you want but at least you’ve said how you feel and you’re training yourself to focus less on people pleasing.
3. Examine your fears
Think to yourself: what am I worrying will happen? Is it the thought you might be rejected? If someone is willing to reject your needs so easily, are you sure you want them around you?
4. Do something for yourself
Do something you want to do, no matter how weird or crazy or boring you believe others will think of it. Practise not worrying what others think.
5. Be persistent
Stopping something that has been part of your life for so long won’t be easy. You’ve taken the first step in being aware that you’re a people pleaser. Now start to become more aware of when it happens and put the brakes on. With time it will become more natural.
Of course, also remember that compromising is important when it comes to being assertive and taking control. The best acts of pleasing are those delivered from love and respect, not out of fear and worry.