“I can’t give you a sure-fire formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure: try to please everybody all the time.” Herbert Bayard Swope
Most of us have an innate ability to give to others.
However, people pleasing partners give too much to others, lose their independence and become resentful, confused and stuck.
How to stop people pleasing?
Here are 12 ways to stop people pleasing.
1. Understand your self-worth
Your self-worth depends only on you. External approval can be fraught with danger because you may not get what you need from somebody else.
The person you may be seeking acceptance from could well be distracted and unavailable. You’re then left to take care of yourself!
Remember you are as valuable as anybody else. Your feelings are as valid as everyone else’s feelings. Stake a claim on yourself.
2. You’ll never please everyone
You may please some people and you will find people you will naturally disappoint.
It’s just not possible to make everyone happy. Take the pressure off yourself and step back from being responsible for other people’s feelings. They don’t need it and neither do you.
3. It’s impossible to control what other people think or feel
The only person you can control is yourself.
To believe you can change someone’s thoughts is likely to set you up for failure. You can’t make someone happy unless they choose to be.
4. Speak for yourself
Speaking up is part of being assertive. Communicate clearly and describe your needs, wishes and desires.
5. Create healthy boundaries
Healthy boundaries considerably shape a strong sense of self. In your relationships it’s important to set limits of what’s ok and what’ not ok for you.
Taking responsibility for what you feel, think and need requires you to separate your own thoughts from the needs of your partner.
6. Say “No”
Avoid making excuses for not wanting to do something with or for someone.
It’s ok that you don’t feel like doing something. However explain respectfully and clearly. This will allow you to gain more confidence.
7. Own your needs
Make choices that are good for you rather than what’s expected or to please others.
Do the things you enjoy and practice self-care. It’s ok to be separate and independent from your partner.
8. Love yourself
Accept yourself as you are, right now. Respect yourself as you would a friend.
Be responsible for your own happiness. Care about another person’s wellbeing without taking responsibility for them.
9. Self-care is not selfish
Self-care is fundamental for your own wellbeing and it will benefit the others around you as well.
Healthy self-care involves regular activities that give you nurture, joy and comfort. Remember that self-care activities do not result in feelings of guilt and shame.
10. Make room for you
Build in regular times in your schedule for doing stuff you like to do. If you’re unsure what to do make a list of possibilities and stop doing so much for others too much of the time.
11. Don’t worry about being selfish
Selfish people simply don’t care and don’t worry about being selfish.
However, being self-aware and knowing your needs are a healthy part of your self-esteem is a different kind of selfish. This means you can give up on thinking of others all of the time.
12. Work on your insecurities
Address issues influencing your people pleasing behaviours. Don’t be afraid to seek help if you need it.
Easier said than done!
Does changing people pleasing traits sound straightforward?
It’s harder than it sounds mainly because there are underlying, personal and emotionally wounding experiences usually at the heart of this.
The wounded patterns of relating, behaving and communicating do change in safe and supportive conversations.
Whilst some of these patterns may have emerged in childhood, adults seeking out help through counselling, therapy and personal development programs are great ways to recover from the wounds.