Untangling yourself from people pleasing takes awareness, courage, self-compassion, and a whole lot of practice. People pleasing can work you to the bone and is a nearly impossible task as it can be difficult to keep everyone around you happy. Recovering people pleasers know that they often end up making themselves miserable at times by trying to keep others happy. When you get into the practice of shaking that people pleasing behavior, you suddenly feel as though you are living in the light of your own authenticity. It can be scary but it can also be liberating. However, its important to keep up those daily practices to stop yourself slipping back into old patterns that no longer serve you. Here are our daily practice tips for recovering people pleasers…
Take a Moment
People pleasers can be yes people, ever eager to jump and do what others ask of them without first considering if they really want to do it. It’s instinctual to say yes because you think that’s what makes other people happy, but you should always take a moment to consider why you are saying yes. One tactic that people pleasers can employ is taking a moment before answering. When someone asks something of you, its perfectly reasonable to pause and ask if you can think about it and get back to them. In those moments before making your decision, consider whether you want to do it, check in with your gut as you will usually find the answer sitting there.
Use Assertive Language
As people pleasers it can be an old habit to soften the blow of a no by turning to non-assertive language. You may find yourself saying ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘maybe’ and never committing or pulling out. This doesn’t serve anyone as you prolong the anxiety for yourself and you leave the other person hanging. By using more assertive language you are being clear from the start rather than dragging out the inevitable and making it harder on yourself or committing to something you don’t want to do. If you struggle with a straight up no, there are other ways of saying no without losing the gentle touch. Phrases like ‘thanks for thinking of me but it doesn’t fit right now’ or ‘it sounds amazing but I can’t right now’ - you can say no with grace and you don’t owe anyone a long-winded explanation as to why.
Use Small NO’s When You Can
Even as a recovering people pleaser, you still may struggle with the big no’s. That’s OK. Build up with little no’s first. You can keep practicing your no’s when responding to texts or emails and that will help you to build up to the face to face no’s. Even just saying no to a cup of coffee, a third night out in a week, a drink with a colleague, or a cold caller wanting to collect information. Again, it doesn’t have to be a hard no, you can simply offer an alternative that works for you.
One of the biggest problems people pleasers tend to have is when it comes to boundaries. Some people like to push against boundaries and if you don’t keep them firm, the whole system can topple. Rather than inviting conversation around why you can’t do something, keep it simple and straight and clear by stating your boundaries firmly. Saying “I don’t’ instead of ‘I can’t’ will close potential boundary pushers down much faster and will make the whole interaction faster and easier.
Cut Down on Apologies
Every people pleaser knows how much ‘I’m sorry’ remains part of their daily vernacular. Its time to try and reduce that right down. Most of the time its just a habit, but it’s a habit that reinforces you should feel bad about saying no or not doing something or some perceived reaction. Make a concerted effort not to be in a constant state of apology and watch your self-confidence grow.
Are you a recovering people pleaser? Share your own tips with us in the comments.