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How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Do you find that you apologize often? Agree with someone even when you secretly don't agree? Have trouble saying no? Do you feel uncomfortable when someone is upset with you? Do you say yes to something you don't want to do and feel resentful later?

If you answered yes to more than one of those questions, you may be a certified people pleaser. Don't freak out and curse the heavens just yet! I can tell you as a former people pleaser myself, you can change this pattern and learn to put yourself first.

First, understand that being a people pleaser likely started for you during your childhood. Typically, people pleasers adopt these behaviors in reaction to their home environment. Perhaps you felt you needed to "keep the peace," in an unstable home environment. Maybe your father was quick to anger when you disagreed with something he said, and you learned to agree to avoid conflict or consequences. You are not damaged and this does not mean you are less than or any other negative thought your brain is telling you right now. It means you are a human that experienced different events in your childhood that molded who you are today.

The good news is, you can change thoughts and behaviors that don't serve you and your highest good, and that is something to be celebrated!

Being a people pleaser can place you in uncomfortable situations, in toxic relationships and feed feelings of resentment. Basically, it's not good for your soul or safety.

Now you're thinking, "okay, I get it, so how do I change this behavior?"

I'm glad you asked! Here are three simple ways to stop being a people pleaser:

1) Start by saying NO to small requests- for example: if someone wants to go to dinner, but you're exhausted, try saying "I would love to get together, but can we plan for a quick coffee meet up instead?" You can ease into practicing healthy boundaries by requesting a shorter get together to honor your time and need for rest. Overtime you can start to say, "I'm not up to it this week, can we reschedule?' What I've learned is that most people respond well when I say no. I typically respond in a direct but polite manner and it's well tolerated.

2) Take time to respond to a request- You don't have to say yes or no right away, simply say "let me think about it and get back to you." You can say you need to check your schedule before you commit. This way you allow time to reflect and determine if you actually want to say yes or no to their request and can make a healthy decision.

3) Ask yourself this: does saying yes, agreeing when I don't agree or not standing up for what I believe in serve me and my highest good? If the answer is no, then you need to set a boundary that does serve you and your highest good.

As you begin implementing these steps you will gain confidence in your ability to continue setting boundaries without the nagging guilt that follows. Write this down, put it on a post-it note on your mirror or on your phone's wallpaper: Saying no, standing up for yourself and setting boundaries doesn't make you difficult or a mean person, it makes you authentic, confident and assertive.

When you stop being a people pleaser you are able to give from a place of authenticity and love without feeling resentment.



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