When you get stuck in the habit of trying to please other people most of the time, it can have a sneaky and negative effect on your life. And not only on you but also on the people around you.
Because as you try to please:
- You put on a mask and try to guess what to do while getting anxious and stressed.
- Sometimes you feel taken advantage of by others who use your people pleasing habit.
- Often you feel out of tune with what you yourself deep down want.
- It can also have an unintended effect on other people as they may see through your mask, start to feel your inner discomfort and stress themselves and get confused or upset because they sense you are not being honest and straightforward with them.
So being a people pleaser may not create the outcomes you seek and often can be an even worse choice than one may at first think.
So how can you change this behaviour and break the habit?
This month I’d like to share 7 powerful insights and habits that have helped me with this issue.
1. Realize that with some people it isn’t about you and what you do (no matter what you do).
Some people just can’t be pleased. No matter what you do. Because it’s not about what you do or do not do. It’s about him or her.
By realizing this and how you in the end can’t get everyone to like you or can’t void conflict no matter what you do, you can start to let go of this damaging habit.
2. Learn how to say no.
It’s of course hard to say no. But it is vital for you to own happiness, stress levels and for living the life you truly want.
Here are 5 things that have made it easier for me to say no more often:
- Disarm and state your need. It’s easier for people to accept your no if you disarm them first. Do that by, for instance, saying that you’re flattered or that you appreciate the kind offer. Then add that you, for example, simply don’t have the time for doing what they want. Now you are establishing a boundary for your sake.
- If they’re pushy, add how you feel. Say that you don’t feel that this offer is a good fit for your life right now. Or that you feel overwhelmed and very busy and so you cannot do whatever they want. Telling someone how you honestly feel can help them to understand your side of the issue better. And it’s also a lot harder to argue with how you feel rather than what you think.
- Help out a bit. If possible, finish your reply by recommending someone that you think could help out or would be a better fit for what they need. I do this quite often when I feel I lack the knowledge or experience that a reader or a friend is looking for.
- Remind yourself why it is important to sometimes say no: You teach people by how you behave. They learn about you and your boundaries from your behaviour. So if you stand up for yourself and say no and are assertive about what you don’t want then people will start to pick up on that. And over time you’ll encounter fewer and fewer situations where someone tries to be pushy or steamroll you.
- It’s OK to feel a bit guilty about saying no (but you don’t have to act on it). Just feel it and be with that feeling for a while. But at the same time know that it doesn’t mean that you have to act on it and say yes or do what they want you to do.
Interested in practical ways to say no? I’m happy to share with you my list of ’99 ways to say No’. Just email me.
3. People don’t really care that much about what you say or do.
The truth is that while you may be the main character in your own life and head, you’re not that in other people’s lives. Because here’s the thing: people have their hands full with thinking and worrying about their own lives. They have their heads full of thoughts about their kids, career, pets, hobbies, dreams and worries or thoughts about what others may think of them.
This realization can make you feel less important. But it can also set you free.