Last month I started this article around the sneaky and negative effects of being a people pleaser and you may recall that I mentioned there were 7 habits you could develop to help you with changing this habit.
To recap briefly; habits 1, 2 and 3 were:
1. Realize that with some people it isn’t about you and what you do (no matter what you do).
2. Learn how to say no.
3. People don’t really care that much about what you say or do.
Now moving on:
4. Learn how to handle criticism and verbal lash outs (and the fear of that).
Sometimes its simply about the other person and his or her situation in life right now. It is not about what you did or did not do. A few more things that help me to handle negative or critical messages are:
- Wait before you reply. Take a couple of deep breaths in the conversation. By doing so you’ll reduce the risk of lashing out yourself or making a mistake. Calming yourself down a bit before replying is pretty much always a good idea.
- Remember: you can let it go. You don’t have to reply to all the negative messages you may get via email, social media or in real life. As they say, you don’t have to attend every argument you are invited to. You can just say nothing, let it go and move on. It is important to remember that you do have this option.
- It’s OK to disagree. This took me time to really get. Because I wanted to get people to my side. To make someone see things the way I did. But it’s also OK to simply have different opinions about things. In fact, it may provide you with an opportunity to learn about different perspectives.
5. Set boundaries for yourself.
Can’t tell you how important this is and how many coaching clients I get to practice this. If you set a few firm boundaries for yourself then it will, over time, become easier to do the same towards other people too. And these boundaries can also help you to focus better on what matters the most to you.
A few of the daily ones that have helped me with both of those things are:
- A start-time and a stop-time for work. I don’t work before 8 in the morning and my work computer is shut off – at the latest – at 7 in the evening.
- Work in a no-distraction zone. I keep email notifications and messaging programs off. And my smartphone is on silent mode when I am focused on a project, with a coaching client, or writing.
- Only check email twice a day. Otherwise, it’s easy for me to lose focus and to have too many thoughts swirling around in my mind while working.
6. Strengthen your self-esteem.
As you value yourself, your time, and your energy more, it becomes more natural to say no when you need to. And criticism and negative words will bounce off of you more easily and more often. After a while, you’ll be less concerned about getting everyone else to like you all the time. As you like and respect yourself more, your dependency upon what others may think or say, drops drastically.
7. Keep your focus on what YOU want out of your life.
If you know what’s most important to you and you keep your focus on that each day then you’ll naturally start to say no and stop being so people-pleasing. Now your energy and time are focused on achieving your goals and aspirations. You’re no longer drifting along without a clear focus.
So how could you stop being a people pleaser? Which of these 7 habits resonated the most for you? What could you do differently moving forward?
It is not easy changing a lifetime habit – it takes time and practice. So be kind to yourself as you learn to focus on what matters most for you and be able to let go of pleasing others all the time.