People pleasing is one of my favorite pastimes, though not by choice. It’s something I do so often that it feels more like a character trait than a decision. It’s difficult to balance doing what you would like while also trying to make sure everyone else’s wants are tended to. It can be an unhealthy habit, and so, upon further consideration, I’ve come up with some ideas on how to kick the people pleasing habits:
Realize That You Have a Choice
This is important in any context. There seems to be a negative connotation with the word “no”, but actually, it’s a great word. It’s an assertive word, and it serves as an answer without any further explanation. On the other hand, so does “yes”. If there’s something that you do or don’t want to do, know that the only person you need to answer to is yourself.
Set Your Priorities
This is easier said than done, I know. It’s difficult to put yourself ahead of others when you always do the opposite, but it’s necessary to learn. You know when you’re in a situation that you’re comfortable with or not, and it’s important that you set boundaries to respect your own needs.
For me, this is the most challenging of all. It’s much easier to put everything on myself than deal with the fact that I’ve let someone down by canceling plans or what have you. However, you don’t have to quit apologizing for cold turkey. It’s hard to disable this kind of behavior, so start by paying attention to what you’re apologizing for. Cut out the apologies for the minimal stuff and trying moving on from there.
It’s nerve-wracking to go against your usual behaviors and decisions, and it could leave you feeling anxious and filled with self-doubt. Be kind to yourself. Take time to relax and treat yourself respectfully. Don’t mentally berate yourself or weigh your mind down with feelings of guilt. Do something you love to shoo away any lingering negativity.
Ultimately, people pleasing is a habit that many of us have and don’t know how to eradicate. Like all lessons, it takes time to gradually sink in and be practiced. The first step is knowing that you come first. The rest, while it will take time, comes naturally.