5 Things A Recovering People Pleaser Should Practice

woman looking thoughtfully out window

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

I stood there, arms at my sides, internally screaming all the things I prepared to say as I faced down the one person I could never go against: my mom. Her actions and demeanor were nothing new—stoic and unyielding. She knew I’d cave and give in to what she wanted. I always did. But in that moment, sun streaming through the open curtains, my son’s packed bag at my feet, something changed. I uttered words she never thought would escape my lips: “No; he’s grounded, and he can’t go with you.” It was a moment that changed my entire way of thinking.

Being a people pleaser is second nature to many women. We long to calm and soothe those around us, often at the expense of our own wants and needs. Unfortunately, people-pleasing is unhealthy and takes effort to deconstruct. Overcoming people-pleasing can be done by changing a few habits. Here are 5 things a recovering people pleaser should practice.

1. Remember your worth.

You were created differently from every other human. I believe God wants us to share our unique perspectives with the world, not simply go along to get along. Overcoming people-pleasing starts with knowing your opinion and actions have worth and that your presence matters. By pleasing people at the expense of your own needs and desires, you’re forgetting that you are here for a reason.

2. Quit apologizing.

Apologizing is my automatic default when things go awry. My husband, my personal accountability partner, insists on pointing out when things are not my fault. If you’re a people-pleaser too, the minute something goes wrong, you probably jump to apologize. Before words of apology trip from your lips, stop and look at the situation. If you are at fault, say you’re sorry. However, if you aren’t, save the apology for when it’s warranted.

3. Keep saying no.

It is easy to say yes to everything. Yes, I’ll help with the school bake sale. Head up that committee to organize that function? Sure! Yes, kids, you can participate in all the things and I’ll make it work. Overcoming people-pleasing involves understanding that you can say no and mean it. Saying no to my mother was the hardest response I’ve given, but I felt better for saying it. Saying no may be hard, but the more you say it, the more you understand how important it is to say.

4. Speak up.

People pleasers like to agree with the masses. We are quiet, listening, waiting to agree with whatever decision is reached. Many times, I simply stayed quiet and agreed, even when I really didn’t like whatever the plans were. But I became bitter that I was putting effort into something I didn’t agree with. Overcoming people-pleasing involves learning to really use your voice—even if it means shouting to be heard.

5. Set boundaries.

People pleasers have very few or very weak boundaries. We will happily move the lines to accommodate whatever others need and want. I’m very certain my own boundaries often looked like random squiggles and I wondered what example I had set for my children. Create boundaries you are comfortable with and don’t be afraid to stick to them.

It’s not easy to go against a nature that you’ve crafted to please everyone around you. Chances are, as you work on overcoming people-pleasing, you’ll fall into old patterns. I do—often. The best part is we get the grace of a new day to try all over again.

What is the one people-pleasing habit you feel is hardest to break?

This article originally appeared on iMOM.com and reflects their mission and beliefs.

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