Are you a people pleaser? If you’ve ever agreed to volunteer for something you really didn’t want to do at your kids’ school or listened to your date ramble on about their ex without saying anything because you didn’t want to upset them, you might be. And while you may think you’re doing them a favor by putting their needs before yours, it can hurt you more than you realize.
In her new book, “The Joy of Saying No,” Natalie Lue explains, “People pleasing is consciously and unconsciously suppressing and repressing your needs, desires, expectations, feelings and opinions to put other people first so that you gain attention, affection, approval, love or validation or avoid conflict, criticism, disappointment, loss, rejection, or abandonment.”
Being a people pleaser can lead to regret and a loss of self-confidence, but experts say these are four specific ways to stop the habit this year.
- Learn the art of saying “no” - Lots of us struggle with the simple act of saying “no,” and if you’re one of them, the phrase “I’ll get back to you,” could become your secret weapon. It gives you time to think before committing so you can be sure you really want to agree to something before you do.
- Understand why you fall into the trap of saying “yes” - If you say yes out of guilt, fear or to avoid conflict, life and wellness coach Raychelle LeBlanc suggests examining your own self-esteem. That includes trying to figure out why you put other people before yourself so you can stop doing it.
- Stop overextending yourself in unhealthy ways - Doing nice things for others is great, but only as long as it makes you feel good, too. But if you agree to stay at work alone to finish a group project while everyone else goes home, that’s non-healthy overextension.
- Allow yourself to not care when it’s not called for - There are times you should definitely care, but plenty of others where you don’t need to give an eff. Knowing the difference takes time and practice, and setting healthy boundaries can help you get started so you don’t waste your time and energy on things that don’t matter.