People-pleasing is the desire to seek approval and validation from others, often at the expense of your own wants and needs. I think we all want to be liked so are guilty of it at some point in our lives. But while it may seem like a harmless way to achieve this, people-pleasing can lead to feelings of anxiety, low self-esteem, and resentment.
If you find yourself constantly putting the needs of others before your own, here are five tips to help you break the cycle:
1. Understand the root of your people-pleasing behaviour
The first step to breaking any habit is to understand why you do it in the first place. Reflect on your behaviour and ask yourself why you feel the need to please others. Is it because you want to avoid conflict or because you want to be liked and accepted? It might be helpful to set aside 10mins to free write in your journal about this. Once you understand the underlying reasons for your behaviour, you can start to address them.
2. Learn to say no
One of the most important things you can do to stop people-pleasing is to learn to say no. It’s okay to prioritise your own needs and wants, and it’s okay to decline requests that don’t align with your values or goals. Saying no can be hard at first, but it doesn’t make you a bad person; it just means you’re setting healthy boundaries.
3. Practice self-care
Self-care is essential for anyone who wants to break the cycle of people-pleasing. Take time to do things that make you feel happy and fulfilled, whether that’s exercise, reading, or spending time with loved ones. When you take care of yourself, you’ll feel more confident in setting boundaries and saying no.
4. Focus on your values
When you’re constantly trying to please others, it’s easy to lose sight of your own values and priorities. Take some time to reflect on what’s important to you and what you want to achieve in life. When you’re clear on your values, it’s easier to make decisions that align with them. In Jay Shetty's 8 Rules of Love, the first rule is about figuring out what your own likes & values are before you are in a relationship with someone else.
5. Seek support
Breaking the cycle of people-pleasing can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Reach out to trusted friends, family, or a coach for support and guidance. It can be helpful to talk through your feelings and get an outside perspective on your behaviour. They can also keep you accountable if you slip back into your people-pleasing ways.
People-pleasing can be a difficult habit to break, but with the right mindset and tools, it’s possible. Remember that it’s okay to prioritize your own needs and wants, and saying no doesn’t make you a bad person. Practice self-care, focus on your values, and seek support when you need it. With these steps, you can start to break the cycle of people-pleasing and live a more authentic and fulfilling life.