How to Put Your Happiness First and Quit People-Pleasing
Being a people-pleaser is about so much more than just putting others first and trying to be kind. It’s a personality type that can harm your self-esteem and self-worth. Those of us who are genuine people-pleasers are prone to altering ourselves beyond recognition to ensure everyone else is happy and comfortable, but it is essential to put your happiness first and quit people-pleasing.
Are you a people pleaser? Do you know how to put your happiness first? Here’s everything you need to know about prioritising your own joy and creating new, healthy habits.
Recognising If You’re A People-Pleaser
Being kind to others and wanting people around you to be happy doesn’t make you a people-pleaser. It makes you a considerate human being. Being a people-pleaser is when you:
- Gain self-worth only through the approval of the people around you, whether you actually like those people or not.
- You worry continuously about rejection and if people in your general vicinity like you and want you to be around. Regardless of whether or not those people are important to your life.
- It’s difficult to disagree with people or turn down an invitation even if you know you don’t want to do something or think their opinion is completely incorrect.
- Apologising for something being wrong is your first instinct even though you had nothing to do with the problem, and you genuinely feel like you’ve done something wrong.
- You struggle to recognise your feelings and you don’t feel like you understand yourself and your wants and needs.
- Any conflict between people around you upsets you deeply even if you had nothing to do with the argument.
4 Steps You Can Take To Break Your People-Pleasing Habits
You don’t need to stop being kind or thinking about other people to break the harmful cycle of being a people-pleaser. It’s important to take the time to recognise where your emotions and actions are really needed, rather than giving them to everyone who comes past at any hour of the day.
By following these steps, you can start to take control of your life and give yourself some peace of mind.
1. Take A Moment Before Reacting
To break the cycle of people-pleasing reactions, you need to take a moment before you say or do anything.
For example, if you get asked to go to an event that you’re not sure you want to attend, don’t just say yes because it’ll make the person happy. Instead, tell them that you need to check your calendar or you need to know more before committing. This gives you time to analyse why you would say yes or no to the invite, instead of simply going with the knee-jerk reaction of saying yes and regretting it later.
That’s not to say you should take the time to make up an excuse. You don’t need to offer up an excuse or a reason why you can’t go other than you don’t want to at this time. Be careful not to fall into the trap of making up excuses, as this will send you down another slippery slope. Taking a moment is more about understanding your motives for saying yes or no to something. “Let me get back to you” could become one of your most powerful sayings.
2. Set Up Boundaries For Yourself
To break the habit of people-pleasing, you need to set firm limits. Over time, you’ll learn when it’s appropriate and healthy to blur the lines or move boundaries for specific instances. However, in the beginning, you need to be firm. These boundaries need to be based on what makes you happy and healthy and your self-worth. You can take vitamins to boost your physical well-being, but to boost your mental well-being, you also need to take time for yourself.
Place limits on your time for other people. Give yourself specific nights where you don’t go out with other people because you need a night off for yourself. Create a schedule for your exercise routine, your hair or salon appointments, and other self-care areas—and make that schedule non-negotiable. In other words, you can’t go for drinks with an old friend you met on the street because you have plans already, even if that plan is a long bath with a good book.
3. Practice Saying “No”
“No” is the hardest word to say for a people-pleaser. Every time you say it, you run the risk of upsetting someone. This is why it’s important to practice saying the word and work your way up to saying no to things that you really don’t want to do or really don’t agree with.
Start with small things. If an acquaintance or work colleague you aren’t too friendly with asks you to go for drinks or to do something social, tell them that you don’t want to. When you get a cold call from a salesperson, promptly tell them that you’re not interested and hang up the phone.
Once you get used to these instances, you can try bigger events, like saying no to a friend inviting you out for a late night when you know you have to be up early in the morning. You will soon realise how effective it is for your wellbeing to quit people-pleasing and be happy.
4. Cut Out The Users and Fake Friends
We’ve all heard of toxic friends—they’re the users who take what they can get without giving back. They’re the real enemy of people-pleasers because they will take all your energy without ever replenishing it or returning any of the favours you do.
It can be hard to spot them, and it can be hard to cut them out of your life. This is because they give you that validation you’re looking for in that they are happy when you say yes. However, they likely manipulated you into saying yes, making you miserable.
It’s vital that you learn how to spot these people in your life and remove them. They will only ever enable your people-pleasing mindset because it suits them. You need friends who will accept you when you say no or disagree with them.
As you follow the other three steps above, you’ll quickly see who your real friends are. Establishing boundaries and learning to say no are two easy ways to spot fake friends. When you do so, your relationships will immediately change.
At the end of the day, putting your happiness first is a skill you can learn. Just remember:
“Don’t be afraid of losing people. Be afraid of losing yourself trying to please everyone around you.”—Unknown
We do hope this article will help you to quit people-pleasing and be happy!