Do you know someone who can’t say “no”? Someone who puts their needs behind everyone else’s wants? Who may kick themselves after saying “yes” yet again? Someone who finds themselves running around like a chicken with their head cut off trying to make everyone else happy?
Could this be you we’re talking about?
Both of us have been serious people pleasers in our past relationships, to the detriment of those relationships. People pleasing is a disease and there are always 2 (or more) people involved. We both tried to please our past spouses to the point that it became a manipulative game to them and we ended up feeling used and empty. Not a good recipe for a healthy marriage or any healthy relationship.
But people pleasing also occurs in friendships, in group dynamics and in business relationships.
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.~ Bill Cosby
Here are 3 ways to recover from being a people pleaser:
1. Stop saying “yes”.
It’s a lot easier to change a “no” into a yes”. Once you say “yes”, it’s almost impossible to turn that into a “no”.
Here’s something we’d like to challenge you with: Choose not to say “yes” to anything unless and until you take at least 24 hours to think about it. If there’s not enough time to take those 24 hours and you find yourself always being asked to do things as an “emergency”, there’s a clue to whether you’re a people pleaser or not. You are not someone else’s emergency solution.
For those moments, here’s another a great quote as you practice saying “no”.
Your lack of preparation and planning does not constitute my emergency. ~ Unknown
2. Practice waiting for a solution.
As stated above, it’s easier to change your “no” to a “yes” and if you’ve evaluated the situation and you’ve decided with some time that you would like to help, then by all means do so. You’ll find that by waiting, you are training other people, (those who’ve come to rely on you for “yeses”), to find another solution. You will stop being their “emergency plan”.
Get ready for anger, hurt feelings and recriminations. It’s ok and it’s to be expected when you’ve been allowing people to treat you a certain way. And there may be serious attempts at manipulation.
And one of two things will happen. One, people will get used to your new assertiveness over your life and come to respect you for it. Second, they will slowly migrate out of your life.
3. Find another way to get your fix.
When you’re a people pleaser, there’s a payoff you’re getting from saying “yes”. It may be the warm, fuzzy (and fleeting) good feeling you get from being appreciated by the person who’s asking for a “yes”.
We all need appreciation and love but if you’re addicted to getting it from saying “yes” to things that are not good for you and your life, then there’s a problem. And when you start saying “no”, you’ll feel extremely uncomfortable, embarrassed and you’ll want to instantly change your “no” into a “yes” because of the discomfort.
Don’t do it.
When you realize you’ve recovered from being a people pleaser, you’ll have won freedom, self-respect and better relationships.