How Do I Stop Wanting to Please Everyone?
People pleasing is a disease. It robs you of your voice, your choice, your individualism, and, frankly, your existence as an individual. Living a life of people pleasing means losing your life.
Harriet Braiker (2000) suggests the following about people pleasing:
It isn’t possible for everyone to like you or approve of you. Don’t try.
It is actually manipulative to give of yourself to others as a way to earn their approval and affection.
Better motives for giving of yourself are loving, liking, and valuing the other person’s company and friendship.
Having others’ approval may be desirable or preferable, but it isn’t absolutely necessary to validate your self-worth.
Some people may dislike or disapprove of you because of their own biases, prejudices, or emotional problems. That’s not your problem.
The most important source of approval is your own.
The real question is, how does living a life of niceness help you in the long run? Is it your life long goal to have everyone on the planet like you? Even with all of your practicing, hard effort, and giving of yourself to have others like you, it still doesn’t satisfy. Why? Because aiming to please others doesn’t help you as an individual.
What About Being Nice?
Does niceness gain you respect, meet your needs, make you feel value, or allow you to have a different opinion?
Niceness motivated by people pleasing only leads to losing yourself, silencing yourself, living out your life for others, and not knowing what you believe in, think, or want. You become empty inside as a person, lost in the hollowness of externalizing your world to please others. Meanwhile, the internal self just rests, silent and alone.
How Do You Stop People Pleasing?
With a little work, you can heal from people pleasing patterns, regaining control of your life. 1. Identify your closest relationships. Who are you living to please? 2. Take time to examine your motives. If you were aiming to please them, what would your relationship be like? Would they stay with you, or leave? Would they care about you if you stopped trying to please them? 3. Be honest. Let these people know that you are changing your ways, and won’t be people pleasing anymore. Ask if they will support you in this journey. After all, they are your friends. 4. When others begin to approach you with requests that they need, stop. Pause and buy time. This step can be as simple as telling the person, “I’ll get back to you.”
Evaluate Your Options for Responding
1. First, ask yourself if you are being manipulated. 2. Set time limits. 3. Use the sandwich approach: answer with a positive, followed by a no. Then, finish with a positive. You can tell them you’re unable to fulfill the request without feeling aggressive or rude. 4. Say no with conviction. (Not sure how? Think of how a disagreeing child responds to a parent’s request!) 5. Use empathic assertiveness. 6. Don’t give an bunch of excuses. That only feeds into your own guilt. No is enough. 7. No apologies. You do not need to apologize for being unable to fulfill a request. 8. Set clear boundaries for yourself and others.
After all of this, give your answers, your thoughts, your beliefs, and even your wants to others, and become a master of the new word in your vocabulary: no. These are the basic keys to self-approval and self-worth as a human being.