When many of my clients first come to me, they feel stuck in an old pattern of putting everyone else first.

From an early age, they learned to be people pleasers, striving to keep the peace and not upset others.  By the time they get to me, they have little energy left, and ready to learn how to give themselves the same attention they give everyone else.

People pleasers continually put others first and have a hard time saying no. Of course, to live a meaningful life, you likely want to contribute to other people. However, if you only put others first, without honoring your own needs, eventually you burn out and have nothing left to give.

If this resonates you, read on to learn how to stop being a people pleaser…

Thank your inner people pleaser for all of her hard work.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Judge in your mind tries to make you wrong for having an inner people pleaser in the first place.  If this is the case for you, your first step towards no longer being a people pleaser is to honor this part of yourself.  Your inner people pleaser is a strategy that you learned in an attempt to meet needs such as attention, affection, and belonging when you were little.  She is exhausted by trying so hard all these years to meet your needs. Thank her for everything she’s tried to do for you.

Reconnect with the unconditional self-acceptance inside you.

You were born with unconditional acceptance and self-love, and although you learned as a child that you had to act in certain ways to gain love, the part of you who loves you unconditionally is still alive now.  I call this part the Love Warrior.  The Love Warrior is the part of you who knows that you are perfect exactly as you are and exactly as you are not and is capable of saying no with compassion. Embodying the Love Warrior within you, let the people pleaser part know that she can take a break.  You will have the important conversations, and she doesn’t need to do a thing.

Give yourself the same care that you have given everyone else.

Take the time to restock your reserves so that you have as much energy as possible in trying moments. Ask yourself how you can give yourself the same patience, empathy, and attention that you’ve given everyone else, and begin taking steps to replenish and care for yourself.

To stop being a people pleaser, we often need to have at least a few challenging conversations in which we set boundaries with people who are close to us.  Sometimes we need to have these conversations immediately, but other times, we can wait. As much as possible, try to have these difficult conversations when you feel healthy and rejuvenated,

Stop taking responsibility for other’s emotions, and start taking responsibility for your own.

One of the most important steps towards learning how to stop being a people pleaser is to take responsibility for how you feel while allowing others to do the same.  Because each of us perceives the world through our personal beliefs and stories, it is impossible to make sure that our words don’t upset another person.  Likewise, if we are emotionally triggered by what another person says to us, our upset is created not by the words they say but by how we perceive them.

One of the simplest ways to take responsibility for our emotions is to turn to the basic formula of Non-Violent Communication (NVC).  Instead of saying, “You make me feel…!” or feeling guilty if someone else screams these words at us, with NVC, we take responsibility for how we feel by coming back, over and over, to the simple formula of “When this happened… I felt… Because I need… And, therefore, I request…”

Learn to say, “I love you, and no.”

Many of us were raised to believe that we were selfish or people wouldn’t like us if we said “no.”  Or, perhaps we only heard the word “no” said with an angry voice and swore that we’d never be like those mean people.  If this sounds familiar, listen inside for what it would sound like to say “no” with compassion for the other person.  Know that it is not your job to keep the peace for everyone else, nor is it your job to put other peoples’ needs ahead of yours.  As you work to stop being a people pleaser, I invite you to step into the realization that your needs are just as important as everyone else’s. Sometimes saying “yes” to yourself sounds like saying “no” to someone else.

Do you struggle with being a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to say “no” with compassion? Are these things holding you back? If you’re ready to step into a new paradigm and lead from a place of courage and empathy, I encourage you to learn more about life coaching. You deserve to get clear on your next steps and the support you need to step fully into your calling and love the life you live.


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