People pleasing is exhausting and usually leaves you feeling frustrated, angry and downtrodden. It’s ingrained behaviour and usually, goes hand in hand with low self-esteem. People pleasers usually think this behaviour makes them feel better about themselves, as others like them more. What often surprises people pleasers is that when they manage to adjust their behaviour, people have more respect for them and their self-esteem increases. So, how to stop people pleasing;
Understand why you do it.
Why have you the belief that you should compromise yourself for others? Why do you think you make others more important? As a child, did you get lots of attention and praise for being helpful? Do you feel that people will only like you if you help them?
Notice when you do it.
Are there particular situations when you do it, or with certain people? Why is this? As people pleasing can be so habitual, you may not even notice you’re doing it. If you often leave conversations feeling frustrated, angry or low, this could be an indication. Did you agree to do something you didn’t really want to do? Did you agree with something you disagree with?
Just say no.
Realise you have the choice to say no. It will feel uncomfortable to start with, but keep practising. If you struggle to say no straight away you could use a delay tactic. By always responding with ‘let me think about it’ or ‘let me check’ you can go away and rehearse how you will say no.
Say no with conviction and without guilt.
Don’t say no in a way that can be manipulated, be assertive. There is no guilt in putting yourself first. Don’t let guilt force you into sending cards or trying to make amends for saying no.
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Retired ex-professional football who played for Bury, Wigan, Stoke, Preston, Norwich, Leicester and Brighton during a 14 year career. After leaving professional football, Jason battled depression and recovered with the help of therapy and family support.