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  • Writer's pictureLilly Ismail

The People Pleaser’s Dilemma: Understanding and Overcoming the Urge to Always Say Yes

Being a people pleaser means consistently putting others' needs and desires above your own. It involves going to great lengths to make others happy, often at the expense of your well-being. People pleasers typically have a hard time saying no, setting boundaries, and prioritizing their own needs.

Signs of a People Pleaser

  • Always Saying Yes: Regardless of personal cost, they agree to requests and demands.

  • Fear of Disappointment: They are terrified of letting others down.

  • Lack of Boundaries: They struggle to set and maintain personal boundaries.

  • Over-apologizing: Frequent, unnecessary apologies, even for things not their fault.

  • Neglecting Self-Care: Their own needs and desires often go unmet.

Impact on Mental Health

Being a people pleaser can lead to stress, burnout, and resentment. Constantly striving to please others can be exhausting and often leads to neglecting one's own emotional and physical health. It can also lead to feelings of being used, low self-esteem, and anxiety.

Effects in Relationships

In relationships, people-pleasing can create imbalances. The pleaser often feels undervalued, while their partner may become overly reliant or even manipulative. It can prevent the development of genuine, healthy relationships where both parties’ needs are met.

Overcoming People Pleasing

  1. Recognize Your Worth: Understand that your value is not dependent on pleasing others.

  2. Learn to Say No: Start small. Practice saying no in low-stakes situations to build confidence.

  3. Set Boundaries: Identify what you are and aren't willing to tolerate. Communicate these boundaries clearly to others.

  4. Prioritize Self-Care: Regularly engage in activities that nurture your physical, emotional, and mental health.

  5. Seek Support: Talk to friends, family, or a therapist about your tendency to please others and work on strategies to overcome it.

  6. Reflect on Motivations: Understand why you feel the need to please. Is it fear of rejection, low self-esteem, or something else?

  7. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process.

Being a people pleaser is often rooted in a desire for acceptance and fear of rejection. Recognizing and addressing these underlying issues is key to overcoming this tendency. By setting boundaries, practicing self-care, and learning to value your own needs, you can develop healthier relationships and a stronger sense of self.


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