Yes, the good old people-pleaser gene ran the course of my life for the longest time, most of it while I was completely unaware of it.
I tiptoed around other people, did all I could to make them like me, stayed later at night than I wanted to at old jobs, and did all I could to make other people happy as if it was my responsibility.
But as It turns out..
The only thing I was responsible for was abandoning myself.
For years, I turned my back on myself and depleted myself of my own opinions, values, and energy so that I would be liked.
And should anyone dislike me or get mad at me, I would take full responsibility for it or find myself in a pile of crippling anxiety, like there was something wrong with me.
If this sounds familiar in any way, then hear me out…
There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.
What isn’t helping you, though, is how you treat yourself and how much you care about the opinions of others because those two things reflect on the level of self-worth you have.
What is a people pleaser?
On contrary to popular beliefs, pleasing people is more than just being extra kind or helpful.
The roots of pleasing people go much deeper down to the roots of your self-worth.
Because behind pleasing people, we find the need and desire for seeking validation and acceptance from other people.
So pleasing people is only the “symptom” of the “disease” of having low self-worth.
However, don’t be too worried.
By the end of this post, you’ll have the medicine you need!
Why is it a problem?
If you are aware of being a people-pleaser, I’m sure you know the many problems that come from seeking to be liked or validated by other people.
But do you know WHY you do it? Why you people please, and how low self go hand in hand?
As you know by now, the deeper rooted issue with pleasing people is low self-worth.
But there is another layer we haven’t shined a light on yet.
And that is your belief system.
Beneath all of the people-pleasing behaviours you have (the symptoms) to the disease (your low self-worth) is also the ROOT cause of it; your belief system, trauma, childhood, and past experiences.
I’m sure we could categorise them into different layers.
But to keep it simple, I will treat it as the last layer you need to care about today.
It can be a big problem to not look at these layers, as it is the majority of why you are who you are today.
At some point in your childhood, you came to learn that pleasing people (likely pleasing your parents) would get you love and security.
This is a big revelation because love and security are fundamental human needs, and it is truly the only thing kids seek and want.
You learned that by pleasing people, other people would like you, give you love, and if you didn’t… then they wouldn’t like, love or appreciate you.
It’s a way of saying that being you wasn’t good enough.
Because the love and appreciation you picked up on as a child was conditional. The condition being; If I do things for others, they will love/like/appreciate me.
But if you didn’t… then other people won’t like you, and you’ll end up alone or outcasted (which again is a human instinct as we are social creators and without being a part of the group, we are more vulnerable)
So being a people pleaser isn’t to be taken lightly.
It’s essential to heal this part of yourself that’s causing these behaviours, so you can stand firm in who you are and know your worth without the approval of others, so you can create the life you want for yourself.
How to stop being a people pleaser
Learn to say no – and don’t apologise for it
Saying no is one thing, but immediately apologising straight after is another!
The need to justify our decisions with reasoning and apologise is a major people-pleasing habit and not something you easily break up with.
But I’ve found that the more I apologised or gave reasoning for why I said no, the more the other person I was saying no to could use it for their benefit.
They can guilt-trip you further for your decision or even turn your decision around because they could see the answer wasn’t grounded in confidence.
This is honestly worse than just saying straight up no, in my opinion.
You don’t need to justify your answer.
You can say no, and that should be the end of it.
So learn to practice saying no even in the minor ways you can find without immediately apologising or giving reasoning for it.
One small way you can start is if you are invited to a dinner party or a night out, but you want to stay at home, is to say no without any excuses made up or reasoning behind it, and although this might be uncomfortable and your friends won’t understand you, let it be enough for you.
Delay your responses and answers
You don’t need to laugh when others are laughing or say either yes or no immediately.
I know, a big revelation to me too!
But it’s a habit people pleasers have gotten used to.
We laugh to fit in, and we feel the urge to respond immediately when asked about something when in reality, there’s no need for either.
When someone asks you about doing something you aren’t prepared for, the simplest thing you can do is to say, “I’ll get back to you on that one,” and take some time to think about it without guilt-tripping yourself over them needing an answer in the next 20 minutes.
Take the time you need to feel your feelings towards it and then give them an answer when you are ready, and not a minute sooner.
Whenever I feel in a hurry to do something, I deliberately try to do the opposite of what my people-pleasing gene wants me to do.
So I go SLOW.
This reminds me of just a couple of weeks ago as I was out looking at a house for a viewing (we are going to move in the next month), and when the real estate agent came and showed me the house, I could feel the urgency from him in every possible way.
It showed in the way he was quickly giving me a tour, in the way he said that another couple was coming in 10 minutes looking at the place, and in the way, he urged me to decide by the end of the day.
I know that the real estate world is challenging, and you do need to be quick.
But my boundaries were crossed.
In no way was I going to get a quick tour in the home that could be mine for a long time, care about other people’s time when the real estate agent had poor time management skills or be in a hurry to make my decision.
Needless to say, that house fell through.
But my point is, YOU are not responsible for other people’s feelings about the time you need to take to feel if something is right for you or not.
So take your time!
Set healthy boundaries for others and yourself
This moves me onto having clear and healthy boundaries with people.
This can show up in a lot more ways than when someone wants to hurry you towards some end goal.
Because at the end of the day, the responsibility for healthy boundaries doesn’t lie with them, but with you.
Let me ask you, how many times have you given more or over delivered to please other people? I certainly have!
In my coaching business, I used to have very poor boundaries for both prospects and my actual clients.
Answering messages from clients past your working hours, giving free coaching in your DM’s and lowering your prices to accommodate other people’s wants is something I see all too often, and I have been guilty of it myself!
But lack of boundaries is just another way of saying that you don’t value your worth.
You can still be a fantastic coach, friend, family member or co-worker and have healthy boundaries.
You are not responsible for their emotions, their results or their healing – they are!
Once you’ve embodied that, also remember to have healthy boundaries with yourself.
I see many women finally setting healthy boundaries with themselves, but they somehow forget also to have boundaries with themselves.
For example, if you find yourself trying to over-deliver something (at work, in your biz, or for a friend) and you go past your schedule for when you said you were going to shut the computer down, say goodbye or whatever it may be, then you need to set better boundaries for yourself as well.
You’ll eventually see that the more you value yourself and your own time, the more your self worth will grow, and that is the key to both less stress, better relationships and more abundance in your life.
This brings me to the last piece of advice I will give you.
Because, as your self-worth grows, you’ll realise the amount of time you spent abandoning and neglecting yourself for other people.
It can be a hard realisation to get, but it leads to somewhere amazing, I promise you!
As your self-worth grows, the more your desires for treating yourself will also increase (and it will likely replace all the hours and time you spent pleasing others).
In contrast, suddenly, those weekly or monthly massages you never even thought about being able to do becomes non-negotiable to you.
The skincare routine you’ve been putting off becomes a therapeutic meditation every morning.
Your mornings in bed reading a chapter or two while drinking your tea becomes nutrition for the soul.
Suddenly wanting to work out even though you hate it is something you see yourself doing because you deserve to live a happy, healthy life.
So you see, as your self worth grows, your people-pleasing tendencies will fade, and instead, all those hours and time spent on other people will replace themselves with more self-care, love and appreciation for yourself.
I hope these tips will help you with increasing your self-worth and letting go of your people pleasing tendencies!
For more posts that can help you with self-worth check out:
If you have any questions, then let me know in the comments or write me an email
If you’re anything like me, pleasing people have directed your life in many ways. It has made you question yourself, it has made you into a workaholic, it has made you go above and beyond for everyone else, it’s made you agree or laugh even if you didn’t find something funny or wanted to do something that was asked of you.