20 Effective Ways to Free Yourself From People Pleasing

For many, people pleasing has become a way of life; it’s been so ingrained in their everyday lives that they find it hard to break free and start anew. However, it’s never too late to correct your wrongs. Starting today, make yourself a priority and set healthy boundaries. Use this list to help yourself be more independent and self-compassionate!

Make Yourself a Priority

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People pleasers usually exceed others’ expectations because they try to cater to others’ needs before their own. So, one way to prevent yourself from becoming a people pleaser is to know how to make yourself a priority. This is important, too, because it’s only through this that you can better get to know yourself and push yourself to improve.

Set Healthy Boundaries

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One of the main things that’s lacking when someone is a people pleaser is boundaries. A person should always establish and maintain healthy boundaries between themselves and others to protect their self-worth, self-esteem, and integrity. It may be hard to do this when you’re a people pleaser, but be mindful and more open to disagreeing with others, especially when they’re already stepping over your boundaries.

Realize That You Have a Choice

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People pleasers may think their only choice is to follow what others say. After all, a rejection or criticism can feel like everything is crumbling down on them. One must, however, realize that they have a choice—they have the option to say no if they don’t want to do something and to contradict what others say if they disagree with it. Humans are free to make their own choices, and we should never be trapped by others’ expectations.

Learn How to Say No

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It’s normal to want others to approve of you. However, remember that this doesn’t mean sacrificing everything you have for them. Calmerry explains, “Saying no will help you establish healthy boundaries in relationships and make it clear to other people what they can expect from you.”

Identify Your Priorities

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When you’re a people pleaser, you tend to prioritize others’ needs more than yours. So, the very first step you need to take to veer away from this mindset is to identify your priorities. Remember that no one—apart from you—will ever put the same effort and time as you would to your goals, dreams, and aspirations.

Be More Honest About Your Feelings

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People pleasers tend to hide their feelings from others because they fear they’ll be considered selfish or inconsiderate. However, hiding your emotions or trying to act a certain way just because you seek approval from others will be detrimental to your emotional and mental well-being. Additionally, when you hide your emotions, you prevent clear communication with the people around you, further pushing you down the rabbit hole of people pleasing.

Delay Your Response

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As a people pleaser, you tend to say yes immediately once something is asked of you. However, you need to be more mindful and start shifting your mindset. You aren’t in a race, and if what’s being asked of you isn’t a life-or-death matter, you have time to think things through. Delay your response and consider how that request will affect your life before taking action.

Avoid Over-Apologizing

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People pleasers fear being abandoned or left out, so they take the blame even when they’re not at fault. However, this is wrong for so many reasons. Jocelyn Hamsher, a therapist from Arizona, was quoted by Psych Central as saying, “With people pleasing, over-apologizing is motivated by trying to manage the other person’s emotions and make them feel better.” Over-apologizing can also lead to anxiety or depression because it damages one’s self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

Practice Self-Compassion

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People pleasers treat others with kindness and empathy. However, they forget to do the same to themselves. So, one way to avoid becoming a people pleaser is to be more mindful of your sense of self. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake because no one is perfect.

Start With Small Changes

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If you’ve lived your whole life trying to be a people pleaser, then suddenly changing your actions and thought processes will be hard. So, try starting with small steps! Find things you want to do, recognize what you want to prioritize, and start taking action toward your dreams—not others’.

Learn to Be Assertive and Stand Up for Yourself

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People pleasers are “yes people.” They agree to most, if not all, things other people say or ask of them. However, remember that you, too, have your own opinions and feelings. Be more assertive and voice out your concerns, likes, and dislikes.

Remember That You Can’t Please Everyone

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People pleasers are often burned out because they constantly fear being criticized, ridiculed, or judged. They feel that no matter what they do, they’ll never be able to be perfect in the eyes of those they are trying to express. In many ways, this is true; you can never please everyone. Even so, it’s okay; you must have the courage to be disliked to truly live the life you want.

Be True to Yourself Instead of Trying to Fit In

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People pleasers are characterized by adapting their personality depending on the people they are with. However, doing so makes you inauthentic to yourself, leading you to lose sight of yourself. The Guardian states, “We think we have good reasons, and in some cases, we may have, but much of the time, we may be fooling ourselves about our reasons in order to avoid the discomfort of an authentic life. In the long run, however, we are the losers if we continue to not be ourselves.”

Surround Yourself With Supportive People

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Most of the time, people pleasers are surrounded by selfish people. They are considered selfish because even though they can recognize the harm the people pleaser is doing to themselves, they do nothing about it because they benefit from them. This is why surrounding yourself with supportive people is key to letting go of people pleasing. Instead of using you for their benefit, supportive people will love, nurture, and encourage you.

Set Goals for Your Own Life

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Often, people pleasers forget to care for themselves and make an effort to get closer to their dreams. But it’s never too late to change this; shift your focus and attention to personal goals that will give you tangible results. Healthdirect explains, “Having goals is a good way to focus attention on the things that are important. It allows us to create a vision of how we would like our life to be.”

Spend Some Time Alone

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When you spend time alone, you get the chance to reflect on yourself. Who do you want to be? What makes you happy? Spend time alone, reflect, and realize you are not defined by what others think of you; you are your own person!

Listen to Your Inner Voice

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When you’re a people pleaser, it’s easy to get wrapped up in what other people say or their opinions. One of the most effective ways to avoid this is to start listening to your inner voice. Establishing a good working relationship with your inner voice is essential because your inner voice reflects your passions, desires, and values, acting as an unwavering compass toward your dreams and purpose.

Stop Making Excuses

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It’s so easy to make excuses and turn a blind eye to the wrongs you’re doing. However, the problem with people pleasing is that you’re only hurting yourself—not others. You sacrifice so much of your self-worth and excuse it because you feel good when others accept you. However, true friends and loving family members will never allow you to degrade yourself.

Don’t Dwell On Your Past

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When you start over, remember to let go of everything that happened in the past. Dwelling on past mistakes will only make you remorseful and sad, further amplifying your negative emotions and making it harder for you to move forward. Cut ties with selfish, inconsiderate, and toxic people, and focus on loving yourself!

Get Professional Help

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Many people find themselves in a constant state of people pleasing. No matter what they do, they can’t seem to shake off the intense need to gain others’ acceptance. When you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work, don’t lose hope; seek professional help. Counseling and therapy from professionals can help people pleasers see and understand their behavior better.

Author: Stanislav Lem


Stanislav Lem is the founder of Big Time Living, where he provides tips for gardening, traveling and lifestyle. Stan is an entrepreneur, journalist and traveler.
His mission is to provide information to help people become better planters, travel more and live a happy life. His blog has been featured on Huffpost, Yahoo and MSN.