Do you ever lose yourself in other people’s opinions? That used to happen to me a lot. I think it comes with empath territory (because we tune into others so well, we tend to forget about ourselves). Also, it just happens as people, since not having approval from “the tribe” feels like a threat to our survival. While we want to be kind and considerate, people pleasing is a slippery slope.
If we don’t have good boundaries with others, it’s easy to lose touch with our true selves. We may end up in careers and life situations we aren’t cut out for, make poor decisions because we ignored our gut instincts, or spread ourselves too thin because we can’t say no.
We want to make everyone happy, but the consequence is we become miserable, resentful, and lose the respect of the people we so wanted to please. It’s a lose/lose situation.
So, how can we stay true to ourselves and not make compromises we’ll soon regret? And how can we stop caring so much about what people think? 😨 I’m sharing some things that have helped me break free of people pleasing. I hope you find them valuable too!
Let Other People Own Their Feelings
Lots of good and kind people struggle with people pleasing. We just want to make everyone happy! Like I said, if you happen to be an empath, this is especially hard. Empaths actually feel the other person’s feelings in their own body. Yeah, I know, it’s a weird idea if you haven’t experienced it, but it has to do with the brain’s mirror neurons. It’s a thing. 😉 Whether you’ve experienced empathic feeling or not, if you’re a people pleaser you likely have felt responsible for other people’s emotions.
Because of this, we run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to keep our loved ones from experiencing discomfort. We can’t say no less we disappoint a friend. We struggle to control every situation and avoid any conflict. People pleasing is an exhausting hustle.
We have to remind ourselves of these truths:
- We aren’t responsible for other people’s feelings beyond being kind, honest, considerate, and keeping our word.
- It isn’t our job to sacrifice ourselves to make others happy.
- People are allowed to feel upset and disappointed without us needing to fix them.
Instead of trying to modify the moods of those around you, practice leaving them space to feel what they need to feel. It takes some getting used to, but in the long run you are going to find freedom and peace in letting others own what is theirs.
Give Yourself Space for Saying No
When someone asks you to do something, do you immediately find yourself saying YES!? And then 5 minutes later thinking, “Oh crap, why did I agree to that?”? Yeah, me too.🤦♀️
If you have this tendency, you might find it helpful to give yourself space to think before you commit to anything. It takes some time and conscious thinking, but work on saying “Let me get back with you” instead of the desperate “YES!” (You’ll find an exercise on how to “say no” in the Do Less & Live More Workbook, if you’d like to grab your free copy.) 😉
Have a Strong Purpose
It’s a lot easier to say “No” when you have a strong purpose and direction for your life. Why?
Well, when you know what your purpose is, and you know what you have to do to accomplish it, you’re less likely to let other people hijack your time. If you don’t set your priorities, someone else will be happy to set them for you, right?
When you’re grounded in purpose, it’s also a lot easier to shrug off what other people think.😉 You know where you’re going and why, and nothing is going to get in your way.
But what if you’re not quite there yet and always getting bombarded with other people’s opinions? The next tips might be helpful…
Get Clarity Before Input
Sometimes it’s hard to hear your own inner voice amongst the chatter of everyone else. 😉 I’ve found it beneficial to keep my plans and ideas on the down-low until I really have a clear idea of what I want. If I’m still ruminating about a situation and weighing my options, the last thing I need is other people telling me what they think I should do!
Of course sometimes you want to get feedback from another person before you move forward with something big. Or perhaps you need to discuss the matter with someone whom your decision will also affect. Getting clear and grounded on your desired outcome before you talk will help ensure you don’t crumble when there is a difference of opinion.
Be Careful Whose Opinion You Ask For
While we’re on the subject of getting feedback, this is also a slippery slope. Once people realize you’re open to hearing their opinion, oh yes, they are going to give it to you. Quite possibly on every subject. Presumably for the rest of your life. 😆
If someone has never worked for themselves, do you want their opinion on your start up company? If they have never had kids, do you want their opinion on homeschooling? Of course not. But if you let on that you’re open to hearing opinions, you’ll find plenty of unqualified people to give them to you. 😜 And if you struggle with people pleasing, it may leave you second guessing yourself or just feeling rotten about the confrontation.
The lesson is, sometimes it’s best to keep quiet and not look for validation from people who know nothing about our situation. Posting on Facebook can be the worst because everyone and your great aunt is going chime in.😏
Need someone to bounce ideas off of? Look for someone who has been there and done that. Or get a coach.😉
Do Your Own Research
Maybe you’re really good at going with your gut, but still find people are pressuring you with unsolicited opinions. Doing more research can give you the confidence to (politely) stand up to the naysayers. As a people pleaser, the last thing we want to do is argue. But usually when others sense your confidence they tend to back down.😉
Which of these tips do you want to try?
Is there anything else that is helping you break free of people pleasing? Let me know in the comments!
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