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The compassionate way to stop being a people-pleaser

Coach yourself to stop being a people-pleaser

Step 1: Awareness

If you want to stop being a people-pleaser, I’m guessing you’ve reached a point where you’ve realised that your tendency to put the needs of other people above your own isn’t working for you.

You might be feeling burned-out, lacking in spare time, overwhelmed and just a teeny tiny bit resentful that you’re not getting what you need.

Step 2: Acknowledging Self-Judgement

Ugh. You’ve realised you’re a people-pleaser. Who wants that label? You’ve read all the memes about putting your oxygen mask on first (*eye roll*). Why aren’t you doing it?

It’s also incredibly frustrating. Because you have precious dreams, projects and plans you want to create in the world. You know your energy is preciously limited (like gold-dust in fact) and yet you’re allowing yourself to fall down the priority list. Damn your habitual patterns of people pleasing.

Feeling the frustration and self-judgement about people-pleasing? As a coach and therapist this is where I would step in and suggest that here is where the ‘stickier’ problem lies. Yes, you can think about strategies for bumping yourself up your to-do list, but first it’s key to get yourself off the judgement train.

Step 3: Befriending your inner people-pleaser

That’s right, off the judgement train and let’s look at befriending this part of you that’s working so hard.

Why are you a people-pleaser? There will be all kinds of other reasons that are specific to you, your unique memories and experiences. But ultimately, the drive to please others comes from wanting to be a considerate, loving, caring human being. It comes from wanting positive relationships that can be mutually beneficial. There’s. Nothing. Wrong. With. That.

There are some seasons in life when putting the needs of others above your own is the right and loving thing to do. Amazing things have been done in the world because people made sacrifices and thought about others above themselves. The fact you can do that shows kindness and generosity.

Feeling a bit warmer towards your inner people-pleaser now? I hope so. People-pleasing has had a lot of bad press recently and it’s time that changed.

Step 4: Acknowledging the shadow side

We’ve looked at the positive intention behind people-pleasing and yet we must acknowledge why there’s been such a big push-back against this pattern of behaviour.

People-pleasing becomes a problem when:

  1. The price becomes too high and your people-pleasing behaviour is leaving you feeling depleted, resentful and suffering as a result of your unmet needs;
  2. Your people-pleasing behaviour is born from a belief that you’re not good enough, you don’t deserve to prioritise your own needs or that you’re somehow lacking;
  3. your people-pleasing is blocking you from taking action on the dreams you would love to pursue or be the person you would want to be;
  4. Your life is being held captive by the views or criticisms of other people, either from individuals you know or just the noise from ‘out there’.

Step 5: take action, with compassion

If you resonated with any of the above statements, please invite self-compassion in.

Remember, this part of you has a positive intention and it serves a powerful purpose. It’s just become too dominant in your life right now. You can take action to adjust your behaviour. You can also reassure this part of you that you can create boundaries around your needs AND still be a kind, caring person.

Here are some journal prompts to increase your awareness of your people-pleasing habits so you can think about how you can adjust them in a way that serves you better:

  1. Where am I people-pleasing simply to gain approval or validation from others? No-one has the authority to approve or validate your choices, apart from you.
  2. When am I putting the needs of others above my own when it’s not necessary?
  3. When am I putting the needs of others above my own when I can’t afford to?
  4. Do I want to make my own life choices or do I want my life to be decided for me?
  5. If there was one small action I could take today to better to protect my time, energy and self-trust, what would it be?

Get support if you need it

If you want to explore creating a life and/or career where you live from a place of self-trust and power, you’re warmly invited to book in for a free Clarity and Confidence Call. We’ll get to the bottom of what’s holding you back and discuss which programme could work best for you to get your desired outcome.

31 March 2022