Do you:

* Say yes to things you really don’t want to?
* Put everyone else’s needs before yours to the point of exhausting yourself and neglecting your own self-care?
* Go along with things you’re not really comfortable with just to keep the peace?
* Say no, but you make a lot of excuses for why and feel guilty?

If you do any of these things, you are engaging in what is called “people pleasing.” People pleasers generally do this because of fearing the loss of friendship, the good opinion of others or love. They may have low self-esteem and dislike any conflict, so they go along to keep everyone else happy. They may also hold beliefs that being a good person means you have to always help other people.

It’s important to realize that your self worth isn’t based on the opinions of others. It comes from within you and how you feel about yourself.

Here are some strategies to stop people pleasing and bring more balance into your life:

1. Learn to say no when you want to.

This needs to be a good firm, no. There’s no need to justify it with excuses. You can be polite, saying something like, “Thanks for asking but I’m busy that day” (or, “My plate is full.” ) No one needs to know the details. If they push, simply say, “I’m sorry, but that’s my business.” This may feel a bit scary at first, so practicing with a trusted friend or coach is a good idea. People not used to you being this assertive may react at first, but they’ll soon get the message that you are no longer available 24/7.

2. Decide on your boundaries and stick to them.

Think of some things you’ve said yes to that you didn’t want to do. List them and then make a list of all the reasons you didn’t want to do those things. This will help you decide what your boundaries are. For example, if getting eight hours of sleep every night is important to your health and well-being, that is a boundary for you. You’ll know not to say yes to anything that causes you to loose sleep.

Other boundaries may be things that cut into your family time or your own self-care time. If saying yes exposes you to negative energy, such as gossipy, critical people, that could be a boundary for you. And certainly anything that goes against your values or integrity is a boundary. Once you clearly know your boundaries you won’t be caught off guard and say yes when you don’t want to.

3. Notice the difference between genuine goodwill and people pleasing.

When someone asks you to do something that feels good to you to do, then absolutely say yes. When you have the time and energy and desire to give from the heart, both you and the other person will benefit. However, if you are doing something just because someone else wants you to or you fear the consequences of not doing it, such as loss of friendship, that’s a red flag. If you do happen to loose a friend when you turn them down, that’s not really a loss. Real friends don’t use people.

4. Pay attention to your feelings.

Notice if you are feeling angry, resentful, overwhelmed, sad or frustrated. Your feelings have messages for you and these are telling you that this is something that you don’t want to do. Listen to what your feelings are telling you.

5. Don’t worry about being selfish.

Taking care of yourself and not over-extending is not selfish. If you actually wonder if you’re being selfish that’s your clue that you’re not. Truly selfish people don’t care if they’re being selfish! And the interesting thing is, doing something for someone that you don’t want to do will end up not being really beneficial to them or to you in the long run.

6. Stand up tall.

When you hunch or slouch, that’s a victim posture. People who manipulate others will go right for it! When you stand up tall and breathe deeply, it’s easier to stand up to people who are pressuring you.

7. Set a time limit.

To avoid getting taken advantage of if you do want to say yes, set a time limit for when you are available to help. For example, “I can help you between noon and three tomorrow.” Then be sure to leave by the deadline.

8. Practice your own self care.

Make self-care a regular habit and priority. Getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising are standard practices. Also engage in activities you enjoy and hold those appointments with yourself as sacred! Get some pampering such as a massage, spa day, or even soaking on a bubble bath or curling up with a good book and cup of tea.

9. If you have trouble doing this on your own, please seek professional help with a therapist or trained coach.

Author's Bio: 

Estra Roell is a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach, certified Life Purpose Coach, Advanced PSYCH-K® facilitator and Happiness Generator Facilitator. She's known as America's Life Purpose Coach™. Estra helps clients get in touch with their passions and purpose and assists them to uncover and remove any blockages or old patterns that may be holding them back from living a life of joy, purpose and abundance. Estra is also a co-author of the books "101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career" and "How to Create a Rich, Successful and Fulfilling Life." Visit her website at to receive her free report on "Visioning Your Purpose and Heading Toward it Today.” Join her Facebook Group at