Say YES to Saying NO! : A Guide to Overcoming People Pleasing

Self Test:

YES NO Will you do whatever is asked of you to keep everyone around you happy?
YES NO Is it everyone else more important than yourself?
YES NO Is it saying “no” hard for you?
YES NO Is it to be needed almost an addiction for you?
YES NO When you are needed it make you feel important? Even when you know that somebody might be taking advantage of you?
YES NO Is it making positive contributions to someone else’s life is highly fulfilling for you? Even when your personal needs are not being met?

If you got 3-5 answers YES, probably you are a People Pleaser!

What is a People-Pleaser?
If you are a people-pleaser you might be seeking for the following:
1. Outside validation.
2. Approval of others to validate your personal feelings of security and self-confidence
3. Acceptance, as you are afraid of how others will view you if you say no.
4. Avoiding people perceiving you as a selfish, uncaring, or totally egocentric individual
5. Avoiding feeling isolated from friends, family or co-workers.
Risks
If you are a People-pleasers you might be putting yourself through a lot of pressure and stress, and probably you have made yourself sick from doing too much. When you are overcommitted, you probably are getting less sleep, getting more upset and getting more anxious than normal. If this is happening to you, you are exhausting your energy resources. In the worst-case scenario, you might be waking up tired, and find yourself suffering from depressive mood and feeling overwhelmed because you cannot do it all.
Strategies
Here are 7 strategies to help you stop being a people-pleaser and finally begin being able to say NO!
1. Make yourself a priority
• Ask yourself, what are the most important things to me? If I decide to help…How stressful is this going to be? Do I have the time to do this? What am I going to give up? How pressured am I going to feel? Am I going to be upset with this person who’s asking?
         • Making yourself a priority means knowing your limits and personal values to help you put the brakes on people-pleasing behavior. You know when you feel comfortable saying no or saying yes. Very often after you have said yes or helped at a high cost to you, you’re left wondering, what was I thinking? Resentment toward that person or situation starts building up…
2. Realize you have a choice.
         • Remember that you always have a choice to say yes or no.
3. Set a time limit.
         • If you do agree to help somebody out, it is smart to limit your time frame. It is appropriate to let the person know that you will be available only for a set or specific time frame.
4. Conviction is the key.
         • Saying no with conviction is the key. Remind yourself that you are saying no for good and real reasons. In fact, you will have the ability and time to respond to your personal needs and make time for the people that you really want to help.
5. What if it feels like you have been manipulated?
         • Manipulation is a clear intention of people to take advantage of you, and it is different from asking a special favor from you. So, it is important to watch out for manipulators and crawlers. Often the people who sweet-talk you will appeal to your kindness and abilities. A common line is “You are unique, nobody does this better than you do”. Have you ever heard people saying things like: “Oh you’re so good at baking cakes, would you make a cake and 45 cupcakes for my child’s birthday for free?” or “I don’t know how to put this furniture piece together, but you are so handy, can you help me out while I go out with my friends for a couple of hours?” Basically, before you know it, they make the decision for you. And you end doing something that it was not your choice.
6. Empathic assertion works!
         • Stepping all over people is not being assertive. Instead, being assertive means making connections. An empathic assertion means to walk in the other’s shoes, as you assert yourself. Basically, you let the person know that you understand their need, but you cannot help at this time. By doing this, people will feel heard and understood in a respectful way of asserting yourself and saying no.
7. Recognize when you’ve been successful.
         • As a people-pleasers you might have the tendency to focus on failure before success, and the things that went wrong. This practice might lead to believe that you are not “good enough”, and the only way to be accepted and validated is by pleasing people. However, when you were assertive or didn’t apologize for not helping others at their convenience, and you were able to attend your priorities first, then can count it as a success!
         • Service to others is a gift, but people pleasing behaviors are a burden…the challenge is to learn how to recognize the difference.

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