To please is a disease

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Put an end to your people-pleasing habit.

You haven’t had a break all week and your colleague, who spends his time watching YouTube videos says he has to leave early again. You want to keep the peace (as you always do), so you just grit your teeth and offer to finish his tasks.

You may not see it, but there's a big difference between being a people pleaser and being a nice person. If you're a people pleaser, you will try to make and keep others happy, even at the cost of your own wellbeing. If you're a genuinely nice person, you can still be there for others, but it should never be at the cost of your own happiness. 

You're a people pleaser if:

  • You're unable to say no and when you do, you feel guilty.
  • You continue to stay in a situation where you feel uncomfortable, just to keep others happy.
  • You put everyone’s needs before your own.
  • You rarely ask or accept help from others.
  • You constantly apologise, even when there’s nothing to be apologetic about.

Why is it bad? 
Being there for others is noble in itself, but if this is your modus operandi, you could be in for some heartache.

  • You will neglect your health and wellbeing to please others.
  • You will develop low self-esteem as you will need validation from others to feel good.
  • People may see your people-pleasing nature as being manipulative because you would do anything to make them like you.
  • You may be seen as weak and people may take advantage of you.

People pleaser recovery
If you don’t want your lazy colleague or anyone else to see you as a people pleaser anymore, it’s time to learn how to please yourself. 

Just say no
Learning to say NO is the first step in people pleaser recovery. It may seem like you are being rude or unhelpful, but in reality, no-one expects anyone to be a "yes man". If it's difficult at first, try responding in a way that feels comfortable. Most importantly though, don’t make excuses! 

Limit your time
If you do agree to help someone, give them a time limit. For example, let them know that you are only available up until a certain time and be firm about it. This will show others that even though you are willing to be helpful, that you also value your time.

Be assertive 
People pleasers are often seen as pushovers, so it’s important to be assertive. Tell the person that you understand how they feel, but you're unable to help. Showing empathetic assertion is a great way to respectfully say no.

Spot a manipulator
Being a people pleaser makes you a clear target for people to use and manipulate. Familiarise yourself with the signs that you're being manipulated. For example, if someone says something like “No-one does this better than you”, or “You’re so good at baking cakes, will you bake a cake for my son?”, then you are probably being manipulated…

Set boundaries
Clearly identify boundaries for yourself and others. If you are hesitant about agreeing to a favour, consider the reason behind it. Has this person asked once too often? Remember, a favour is not an obligation – you are allowed to say no!  

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