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Curly Nikki

Reflection Exercise: Are You a People-Pleaser?

By January 27th, 20214 Comments
Reflection Exercise: Are You a People-Pleaser?

In my quest to reduce emotional clutter in my life and make the best use of my energy, I’m always looking to eliminate patterns and habits that are counterproductive to this goal.

In other words, I gotta get rid of some of this baggage, in order to make the most of my journey. Make sense? To that end, this post is targeting one of my bad habits: People-Pleasing.

Many of us complain of being too busy or being pulled in too many different directions. Sound familiar? Often, if we really took a closer look, we’d find that many of the things we do are because we just didn’t want to say no. Or perhaps your calendar is full of your own responsibilities but you don’t want to ask for help because you don’t want people to think you can’t handle it all.

Truthfully ask yourself: Do you always say what’s on your mind? Do you ask for what you really want? Do you let people’s opinions change your behavior? Your decisions?

For me, the answer to all of these questions is SOMETIMES. And I’m not comfortable with that. It’s great to be considerate of other people’s feelings but to the extent that you deny your own volition – now, that’s a problem.

Here’s what I know about abusive people-pleasing:

*When your actions are based on what you want other people to think about you, you’re not being true to yourself. Furthermore, you’re putting unnecessary strain on yourself.

*No matter what you do, you simply cannot please everyone.

*Seeking to please yourself and do what’s best for you is not selfish.

Saying no when you mean yes and yes when you mean no is not only misleading to others, but it also causes a build up of resentment inside of you. This resentment drains energy that could be used more productively.

A big part of what’s created this pattern for me is my need to make everyone feel comfortable. I always feel overly responsible for how everyone around me is feeling. By nature, I care more about relationships than I do tasks and responsibilties. So my preoccupation with making sure everyone is happy makes sense to me. The only problem is, when I put everyone’s feelings before my own, I end up feeling miserable. Fortunately, I’ve become passionate about having a peaceful mind and feeling content within myself, so I recognize this conditioned pattern and I’m changing it.

If you want to simplify and enjoy your life more, take some time to consider if this habit is having a negative effect on you. First, identify it, then see what you can do to change this behavior.

Here are some tips:

*Saying no can be difficult, but remember that often it’s not what you say but how you say it.

*Likewise, asking for help is often difficult, but for that very reason it’s more a sign of strength and awareness than a sign of weakness.

*Speaking of awareness, make logical and realistic decisions about how you spend your time and energy. Don’t overextend yourself in order to please others.

*Remember there’s a time and place for everything. Be honest about how you feel, but choose your battles wisely.

Don’t worry that people will stop liking you or misunderstand your intentions. You must first accept your reality in order for others to accept it. If your goal is do to everything with love and sincerity, then you must clearly articulate your true feelings.


  • Leah~Catherine. says: so many ways. i'm definitely more interested in folx well being sometimes than I am my own. it's not easy to 'pull away', but i think its necessary and healthy. finding balance, above all.

  • Serenity Spot says:

    I think that I definitely have a problem with trying to keep people happy. I find it very hard to say no, and then when I do it comes out in the wrong way. I definitely need to bookmark this post.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hear Hear!

  • Anonymous says:

    Thank you very much for this post. I find that this issue hits women more than men. Men are "allowed" to say no and not be a bitch or mean. I love when I meet people with strong boundaries who have no problem with no. I have perfected the no without saying no. Often avoiding or delaying the response triggers the self-protection mode for me. Finally, a good strong therapist and/or friend doesn't hurt to remind you. "Saying no is the reminder to yourself that you come first!"

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