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I Choose to Stop Being a People Pleaser

I write, produce, and edit videos to educate, entertain, and inspire those who aspire to live a more fulfilled life.


Hi, I’m Gilang. It’s nice to meet you! Now that we've met, I'm sure you'll enjoy reading my latest blog post. I hope you'll find it both informative and entertaining. That is my primary goal and intention with every piece of content I write. Even though some bloggers say their intention is to help their audience, that’s only a secondary objective for me. What matters most, more than anything else, is your approval. If you’re happy with what I’ve written, then I’m also happy. At least until the next time I need your approval again.

That might sound like an extreme example, but it illustrates the main difference between being a people-pleaser and being an assertive person who has boundaries and self-respect. In short, people who are constantly seeking approval from others often have no idea how to take care of themselves or set boundaries that protect them from over-giving (or sometimes abusive) relationships because they don't know their own needs or limits very well or they don’t trust themselves enough to express them clearly in the first place!

I know this because, at one point in my life, I was one of those people-pleasers (and overgivers). But after years of working on it and making mistakes along the way (like not knowing when being "nice" was actually hurting someone else), today I am happy to say that while there may still be remnants left inside me somewhere deep down, it no longer controls everything about me as much as it used to before.

Notice when your behavior is driven by the need to please others.

When you find yourself doing something, notice where the motivation is coming from. Are you doing it to please someone else? Or is it for yourself?

If the answer is that it’s motivated by pleasing others, then ask yourself why they want this thing done. Do they really need your help? And how will helping them make your life better?

If the task being asked of you doesn’t fall under one of those categories, if it doesn’t help anyone and doesn’t benefit anyone (including yourself), then try to find an alternative way to say no so that the other person isn't put out or upset by your decision not to do what he or she wants done.

Get comfortable with saying no and honoring your needs, wants and limits.

  • Practice saying no. When you're ready to start saying no more often, practice with someone who will be supportive and can give you feedback.
  • Be honest about your feelings. It's important that you are honest about what you need and want (or don't). Don't feel guilty about setting boundaries; it's not selfish if it serves your needs!
  • Ask for help when you need it. If someone asks you for something or wants something from you that isn't fair or reasonable, politely decline their request and offer them an alternative solution instead (for example, "I'd love to write that email for you but I'm really busy right now."). If they still insist on getting what they originally wanted from the relationship in question despite all of this information being available beforehand, then perhaps this person doesn't respect boundaries after all.

Stop worrying about what people think of you.

You don’t have to worry about what other people think of you. You can't worry about that, and even if you could, it would be a fruitless exercise. Everyone has an opinion, but that doesn't mean they're right.

You know what's even worse than being the person who does everything for everyone else? It's being the person who does everything for everyone else and gets nothing in return! So stop trying so hard to please other people (especially when it comes at the expense of your own happiness). Instead of worrying about pleasing others, focus on giving yourself permission to do what makes YOU happy and only YOU happy.

Learn to identify the self-critical voice in your head.

The first step to overcoming your need to please others is learning to identify the self-critical voice in your head. This voice can be merciless, and it doesn't care if you're struggling or feeling stressed out; it'll continue to tell you that everything is your fault. It might make comments such as "Everyone else would've been able to do this better than I did," or "The boss will be furious when he finds out what happened."

When we listen to this voice, we end up putting ourselves down and adopting a defensive posture towards others. We worry about being judged negatively by other people because of our mistakes or flaws. Instead of taking responsibility for our actions (or inaction), we blame anything that goes wrong on external circumstances beyond our control. When this happens frequently enough, it leads us down a slippery slope where nothing seems good enough. If you have one bad interaction with someone at work, then all future interactions will be tainted by the memory of that initial mistake, even if they were perfectly fine after that point!

One way you can reduce its influence is by practicing self-compassion exercises regularly throughout your day; these include things like counting your blessings every morning when waking up from sleep (you likely have more than just one!), sending yourself kind messages during stressful situations ("You did well even though it was difficult"), and finding gratitude in small things like sunshine or flowers rather than focusing only on negative outcomes ("It could always be worse!").

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Set healthy boundaries with everyone in your life so you can avoid over-giving.

Here are a few ways to set healthy boundaries:

  • Don't give people the benefit of the doubt. If there's someone in your life who is trying to take advantage of you, they won't stop until they get caught (or until they decide it's worth their while to stop). Don't allow yourself to be taken advantage of because "you deserve better." You deserve better than someone who will take advantage of you!
  • Stop being so helpful and nice! There are some people in this world who don’t want anything from us; they just want us for ourselves, and those people should be cherished and appreciated every day. But there are also toxic people out there who just want something from others without giving anything back in return. It is best to avoid this type of person in our lives once we realize who they really are (and how horrible it can make us feel).

Build confidence through self-care and self-love.

Take care of yourself. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's crucial to remember that you need to be healthy and happy before you can help others. Taking time for yourself is essential, especially when you're feeling stressed or anxious because of your efforts to please others. Take baths, meditate, go on walks; whatever makes you feel relaxed and calm will do the trick!

Learn how to love yourself. It's hard not to compare yourself with other people if you don't like what they have going on in their lives. However, this can be detrimental if it leads us down a path of self-loathing and low self-esteem instead of self-love and confidence-building techniques. Don’t focus on what someone else has. Instead, focus on all the things that make YOU great!

Don’t take things personally (or seriously). When someone says something negative about us or about someone we care about, whether it's said intentionally or accidentally, remember that we can choose whether or not we let these words affect us in any way at all! If someone says something hurtful about us, then maybe they're feeling bad about themselves, so try saying something nice back instead.

Don't be afraid to ask for help from others around you who might have some good advice too. But remember, no one other than YOU (and possibly GOD) knows how things should go down. If only you knew what had to be done in order for your life to be better than ever!!

Rather than seeking approval to boost a shaky self-image, choose actions based on your values and beliefs.

The first step to becoming a less "people-pleasing" person is to choose your actions based on your values and beliefs, instead of seeking approval in order to boost a shaky self-image.

Never let yourself be defined by other people’s opinions of you. You don’t need to be a people pleaser or a pushover; you don't need to be a doormat either. When someone is not treating you with respect, it's OK for them to feel the consequences of their actions!

You're worth taking care of, too!

You're worth taking care of, too!

Yes, you. Only you can make yourself happy, feel loved and safe, and feel confident about yourself. It's time to realize that there is no one else on earth who can do this for you, not your partner or kids, or friends, or coworkers. If someone else could love you better than you love yourself, it would be a different story, but they can't. The same goes for making yourself feel secure; they can't do that either (and neither can I). And if they were able to make all these things happen effortlessly, then why are people-pleasers so unhappy? Why aren't their lives overflowing with joy?

No one knows how to care for themselves as well as they do; no one knows what makes them happy as well as they do; no one has their best interests at heart more than they do; and no one cares about them as much as they care about themselves.


One thing I know for sure is that when you stop people-pleasing and start being yourself, life becomes a lot more fun. Instead of worrying about what others think of you, you can focus on doing the things that make you happy. You can slow down and enjoy the present moment. And as long as your motives are coming from a place of love and kindness, you don't have to worry about whether or not people will approve of what you're doing or how they feel about your choices, because their approval isn't necessary for your happiness.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Tantowi Gilang

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