I’m a recovering people pleaser, plain and simple. I know what it’s like to sacrifice plenty of good years to being an absolute pushover. Honestly, I think there are so many of us who struggle with it because once you start, it’s hard to dig yourself out of that hole.
If you are absolutely sick and tired of feeling like everyone else is in the driver’s seat of your life except you, then these are some steps you can take to get your power back.
1. Focus On Your Self-Worth First
The relationship you have with yourself is more important than any other relationship you will ever have. Yes, that includes your parents, your significant other, even your kids. You are the only person you are completely stuck with forever. Take that relationship seriously and put your needs up high where they belong. We get so used to caring for others that we end up trying to pour from an empty cup. The best thing you can do for your own self-esteem is figure out what your most important needs are and then actually give a shit about them. Do you need some alone time? Take it. Do you need a gym session? Go do it! Maybe you just need to sleep it off for a bit? Get to bed! Make yourself a priority because oftentimes you will be the only one who does.
2. Set Boundaries At The Beginning Of The Relationship, Rather Than Later
The simple truth is that it is much easier to set an expectation at the start, rather than trying to backtrack later on and change your standards. When you start out a relationship or friendship under the guise that the other person is more important than you are, they get comfortable with putting your needs second. From day one, decide what your boundaries and expectations are from the relationship. Put it into practice on that first day. Don’t let a honeymoon phase make you put up with things you wouldn’t normally tolerate.
Another point to consider is that it’s more fair to both of you to set those standards early on so there is no confusion about who you are and what you are about. Be upfront and honest so that you can invest time into the relationship knowing that you are both on the same page. You will also get to know the other person’s true intentions from the start. If you have found someone who is simply seeing what they can get out of you, it will be obvious by the way they respond to your boundaries right away.
3. Get Comfortable With Saying “No”
The word “no” is a little intimidating for a people pleaser. We want to say yes to others requests for a few reasons. First, if we love this person, we want to always be their “yes man.” We want to give them all we have because that’s how we have gotten used to showing our love to others. Second, as much as we may not want to admit it, we just want to be accepted and loved in return. Third, we are scared of the negative reaction that our “no” might receive. The truth is that not everyone will be happy when we say no to them, especially when they are accustomed to us always saying yes. It’s okay to be nervous when you set up boundaries, but it is extremely important to follow through regardless.
Start out small. When someone asks you to do something you don’t want to, tell them that as much as you would love to help them, this time, the answer is no. Don’t be the first person to jump up and take care of other people’s problems for them. Sit back, relax, and let them handle it themselves. It will all work out okay. The more you practice, the easier it will be to put positive boundaries in your life.
4. Be Prepared to Let Go Of The Relationships That Turn Sour
Sometimes we accept people into our lives that are in it mostly for their own gain. Don’t be afraid to let go when someone doesn’t accept your boundaries. These are not your people. Your true tribe will never discard you for telling them no or for putting your needs where they belong. Your people are out there and they will love you and your boundaries. Don’t sell yourself short for the cheap prospect of keeping one more person in your life. When you show your value, you will surely attract others who are willing to share that same value.
The most empowering feeling in the world is taking your power back and creating a life that lets you thrive. Don’t waste any more time letting other people bulldoze you and your ideas. Show yourself the importance you always wanted others to and see how your life changes for the better. It’s a continual process to stop being a people pleaser, and you will have setbacks from time to time. It’s okay. Give yourself time and grace to make the changes you need, and in the end, you’ll know it was worth it.