Simply being a nice person who genuinely worries for the happiness of others is different from simply avoiding letting anyone down under any circumstances. Chicago-based psychologist and author of Stop Anxiety from Stopping You, Helen Odessky, explains that although the former feels good while assisting others, the latter does not. Furthermore, people pleasers put the needs of others above their own. They worry that if they don’t, no one will like or respect them.
Trying to find your value in other people’s acceptance is an impractical pursuit. If you’ve been living as a yes-man or -woman, take baby steps to recover your self-esteem, joy, and life.
Ways to stop worrying about what other people think:
You should: 1. stop for some time
Due of their aversion to causing others distress, people pleasers tend to respond positively to everyone’s demands. Get out of the habit of immediately saying “yes” when someone asks you for a favour by practicing saying “let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Odessky advises using this sentence to buy yourself time to consider if you have the time and energy to assist out and the confidence to say no if you don’t.
(2) Guilt should not be used as a compass.
When a coworker asks you to take on a project when you already have too much on your plate, it’s important to think about why you want to agree. If you didn’t assist your pal, would you feel bad about yourself? Odessky advises against doing action out of shame. Sometimes feeling guilty might motivate us to act responsibly even when we’d rather not (call your mom!). But if that’s all you’ve got going for you, and it’s causing burnout, resentment, and tiredness, then it’s not good for you.
Get over your fear.
Dr. Susan Edelman, an adjunct professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, recommends that people who are motivated by fear evaluate how plausible their concerns actually are. If you took some time off for yourself, what’s the worst that could happen? Would your spouse leave you if they found out you were taking karate classes after work?
Do you really want your pals to respect you if you’re always too busy to hang out with them or provide a hand when they need it? Your worries are probably unwarranted.
Although it may take time for others around you to acclimatize to the new, more confident you, your relationships will flourish once you begin acting of your own will rather than out of fear of repercussions.
Take baby steps.
Asking for help might feel intimidating at first, so it’s best to build up your courage gradually. Create a daily reminder on your phone to get outside and walk around for 15 minutes. Tell your partner you need to set aside 30 minutes on the weekends to meditate.
Examine your upcoming week’s tasks in detail and determine how much time will be required to complete them successfully. Then, if something comes up that would prevent you from doing that, you may just say you’re sorry but you won’t be able to accomplish it this week.
Over time, you will develop greater confidence in yourself and learn to set appropriate limits to safeguard your identity and enrich your relationships.