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  • Writer's picture Zalman Nelson - Therapist

How to Stop People Pleasing

Updated: Dec 24, 2023


dangers of people pleasing

There are several dangers when it comes to people pleasing. It can lead to many issues, difficulties, and struggles for you personally and in all your relationships. It can also interfere with your happiness and success by negatively impacting the way you see yourself and how you interpret things being said and going on around you.


What is People Pleasing?

Do you feel bad saying no and so you always say ‘yes’ to everything?


Do you often find yourself desperate for something to do to help others?


Do you prefer to keep silent rather than speak up?

Does it feel selfish to mention a need or want that you have?


Are you frequently preoccupied with what others think and feel?

Are you constantly going around making peace?

Are you regularly shuffling your priorities to accommodate the needs of others?


Is caretaking of others leaving you exhausted and drained?


If you connect with some of these points, then you are likely a people pleaser. A “people pleaser” is someone whose extremely low self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth make them desperate for the validation and acceptance of others. As a result, they strongly urge to please others, give to them, do things for them, go along with their wishes, and always be available, even at their own expense.


Other people generally consider you helpful, kind, and always willing to help. However, you spend huge amounts of time and effort caring for others, yet rarely discuss your wants and needs, which you likely feel do not matter. You probably find it hard to allow others to take care of them. You regularly alter and shape-shift your personality to fit in to be what and whom you think others like.


Are There Dangers to People Pleasing?

Because so many of your traits are seen as positive, many of the dangers of people pleasing are hidden. After all, your pleasing traits are considered kind, caring, loving, and accommodating –part of being a good person. But it affects you deeply, internally, and silently. You may often find yourself drained from worry and fear about rejection and disappointing others. You may grapple with low self-esteem, struggle to make health decisions, and avoid having healthy boundaries.


In addition, being pleasing to others is a praiseworthy trait in many cultures and countries. As such, it can be hard to imagine the dangers and downsides of pleasing people.


Why There Are Dangers to People Pleasing

Beneath the veneer of giving, hard work, kindness, caring, and accommodation, you are controlled by a desperate drive to decipher what others want and expect. You imagine you’re a mind reader, and you’re obligated to know others’ needs and wants without them verbalizing them. In addition, you’re neglected and abandoned because you put everyone else’s needs over yours. Being inconvenienced is never a problem for you, and you wouldn’t dream of instituting some boundaries or saying no occasionally. Your thoughts and decisions are flooded with fears of being abandoned, criticized, or engaging in conflict by speaking up on your behalf.


The Dangers of People Pleasing

You prioritize other people. As a people pleaser, your primary goal in all situations, interactions, events, and relationships is to identify others’ needs and make adjustments in yourself to meet those needs. By being so attuned to other people’s needs, you’re ignoring and neglecting yourself, failing to have healthy boundaries, and being unable to protect your needs and interests.


You have low self-esteem. As a people pleaser, your self-worth depends on getting the approval, love, and happiness of others. Making people happy by meeting their needs is your only method for feeling valid and reassuring yourself that you’re a good, lovable person.


You have lost your sense of self. When you people please, you lose your sense of self. You’re totally out of touch with what makes you happy, sad, angry, or excited. You likely have no awareness of your needs and wants and are silent should others ask about it. Having spent zero time contemplating it, it simply doesn’t know what you want and need.


You struggle to have boundaries. When we have boundaries, we express what we do and don’t like, need, and want to others. We’re letting other people know what makes us happy and comfortable. When you do people pleasing, you're unaware of these things and what you want and need. Being out of touch with yourself enables you to be very agreeable and serve others.



How to Stop People Pleasing

Being a people pleaser is a sign of deep emotional neglect and lack. You have some important and crucial emotional needs that have been unmet your whole life. And until you begin to meet them, you run the risk of continuing to be addicted to people pleasing. The dangers of being a people pleaser can be found in all aspects of your life, interfering with your relationships, happiness, and success.


The Trigger Method is a free tool you can begin to use to get in touch with what you think, feel, need, and want, identify your underlying unmet emotional needs so you can focus on meeting them, and enable you to build a validating and reassuring emotional relationship with your Inner Child such that your needs for external validation decrease significantly. It seeps into every facet of your life. In the article about how to stop being a people pleaser, you can find tips on what you can do to prevent it. Go check it out.


Focus on learning more about yourself by observing your thoughts, feelings, words, and actions throughout the day. Get to know yourself as much as possible without criticism or judgment. Just notice, observe, and learn.


Tune into your feelings and where in the body you physically experience them. Become more conscious of how drained you are and how your body struggles to handle your experiences.


Learn to say no by practicing. In your mind, as a situation occurs or after the fact, ask yourself if you want to say yes or no. At least be aware of the times you want to say no internally. As you do that more and more, you'll feel more empowered to say no. Then, look for one moment per day to say no and practice.




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Click here for a consultation with me, where we will review your triggers and emotional needs and show you the road map for success.


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