Do you consider yourself a People Pleaser?
How many times have you found yourself in a situation where you think about what you should have said after the fact?
Maybe you said yes to something you really didn’t want to do, or you allowed someone to belittle you without responding or verbally defending yourself.
This is a common problem, especially if you have a pushover, people-pleaser personality.
Does this sound like you?
- You give 110% to gaining the approval of others and don’t think twice about sacrificing your own wants and needs so that someone else is happy.
- You tend to keep all opinions to yourself because you don’t like rocking the boat and constantly worry about making someone mad at you.
- This creates a huge inner struggle that causes added anxiety, stress, and other mental and physical issues.
- Like many people-pleasers, you may find it hard to speak up because you associate it with being mean, selfish, or uncooperative.
This simply isn’t true.
Finding your voice doesn’t mean you have to lash out and be hurtful with your words. There are plenty of ways to get your point across and stay true to yourself in a way that is effective and empathetic to the others involved.
Here are 10 simple, but effective ways to find your voice and stop being a people-pleaser:
1. Be Intentional with Your Words
When it comes to speaking up for what matters to you, it’s important to do it in a way that is deliberate and intentional.
First, get to the root of the problem and then decide what and why it’s really bothering you. By doing this, you get a clear picture of what you want and don’t want, and it makes it easier to convey that to the other person.
Choose your words wisely when confronting someone and make sure you don’t come across as accusatory. Most people will put up the defenses quickly if they feel like they are being accused of something.
Stay neutral with your tone and be clear with your concerns. You could even offer a suggestion to help remedy the problem at hand.
For example, if your roommate consistently leaves dirty clothing on the floor instead of the hamper suggest, “If you could leave your clothes in the hamper each night, it would be such a big help to me, so I’ll know what to put in the wash.”
By doing it this way, you can still get your point across without causing hurt feelings or bad vibes between you and someone else.
2. Be (a little) Selfish
Let’s face it, we’re only given so many hours each week to commit to the things that are important to us.
If you consistently spend all those precious moments bending over backward for others, it will wear you down and leave you feeling resentful and unhappy.
For this reason, you need to get comfortable being a little selfish with how you spend your time and where you place your energy.
But how do you begin to do that?
First of all, take time to remember all the things that are important to you and prioritize them at the top of your list.
Maybe you value downtime with your family every weekend or you prefer “me time” to a night out with friends.
When faced with a situation where you have to pick one or the other, keep in mind that choosing yourself over someone else doesn’t make you a bad person. It simply means you’re taking care of your mental and physical health so that you can give more to others in the long run.
Reminding yourself that it’s ok to be selfish once in a while will make it that much easier to speak up during those moments that call for your voice to be heard.
3. Add the Word “No” to Your Vocabulary
If it’s been a huge struggle for you to say the word no, rest assured you’re definitely not alone.
In fact, saying no may be one of the most difficult things in the world to do, especially for those that have people pleaser tendencies.
You don’t want to rock the boat or make anyone mad, so you simply go through life being a yes person.
The bad thing is, by not knowing how to say no enough, you are doing yourself and the world a disservice because you’re sacrificing your wants, needs, and opinions for the happiness of others.
While this may seem like a noble thing to do to those reaping the benefits of your “selflessness,” all it does is cause you a huge inner struggle that ends in frustration and resentment.
Start small and visualize how a situation could have gone differently if you had said no in the past.
Then practice, practice, practice.
Saying no doesn’t mean you have to be rude and hurtful. You can be polite, but firm and still walk away knowing you did the right thing.
4. Timing is Everything
Finding the right moment to voice your concerns is key when trying to find a solution that works for all parties involved.
While you don’t want to wait too long to discuss something that’s on your mind, if you suddenly hit someone with a barrage of complaints out of the blue, it will most likely not end well.
Before you go and put someone on the spot, consider when they would be more apt to listen and engage in a healthy, two-sided chat.
For example, instead of confronting a co-worker in the office about an issue you have, arrange a meeting during a time that works best for both of you or make it a lunch date so you can chat over the neutral ground.
Handling the situation in this way will serve both parties in the best way possible. It’s much easier for the issue to be heard and resolved when the other person doesn’t feel blindsided by your statements.
5. Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Without saying a word, your body language will convey a clear message to others upon meeting.
It’s important to pay attention to what message you are sending:
- Posture: Do you typically stand up straight or do you slouch?
- Eye Contact: Do you make direct eye contact with someone when talking or do you have problems meeting and holding their gaze?
- Body Language: Do you have your arms crossed in front of you, seemingly closed off to the other person, or are your hands down at your sides, showing that you are open and receptive to the conversation?
Not only will your body language affect how others see you, but it will also impact how you feel about yourself.
If you need a boost of confidence, try practicing some power poses at home – quit slouching, stand up straight, and make eye contact with yourself in the mirror.
With a little practice, simple moves like this can help you feel more confident about yourself and also appear more assertive when engaging with others.
6. Pick Your Battles
Part of standing up for yourself also means knowing when to avoid those battles that don’t really matter.
There will be many times in life when you don’t need to waste your time, energy, or words on unnecessary confrontation.
Those are the moments that you really need to evaluate the situation and weigh the pros and cons.
- What is the root of the problem?
- Is it really something that needs to be discussed?
- Will a solution cause a major difference in your life (or anyone else’s)?
Don’t dive headfirst into every issue you come upon – be selective and only speak up on the problems that truly matter.
While there will some situations that require you to intervene and speak up, there will just as many that you need to let roll off your shoulders.
As you become more comfortable being assertive, it will get much easier to notice the difference between the two.
7. Demand Respect Because You Deserve It!
The first step to demanding respect from others is to know without a doubt that you deserve it.
Often, life-long people-pleasers come from a place of low self-esteem so this can be a difficult concept to incorporate into daily life at first.
However, it’s so important to know that you deserve the same amount of respect that you’ve been giving to others and it’s time that you start demanding it.
- You have the exact same rights as everyone else – you are just as smart and talented and deserving of love and respect as everyone else.
- You have the right to your opinions.
- You have the right to make your voice heard.
- You have the right to fail and mess up and be human.
No one has the right to be rude and treat you badly or take advantage of your kindness. Not one single human.
Demanding respect doesn’t take away the fact that you still respect others. It simply means you’re valuing and protecting yourself for once as well.
Understanding this is the first step to speaking up and speaking out against anyone who tries to throw disrespect your way.
8. Speak Loudly with Your Silence
Sometimes, speaking up for yourself means not saying a single word.
Remaining silent when someone expects you to be upset can be one of the most powerful messages you can ever send.
The fact that you don’t feel the need for verbal confrontation speaks volumes about how grounded you are in your own truths and values.
- You don’t need to win an argument.
- You don’t need someone to know that you’re right.
- You simply choose to walk on in silence and let them think what they want.
Understanding that you don’t have to verbally engage in a situation for your message to speak volumes is golden and one of the smartest tactics you’ll ever use.
A quick tip …
If you are feeling unsure or confused about what to say in the moment, silence is a great way to give yourself some extra time to think it through before you say something you might regret.
Just like picking your battles, as you become more assertive, it will be easier to determine which situations deserve your words, and which situations you’ll respond to simply with the sweet sound of silence.
9. Cut the Excuses
There is nothing that says uncertainty and self-doubt like a bunch of on the spot excuses when trying to get out of something you don’t want to do.
If you want to get better at asserting yourself with confidence, drop the excuses, and try adding the word NO to your vocabulary (See #3 above).
Not only do we come up with excuses to avoid requests from others, but we also have a long list of excuses that we use on ourselves. I can’t build a business, run a marathon, write a book – I’m not smart enough, fit enough and I stink at writing.
Most excuses are born out of fear – fear of failure, uncertainty, and a bunch of other limiting beliefs that hold you back.
Recognizing that you constantly pull the excuse card is the first step in kicking that bad habit to the curb.
Once you do this, it will help you feel more self-assured and confident when the time comes to speak up.
Remember – you deserve to have your wants and needs heard and respected.
Drop the excuses, start taking responsibility for that and own it.
10. Go with Your Gut
We are all born with instincts that let us know when something feels right or, on the other hand, when something is way off.
We can use these gut feelings as a compass to direct us through those situations where we’re uncertain of what to do.
It’s so important to listen to that little voice inside your head or that feeling in the pit of your stomach.
Your gut usually knows what to do – the hard part is convincing your head, your heart, and your mouth.
Try thinking back to a time in your life when someone crossed over one of your boundaries. Most likely, it didn’t sit well with you, but you may not have expressed your frustration because you didn’t want to rock the boat.
Still, there was that little nudge – that small voice telling you to speak up and express how you felt.
So often, we tend to second guess ourselves and our gut feelings out of fear. However, remembering that those instincts are there for a reason makes it so much easier to speak up with courage the next time your gut tells you to.
If you’ve been a lifelong people-pleaser, speaking your mind may sound like one of the most intimidating things in the world.
We often hold back out of fear and insecurity – after all, no one wants to look foolish or worse, make someone else mad.
Avoiding confrontation seems like a much easier route, however, you are doing yourself and the world a huge disservice by not allowing your voice to be heard.
The great thing is, you can start asserting yourself in a way that is respectful and kind to others, yet still give your ideas, opinions, and beliefs wings to fly.
No matter how long you’ve taken the silent route, there’s no better time to start asserting yourself than now.
The first step to begin speaking up is to actually do it. This is the scariest part, but it WILL get easier over time as you practice, practice, and then practice some more.
With these tips, speaking your mind will eventually feel like second nature and you’ll wonder why in the world it took you so long to find that smart, confident, and much-needed voice.