When was the last time you said no?
We all know somebody in our lives who lives to satisfy others – or perhaps it’s you who is the pleaser. A pleaser is somebody who lives to satisfy other people’s needs while their own needs take a back seat. They consistently look for ways to be validated by doing a good job and constantly bite off more than they can chew.
A pleaser will likely end up exhausted and stressed because they feel that they have to please so many people who have so many demands. This can be a dangerous situation that will often leave you dependent on others for self-esteem. You may also notice that you continuously help other people achieve their dreams but something in you remains unsatisfied and unnoticed.
Let’s talk about how to curb pleaser tendencies and take back control of your life. I invite you to consider these three steps:
Create a Vision
First, I encourage you to create a vision board for yourself. Take a Saturday afternoon to think about your life. Ask yourself, ‘What are my dreams? Who am I and what do I want to achieve in my life?’ This may be very hard to do because you’re used to getting validation and self-esteem from the outside world, but stick with it. Step back and really think about yourself. If it helps, thumb through magazines and pick out pictures of things you would like to experience. Becoming familiar with yourself and your life is a really good first step.
Secondly, ask yourself honestly, ‘How much of my life do I spend pleasing other people?’ You’ll be amazed at how much of your life is lived for others. Then, reclaim territory. What percentage of that time can you take back and what will you do with it? Make a plan that is concrete, realistic and achievable.
Thirdly, start listening to the voice within. It will tell you if you don’t have the energy or time to help out at your friend’s yard sale or tutor your neighbour’s kids. This requires silent reflection but it’s important to offer yourself that opportunity. Step back and ask if it’s really in your best interest whenever you feel like you should be doing something for somebody else. Start to honor what that little voice says to you. Over time, that little voice will get stronger.
This is something I’ve had to learn in my lifetime because I was conditioned to be a pleaser. As I learned to un-condition myself from being a pleaser I realized that there was a little feeling on the inside that would tell me, ‘No, we’re not going to do that because if we do we have nothing left for us.’
Let me know how these steps work for you. As always, I’m curious to know what kind of strategies you have to stand in your power!