How to Stop Pleasing Others: 5 Steps to Independence

Sometimes we do what we don’t want so we don’t upset others. Some have mastered the art of pleasing that they themselves no longer understand why they feel uncomfortable. After all, they have long ceased to pay attention to their own needs. The reason for this behavior is simple; we all want to be liked, expect approval, love, and care. But the root of the problem is low self-esteem

These five steps will help you recover.

1. Let yourself be yourself

If you are called for a soccer game, and you hate sports but still agree,  you are going against yourself. Be honest with yourself and the other person. Admit (first of all,, to yourself) that you do not like this idea. Pretense and desire to do something nice will sooner or later turn against you.

Also read: How to Stop Hating Your Body

During our first date with my husband, he did not interest me at all romantically, I perceived him as a friend. I didn’t care if he liked me. I didn’t try to seem better than I really am. No masks, omissions or hints. He saw the real me and eventually fell in love. People are attracted by sincerity!

Sarah Fabian, coach

It’s okay to be yourself. There are no perfect people, and you are no exception. But your flaws make you unique. Stay true to your thoughts and emotions. Live your life.

2. Stop evaluating yourself through the prism of public opinion

Almost everyone knows the fear of public speaking. Most people feel insecure when they go on stage as they care more about what the audience thinks of them than the message they want to convey. Seeking approval from others, we become their hostages. But we cannot control their feelings, thoughts, and actions, but we are fully responsible for ours.

When I realized that the opinions of others do not define me, I felt free. Some people perceive me as an intelligent and talented person. Others think that I am a mediocre or even a lousy speaker. For some, I’m beautiful. For others, no. Everyone has their own standards of beauty and intelligence, and this has nothing to do with me.


Sarah Fabian

Do what you can and how you can, improving every day. Love and approve yourself – you don’t need others for this. You cannot please everyone, no matter how hard you put in. What other people think of you is nothing more than their perceptions, filtered through their own expectations and biases. You are beautiful and worthy of happiness, not because others think so, but because one day you decided to believe it.

3. Set adequate boundaries with the outside world

One of the hardest things on the road to inner independence is being able to say no to things you really don’t want to do without feeling selfish, guilty, or overly concerned about the other person’s reactions.

At work, I used to often agree to perform tasks that were not part of my responsibilities and required time that I did not have. But one day I decided to refuse and see what happened. Surprisingly, absolutely nothing happened. I just started talking out loud about my needs and no one was against it.


Sarah Fabian

Realize that you are saying no to a task or a proposal, not to a person, rejecting it. In fact, you cannot disappoint anyone. People are disappointed in their own expectations of you. And this is already their area of ​​responsibility, not yours.

How to Stop Pleasing Others: 5 Steps to Independence
Image source: Reproduction/Internet

When you agree or reject a request that makes you uncomfortable, you form the attitude of those around you. And you decide for yourself whether to allow someone else to use you. And whether to take on the responsibility to entertain people and make them happy.

Whenever you make time for others, you give them a part of your life. So waste your precious time with people who support you and accept you as you are. Setting boundaries in relationships can seem like selfishness. In fact, it is a form of self-respect and self-care.

4. Learn to speak confidently

Sometimes it’s hard to say no just because you don’t know how to express yourself clearly and confidently. And you are afraid that this may sound aggressive or impolite. Learn to refuse without hurting anyone.

Read also: What is The Danger of Inadequate Self-Esteem and How Do I recognize it?

Here are some simple phrases to start with:

  • Right now (this week / this month), I cannot do this.
  • Now I have too many other things to do.
  • Thanks for the invitation, but I can’t at this time.
  • I won’t be able to go with you, but then be sure to tell me how it went.
  • Perhaps another time. I would love to be invited next week.
  • Sounds great, but no thanks.

5. Become Your Best Friend

Cease to expect that other people will make you happy, and guess about your needs and desires. Make yourself a priority. Do what brings you joy. Loving yourself as a person is not selfishness but a necessity. Get rid of negative evaluative statements about yourself: “I’m stupid,” “I’m too fat,” “I’m spoiling everything.” Treat yourself with dignity and respect. Then praise from the outside will become an organic bonus and not a life goal.

Just realize that the only person who is always present in your life – day and night, is yourself is yourself year after year. And when you are in a harmonious relationship with yourself, you don’t need other people to fill the holes in your own self-worth.

Adapted and translated by Wiki Avenue Staff

Sources: Life hacker