How to Know if You’re a People Pleaser

Jumping into a career or task that you’re not familiar with isn’t easy. Especially if you’re like me and not much of a risk taker. There’s that voice in the back of your mind thinking about all the ways you could fail, wondering about what others will think. Will they think my writing sucks? Will they think I’m boring and have nothing to offer? And who even is THEY? These negative thoughts can hold people back for years and sometimes forever. That’s typical of a people pleaser such as myself.

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Eventually, I became sick of worrying about others’ opinions to my own detriment. Once I put a few boundaries in place and got over the fear of setting those boundaries, it’s been such a relief. After replacing what others think with what I wanted, I took a risk and started my blog.

Do You Fit the Description?

Are you on the fence as to whether or not you ignore your needs for the sake of others? Do you find yourself constantly worried about what others think of you? Ask yourself the following questions when deciding whether or not people pleasing is a problem big enough that it impacts your life.

Do you…

  • say YES to most requests?
  • have built up resentment towards those people that ask things of you?
  • worry about what others think?
  • agree with everyone to avoid conflict or confrontation?
  • apologize often?
  • have difficulty setting boundaries?
  • have low self-esteem?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, reevaluating your people-pleasing ways might be something to consider.

1 Practical Tool to Break the People Pleasing Habit

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Unlearning any habit starts with intentionality. By intentionally looking inward and deciding if your choices and actions bring you peace and allow you to thrive, you gain more awareness of what you want out of life. Of course, it’s easier to say that than to practice it. However, there is one practice that you can actually start today! And it’s using the word NO.

Today, and going forward, if someone asks something of you and it does not bring you automatic joy, or if you are unsure of this request in any way, consider saying NO to it. As John Mayer sings, “even if your hands are shaking…say what you need to say”, you must say what you need to say, and sometimes that means saying NO.

Prepare to experience some discomfort using this single two letter word at first. But please know that the discomfort from saying NO will be small compared to the freedom you feel in the future.

Jenn Kemp, PMHNP, is a dedicated psychiatric and mental health nurse practitioner with a personal and professional commitment to helping others overcome people-pleasing behaviors. Having navigated her own journey through these habits, Jenn combines clinical expertise with genuine empathy to guide her readers towards healthier, more authentic lives.

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