In: Spirituality and Philosophy0

Many people fall into the pattern of being people pleasers without realizing what they are doing. It often starts out as simply being helpful and doesn’t feel like a problem because you enjoy doing things for others. Sometimes you say “yes” out of habit, and other times you derive a strong sense of satisfaction from feeling that you are needed.

People-pleasers take helpfulness to the extreme by constantly putting the needs of others ahead of their own. You keep agreeing to requests until you find yourself overwhelmed, anxious, sleep-deprived, and depressed.

In some cases, this mental distress can manifest itself in the form of extreme physical pain. These physical symptoms, also known as Tension Myositis Syndrome, are often chronic and cannot be resolved with traditional medical treatment.

Recognizing that you have a problem is the first step to stopping your people-pleasing ways. For the sake of your physical and mental health, you must break the habit of always agreeing and learn to say no. This is often not as simple as it may seem. Consider the following tips to help you get started.

Understand that You Have a Choice

You do not have to say yes to every request that comes your way. You have a choice to say no, and doing so does not mean you are uncaring, selfish, or lazy. You may fear that declining requests will cause you to lose the appreciation or affection of others. The truth is, people are more likely to have respect for you if you start taking better care of your own needs.

Check in with Your Feelings

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Be Firm and Don’t Make Excuses

When you say no, do it with conviction. Don’t feel like you need to explain yourself to the person making the request. Making excuses gives the requester the chance to try to convince you that your reasoning is invalid. Simply state that you are unable to help, and end of the conversation.

Beware of Manipulation

If you truly enjoy helping, it can be hard to recognize when you are being manipulated. Watch out for people who try to use flattery or convince you that your other obligations are less important. If the same people are asking you for help time and time again, you may be doing both of you a favor by saying no. Empower the requester to find new solutions or start doing things for themselves.

For a people pleaser, learning to say no can be a difficult process. In many cases, working with a life coach can help you to integrate coping methods into your daily life and proactively address challenges as they arise.

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