A vibrant and colorful illustration featuring a cup of tea and a heart-shaped cookie, accompanied by the inspirational quote "you can't pour from an empty cup. take care of yourself first and avoid people pleasing

How to stop people pleasing

How to stop people pleasing

“Stress, anxiety and depression are caused when we are living to please others.” – Paulo Coelho

How true this quote is and as a recovering people pleaser, I learnt the hard way how pointless people pleasing can be. When you sacrifice yourself at the expense of others, you rarely get your deeper needs met, by those you’re bending over backwards for, you just end up stressed, anxious and depressed; it’s an exhausting way to live.

In those moments we’re not speaking up for ourselves, or even being ourselves. We’re so worried what other people might think or say about us, that we decide it’s easier to conform, avoid conflict and just do what pleases others. We contort ourselves into being someone that makes them happier and more comfortable.

Just think about the woman who is so desperate to ensure that everyone around her is happy, that she puts her needs last. She becomes the daughter, wife, mother, sister and friend that those around her need her to be, what she thinks and what she needs doesn’t even come into it. The only trouble is, this is not who she is and so now she feels uncomfortable in her own skin. She is emotionally and physically exhausted because her boundaries are being over stepped and she is not living in a place of truth and alignment. She begins to lose who she is and questions herself at every turn. She is lost and confused and this is when I tend to hear clients say ‘I don’t know who I am any more’.

​Very often it then leads to anger, resentment, hurt and disappointment towards the very people you have been trying to please for so long….. family, friends and clients. You struggle to understand how someone could have treated you like that, when you always put them first. The stress, anxiety and sadness builds and you can become like a volcano waiting to erupt.

Am I a people pleaser?

This is likely to be something that you ask yourself, so let me share some simple examples below:

  • Saying yes when you really want to say no
  • Changing your own plans to accommodate someone else
  • Not speaking up when you disagree with someone, or when they have crossed your line
  • Doing something that violates your boundaries, values and beliefs
  • Being afraid to express what you want and need
  • Struggling to be authentically yourself

Why am I a people pleaser?

There are a number of reasons that you might be a people pleaser; fear of rejection, abandonment or criticism. Perhaps a fear of conflict and just wanting to keep the peace. We always have a choice over what we say and do and people pleasers are looking for the outcomes that ensure a feeling of safety, stability and security.

Is people pleasing a trauma response?

This is something I get asked a lot and the answer is usually yes! We are creating a ‘Fawn’ response to those around us to ensure a feeling of safety and belonging.

Remember people pleasing often doesn’t even guarantee that you will get your needs met, so why waste your time on people who do not have your best interests at heart?

Putting others first and people pleasing is so common and for some it can be linked to a trauma response called fawning. We want to feel secure in our relationships or connections, so we choose attachment to the person or group, over being authentically ourselves. We fear that being ourselves could lead to conflict, disagreements or even been excluded. We don’t trust enough in the strength of the relationship.

If you’re tired of being a people pleaser and you feel ready to drop the stress, anxiety and depression and you feel ready to give more focus to your own inner healing and self-care; then just know my support is available to you and that you’re not alone.


Self-Care Coach & Healer

Helping sensitive souls to embody self-care, self-acceptance and self-belief


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