As a recovering people pleaser, I still find it hard to accept that not everyone is going to like me. But I've come to see that if I'm being true to myself, it's inevitable that some people might not like me ... and that's okay.
After years of working in customer service industries, being painfully polite, avoiding expressing my anger and trying to keep the peace, I realized that trying to appeal to everyone actually requires an element of inauthenticity. I'd often overextend myself, did things I didn't want to do, and then ended up resenting the people and choices I made in my life.
While trying to make others happy, I was making myself miserable.
It’s important to establish values and boundaries, even if people don’t like it. If you are someone who has strong opinions or a defined personality, it's inevitable that someone with opposing ideas is going to disagree with you. It’s natural and healthy.
If you’re constantly trying to please others, you will often get taken advantage of or lose your sense of self. You might have lots of acquaintances but without a true sense of self, it might be hard to cultivate any really close friends.
So it’s important to develop autonomy and end the unhealthy cycle of people pleasing.
Here are five tips to get you moving in the right direction:
1. Address your fears.
Generally, your desire to please others comes from a deep-rooted fear or wound that deserves to be examined. Rational examination of the underlying issue might lead to meaningful healing.
2. Find out what's most important to you.
Get clear on what's important to you and your life. This way you can have a guiding force that's greater than your fear. And when you feel your desire to sacrifice yourself for the sake of someone else, check back in with your truest priorities. If it's not in line with your true north, you know it might not be right for you.
3. Create boundaries.
Know where to draw lines, especially with the people in your life who take advantage of your time and generosity. If you don't communicate your boundaries, others might not know when they are crossing them.
4. Say "no."
Despite the stigma surrounding the word "no," it can actually be a great skill to learn how to say it without feeling guilty. If a friend wants you to do something you don't necessarily want to do, practice simply saying, "No, not today." It might feel strange at first but saying, “No” can often also lead to a bigger opportunity to say, "Yes!"
5. Stop apologizing.
If you face your fears, establish your priorities, create boundaries and enforce them, that's a wonderful thing. You don't own an apology to anyone for staying true to yourself. If anything, you're giving yourself one of the greatest gift of all!