how to stop pleasing

How to stop pleasing everyone and neglect your own desires

My mum always told me to be kind to people. As a child, I interpreted it in my little head to be nice and help everyone. When I think about it now I can see how many other conclusions formed in my mind out of this single innocent mum’s saying. Such as if I am not nice to people they will think badly about me and will never be friends with me. If I don’t help others, they will be mean to me. And so on…

All my life I’ve been trying to follow mum’s admonition. I was a good girl at school. The worst thing in the world for me was to hurt someone’s feelings. I didn’t ask uncomfortable questions because I was scared of confrontation. I was ready to help everyone anytime anywhere even if that action would sometimes work against my will. I liked it when people liked me. I needed to be approved by others.  I wasn’t aware of the people-pleasing concept.

I don’t recall when I first started to question myself why it is so hard for me to say NO. As long as I can remember, in situations when I genuinely couldn’t do a favor I tried my best to explain myself and come up with good reasoning. It was impossible for me just to say NO without explanation.

Only when I started to work on myself, I dived deep in my beliefs and realised that people-pleasing habit was based on my own low self-esteem, self-denial, and fear to be rejected.

I am in my thirties and still love helping people, making them happy. But now this sincere desire to serve others is coming from a completely different mindset. I’ve read a lot of books about self-development, listened to many spiritual gurus and recognised therapists and I’ve done some research on this topic. Following are my 3 tips on how to ditch pleasing people and respect your own desires:

learn to say NO
Learn to say NO

LEARN TO SAY NO: This is massive for me! It took me a while to learn this skill. I started with setting boundaries for myself first. What I can compromise on and what is “100% NO”. For example, I’ve decided that I would not agree to do extra work from home over the weekend because my priority is to spend time with my family. Just simple:  “Unfortunately I can’t do it, I have family plans”.

In the beginning, it was almost scary to say that to my boss, but then I quickly understood that for the people who were asking for a favor the most important was to find a helper. They don’t really think too long about your refusal, so you shouldn’t feel guilty, at least for too long.  Standing up for yourself and prioritising your own desires will make people respect you in the long run.

“WHAT OTHERS THINK OF YOU IS NEVER ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS” – Abraham Hicks. We massively exaggerate the conception of what others think of us. People usually are too busy with their own problems, concerns, worries to spend their time and mental capacity on others. Recognise that you can’t please everyone and whatever they might think of you shouldn’t bother you too much. It is only their perception of you, therefore not any of your business.

“When you stop living your life based on what others think of you real life begins. At that moment, you will finally see the door of self-acceptance opened.”  – Shannon L. Alder

full of self-confidence
being YOU

WORK ON YOUR SELF-ESTEEM: Hmm, easier said than done…! I agree! It is a hard task that requires a lot of mindfulness, self-awareness and conscious approach. But remember this, you don’t need outside approval, the only validation you need is your own. Taking care of your needs first is essential to being an authentic person. You have to become your own best friend.

Building on your self-esteem is a very broad topic that will be discussed in my other blog post.

It is a great quote by Paulo Coehlo “When you say “yes” to others, make sure you aren’t saying “no” to yourself.”

No matter what your past has contributed to your need to please people, you can change. Your new attitude will bring more happiness, confidence, and self-esteem into your life and you’ll be a more balanced person.

With much love


2 thoughts on “How to stop pleasing everyone and neglect your own desires”

  1. I become happy to read your writing. I guess you’re a nice lady with a great heart ❤️. I’m a housewife without any income & also a helpless mother who has an autistic baby. I wish to do something meaning full work in life . But I find only darkness around myself . From , Bangladesh.

    1. Shilpi, I hope my blog posts will inspire you and help you understand that your baby is a gift from heaven. Please also follow me on my Youtube channel A Gift Of A Special Child where I talk about my own journey as a mother of a disabled kid. Sending blessings to you!

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