March 19, 2024

10 Steps to Unbecoming a People Pleaser (& Embracing the Practice of Setting Boundaries).


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For most of my life, I embraced the label of a people pleaser.

I prided myself on being easygoing, adaptable, and always willing to accommodate others. I would readily sacrifice my own desires, whether it was choosing a different restaurant or altering plans, to ensure everyone else’s happiness. “It doesn’t matter to me” became my mantra, and I genuinely believed it at the time. Conflict was something I actively avoided, like many others.

However, after nearly four decades of prioritizing others’ needs above my own, I began to feel the weight of my actions. Resentment toward those close to me started to build, and I realized that my accommodating nature was often taken for granted. Each time I conceded to someone’s request or suggestion, I felt a piece of myself wither away while anger and hurt simmered beneath the surface. Despite their good intentions, it began to feel as though I was being treated like a doormat, with my acquiescence to their needs becoming an expectation.

My “easygoing” demeanor came at a cost; I lost my voice and became accustomed to simply going with the flow. Even when struggling with my own mental and emotional challenges, I would push them aside to support others. While some reciprocated the support, I discovered that I was becoming a carrier of their burdens, internalizing their problems, and carrying them with me long after our conversations ended.

But this behavior was unsustainable. Over time, it wore me down, and I realized that I needed to make a change. The concept of boundaries entered my consciousness like a revelation, filling me with strength and resolve. I began to prioritize my own needs and desires, setting limits and asserting myself in situations where I would have previously acquiesced. I distanced myself from drama, declined invitations that didn’t align with my interests, and stopped being the sole initiator of plans.

Yet, this newfound assertiveness wasn’t always met with approval from those accustomed to my people-pleasing ways. Some reacted with resistance, attempting to guilt-trip me for prioritizing myself. But I refused to let their negativity deter me. True friends would support my journey to self-respect and recognize the value of setting boundaries.

So, how does one unbecome a people pleaser? It starts with recognizing your worth and having the courage to prioritize your own needs. It’s about setting boundaries and asserting yourself, even in the face of resistance. And while the journey may be challenging, the rewards of self-respect and authenticity are well worth it in the end.

Here are some steps to help unbecome a people pleaser:

1. Recognize the Pattern. Acknowledge and accept that you have been a people pleaser. Understand the impact it has had on your life and relationships.

2. Reflect on Your Values. Take time to reflect on your own values, needs, and desires. Identify areas where you have compromised your values to please others.

3. Set Boundaries. Establish clear boundaries to protect your time, energy, and emotional well-being. Learn to say “no” when necessary and prioritize your own needs.

4. Practice Self-Compassion. Be kind to yourself and recognize that it’s okay to prioritize your own well-being. Let go of guilt or self-criticism associated with setting boundaries.

5. Communicate Assertively. Learn to communicate your needs and boundaries assertively but respectfully. Practice expressing yourself clearly and directly, without apologizing for your feelings or decisions.

6. Say “No” with Confidence. Practice saying “no” to requests or situations that don’t align with your values or priorities. Remember that it’s okay to decline without offering lengthy explanations or excuses.

7. Seek Support. Surround yourself with supportive friends, family members, or a therapist who can offer encouragement and guidance as you work on unbecoming a people pleaser.

8. Celebrate Progress. Celebrate small victories along the way and acknowledge your growth. Recognize the positive impact that setting boundaries and prioritizing self-care have on your overall well-being.

9. Practice Self-Care. Prioritize self-care activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. Make time for activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and fulfillment.

10. Stay Mindful. Stay mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as you navigate the process of unbecoming a people pleaser. Stay committed to your journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Remember, unbecoming a people pleaser is a journey, and it may take time and effort to break old habits and establish new ones. Be patient with yourself and trust in your ability to create positive change in your life.

As I conclude this journey of unbecoming a people pleaser and embracing the practice of setting boundaries, I realize the profound impact it has had on my life. Through self-reflection and courage, I’ve reclaimed my voice and asserted my needs with confidence. No longer tethered to the expectations of others, I’ve discovered a newfound sense of freedom and authenticity in my relationships. Setting boundaries has allowed me to prioritize my well-being and nurture healthier connections built on mutual respect.

While the path to boundary setting may be met with resistance, each boundary established is a declaration of self-worth and self-respect. As I continue to navigate life with firm boundaries and a clear sense of self, I’m filled with gratitude for the growth and transformation this journey has brought.

Here’s to embracing authenticity, honoring our needs, and living life on our own terms.


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