Perhaps, by now, you’ve identified yourself as a people pleaser. If you always want everyone around you to be happy, if you will do anything you can to assure that everyone else is happy even if it goes against your own well-being, you are probably a people pleaser. If people tend to take advantage of you and then have very little to do with you once they have what they want, you are a people pleaser. The end result of your behavior is that you never feel good enough, never fee worthy, and often find yourself feeling left out and friendless.
So what can you do?
1. You do have a choice
The changes have to come from inside you. You have no control over the behavior of others, but you can change the way you react to others. You CAN say “No!” Sometimes, you SHOULD say it. People do not have the right to control your life or to demand things from you.
2. Know your own priorities and values
Knowing your priorities and values helps you stop trying to please others all the time. You know when you feel comfortable saying no or saying yes. Ask yourself, “What are the most important things to me? Is it important to me to do what this person is asking, or do I feel uncomfortable about doing this person a favor? If I can do it, and I don’t mind doing it, then ok. If I don’t have the time, or it goes against my prinicples, then I can say no.”
3. Don’t give an immediate answer
If you need time to think and consider, then say so. Don’t give in to your innate need to agree when your gut is telling you “don’t do it.!” You need to ask yourself if you really want to help; if the thing asked of you goes against your beliefs or sense of ethics; if you have the time and resources; or if you have done enough for this person with no return at all.
4. Set Limits
Tell the person you have only two hours available, or whatever is a reasonable.
5. Decide whether or not you’re being manipulated
Users are great flatterers. They’ll tell you you’re the best at this job, no one else can do it like you can, if you don’t do it everyone will be SO disappointed. You bake the BEST cake! You make the BEST potato salad. . . .Don’t fall for it. If you want to do the task, fine. If you don’t, just say no.
More next week. I hope you’ll find these ideas helpful. It’s difficult to change a lifetime behavior pattern, but once you experience the freedom of “no,” you’ll never want to go back.