People-Pleasing: Why Do We Do It?


Montaha Hijazi – Certified Life & Mental Health Coach


How to Overcome The Need & Desire to Please!


People-pleasing is a negative characteristic and attitude that partially and immensely affects people’s lives in many ways that they are unaware of.

People-pleasing is one’s desire to make others happy. This often results in allowing others to take advantage of one’s kind-heartedness and benevolence. People pleasers believe that saying no is a negative conception, causing them to constantly act in ways of personal discomfort but public allegiance. This initiates a feeling of distress due to not voicing their opinion and often feeling guilty when someone’s upset with them.

To please others is extremely difficult, and in the long run, it can substantially affect one’s personality. It leaves people drained and exhausted, and by the time they finish prioritizing the needs of others, they don’t even have the slightest time and energy to attend to themselves anymore. The majority struggle with being a people-pleaser at some point.

People-pleasing is a despair centered primarily out of fear; fear of being left behind, fear of hurting others or losing someone they love and care about. This often results in forgetting who they are as individuals and living a life full of regret and fear of being cast off. To control peoples’ perceptions of them, people pleasers tend to avoid conflict at all costs. They spend a lot of time and energy trying to be admired and accepted by society. They often neglect their own well-being to avoid the threat of judgement and rejection by others.

It is completely normal to care about the image and reputation we depict in our society. However, people-pleasing behavior becomes troublesome when the fear of being precluded and criticized by others is far greater than our personal values and needs. The secret to overcoming people-pleasing is being kind but assertive. This can be accomplished through maintaining healthy boundaries.  By setting these boundaries you are not trying to control societies’ behaviors, you are just trying to build foundations of how you want to be treated by others and what you will and will not tolerate.

Breaking this habit can be really challenging, but you can start by comprehending that it’s not your responsibility to make others happy, everyone is responsible for their own emotions. You also have to know that you don’t have to seek validation from others, always have faith in yourself and believe that you are capable and empowered. When someone asks for a favor, take your time to think about it before saying yes. Don’t justify, defend or apologize when you can’t make a commitment or have to say no. If as a result, others get mad at you then these are people you shouldn’t be surrounding yourself with. In order to overcome your needs to please others, the tips found below can be assistive and aidful in building your foundations to a happier and healthier version of yourself.

  • Speak up about your needs and values, this helps you to be more genuine in your relationship with others;
  • Focus on loving yourself as much as you love others;
  • Accept the fact that not everyone will like, admire, or be happy with you all the time;
  • Think twice before doing someone a favor, and check your schedule before saying yes;
  • Start expressing your opinion about something simple;
  • Realize that you always have a choice;
  • Identify your priorities and values;
  • Maintain a give-and-take in relationships and limit time with takers who don’t reciprocate;
  • Nurture and seek relationships with people who accept you for who you are;
  • Recognize that your emotions and needs matter as much as everyone else’s;
  • Be aware of your wants, likes, and needs;

…And Keep in mind that saying NO doesn’t make you rude or disrespectful.

Remember, most of us struggle with being people-pleasers at some point, so stop and think about all the times you really wanted to say no but said yes instead. You can’t please everyone all the time, it is part of being human. Standing up for yourself doesn’t make you quarrelsome, just like sharing your feelings does not make you tender. If someone doesn’t respect your feelings, needs, and boundaries, you’re not the problem, it’s them. Putting others’ needs before yours will teach them that you will always come second. Remember that “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” You must look after yourself first in order to have something to offer to others.


By Montaha Hijazi, Certified Life & Mental Health Coach


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