The Ultimate Guide to
Getting Out of People-Pleasing Mode
Disclaimer: While I talk about how stress & burnout resulting from chronic people-pleasing has an impact on our health, I’m not a licensed medical physician, psychotherapist, or psychologist, and I’m not offering medical advice.
For my full disclaimer policy, go here.
When it comes to dealing with burnout & chronic stress, one of the biggest contributors we can face is our own tendency to be stuck in people-pleasing mode.
In this post, we’ll cover the signs of chronic people-pleasing, as well as talk about why it’s dangerous. Then, I’ll share some powerful ways you can shift out of putting others first, so you can get back to living joyfully and powerfully.
Are You Stuck in People-Pleaser Mode?
If your experience has been anything like mine, you were raised to think of others before yourself. And while this line of thinking has its place in teaching us to be considerate and compassionate as children, it can also be overdone and lead us to neglect our own needs. Here are some big indicators that you’re struggling with people-pleasing:
- You have trouble setting boundaries and telling people “no”
- When you do say “no” to people, you feel intense guilt
- You’re always worried about what others think of you
- You think that taking care of yourself first is selfish
- You agree to do things you don’t like or don’t want to do in order to make others happy or “keep the peace”
- You’re always apologizing and taking the blame, even if something isn’t your fault
- You neglect your own needs and desires because you’re always doing things for others
How People-Pleasing Leads to Burnout
We may not think of people-pleasing as contributing to burnout, but there are several ways that it drains us. For starters, when we’re worried more about the needs of others and what they think of us, we stop being authentic and start editing our thoughts and behaviors to get their approval. We spend our time and energy portraying this false self, and so we’re left feeling depleted without even realizing why.
People-pleasing also leads us to put more value on others than on ourselves, which can lead us to neglect our own needs. This, in turn, creates a cycle of chronic stress and burnout, which leads to a myriad of negative long-term consequences for us.
People-pleasing isn’t inherently dangerous, but when it becomes our default mode, it can hurt us and our relationships because it causes us to be dishonest with others breeds resentment when we don’t receive the recognition we’re seeking.
As an article from Healthline states:
“Affection isn’t a commodity. When all you do is give to present yourself as the person you think others want you to be, you’re not showing up in the relationship as yourself. It’s difficult to maintain, much less feel satisfied with, relationships where you aren’t actually present.”
We can also become passive-aggressive and harbor resentment towards those we’re interacting with because we feel that we need their approval but also know that we’re neglecting our own needs and not being our authentic selves.
One additional reason chronic people-pleasing can be dangerous is because it makes us vulnerable to manipulation and even emotional abuse. We put such a high value on the approval and validation from others, that we do whatever we can to keep them happy and keep the approval coming – even if that means leaving our own needs behind and changing our beliefs to match theirs.
This can become a complex issue – and I’ve even been there myself! If you feel like emotional abuse may be something you’re dealing with, I strongly encourage you to seek the help of a trained professional. And remember, your needs matter!
How to Break the Cycle of People-Pleasing
You don’t have to be stuck in people-pleasing mode forever. There are tons of steps you can take to begin breaking this habit and taking back your joy and power. Below you’ll find what I’ve experienced as the 3 most powerful ways to break the cycle of people-pleasing.
#1 Practice Genuine Kindness & Compassion
Being kind and compassionate humans is always important, and is very different from being stuck people-pleasing. When we genuinely want to be of service to others, this is a beautiful expression of our true natures and is not something we should stop doing. Instead, we want to be sure that when we are taking care of the needs of others, it’s from a place of empowerment, and not because we’re seeking the approval of others.
#2 Prioritize Yourself
Contrary to popular belief, putting yourself first isn’t a bad thing. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, not only are you suffering, but it will also impact how you’re able to show up for others. And if you’re someone who identifies with people-pleasing, we already know that being able to be of service is important to you.
As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty vessel. So don’t be afraid to make yourself a priority and make sure your own needs are met. You’ll prevent and stop the escalation of stress and burnout, and you’ll have more to give to others – if that’s you’re thing. 😉
#3 Learn to Set Strong & Healthy Boundaries
Setting boundaries can feel scary, amiright?
But here’s the thing: the more you do it, the easier it gets. And the clearer you’ll be able to be with your needs and the more confidence you’ll have in stating them.
Setting healthy and strong boundaries really comes down to knowing what your needs are and prioritizing them. Then, it’s up to you to share your boundaries with others and to hold them to them. Being flexible with our boundaries just leaves us open to being manipulated and once again falling into people-pleasing mode.
Are you ready to prioritize yourself and kick burnout to the curb?
If you answered “heck yes!”, then you won’t want to miss out on my upcoming program: The Break Up With Burnout Guided Workshop Series. I’m sharing details about this program, as well as FREE training inside my private Facebook group, and I’d love for you to join us!
I’ve also got a FREE guide to help you get started breaking up with burnout NOW so you can get back to living more joyfully. Check out the form below to snag your copy and be put on the program waitlist!
Until next time,