How good are you at saying “no” when you need to? Do you often say “yes” to please others and then feel overwhelmed and get resentful? If this sounds like something you do, you could be falling prey to giving yourself away to meet other people’s expectations. Instead of saying “no,” you would rather sacrifice yourself and be the best “Rescuer” and “People-Pleaser” you possibly can be…a Wonder Woman or Superman. I absolutely have my own journey (honestly, a black-belt) as a People-Pleaser, and I’ll share some ideas on a way out of this cycle.
Would you believe me if I told you that learning how to say “no” is one of the kindest and most compassionate things you can do for yourself and for others? It’s true. When you deliver honest and clear communication about your limitations and availability to other people, you are ultimately honoring yourself. It isn’t bad to want to please, help and assist others. Not at all. I am a big advocate of helping others, of giving where I can, of being a good member of society.
But, where things can go sideways is when we try to please others to “fit in” and be liked, approved of, and accepted. When we need to be the one that’s always there for others, it’s many times to avoid and escape our own pain. We overcommit, and then become a martyr and become resentful, as we have neglected ourselves. We rescue or fix other people and their problems to get an addictive “high” of acceptance and approval. But it’s a short-lived “high.” If we don’t learn to rescue ourselves first, we will soon feel empty again and look outward for our next person to rescue, our next victim…all in a selfish attempt to avoid our own state of victimhood.
To get out of this painful cycle of rescuing and then becoming a victim, you must learn how to set boundaries. This can be a huge step in self-growth, because setting clearly-communicated boundaries means you’re nurturing yourself and your needs first. You also set a great example for others that you value and respect yourself and your time (your biggest non-renewable asset). You begin to see where you have been overdoing for others and under-doing for yourself. You will be more reliable, content and consistent. And you will be less exhausted, happier and more peaceful.
One of the easiest ways to determine whether you need to set a boundary is to ask yourself, “Does this feel right?” and “If I do this, will I be resentful?” If you are someone who never (or rarely) says “no” to others, you are probably (pssst…you are definitely) a People-Pleaser. Notice when you say “yes” when deep down you’d rather say “no.” That “deep down” is your answer, your gut, your intuition. It’s sending you the uncomfortable, but honest, truth (“thanks, but no/not this time/not right now”) that your mouth is unwilling or scared to speak because, as a Combat People-Pleaser, you are afraid of letting others down (#black-belt).
Of course, you want people to like you; that makes you human. But doing things when you really don’t want to or have the available “bandwidth” is just one way of escaping perceived disappointment from others and creating predictable resentments for yourself.
So, give it a shot. Add a few boundaries here and there. A few “Not right now” or “I’m just swamped, ask me next time” to see how it feels. It will probably be uncomfortable at first, but once you start honoring your needs first, you will feel lighter and happier. Mostest (not a word) importantly, you will be a more genuine, honest and authentic human, BEing Unique YOU. It just might feel awesome…and it definitely will be okay, I promise. Wonder Woman agrees.
Thanks for being you…Peace friend ✌😊
p.s. Check out my video on this topic: The Cure for People Pleasing…
Karen Solt is an Emotional Wellness Coach, YouTuber, Blogger, and activist for peace, unity, freedom, equality and connection. A retired Navy Senior Chief veteran, Karen has had various life experiences that have created her unique style of coaching. She remains curious about the human experience and is extremely grateful for the wonderful life she shares in Southern California with her dog, Paco. You can learn more about Karen and her work at https://www.youtube.com/c/KarenSolt and at KarenSolt.com
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