Breaking the Chains of Approval: How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Have you ever found yourself saying yes when you wanted to say no? Do you often compromise your needs for the sake of others, despite feeling resentful later? If so, you might be caught in the cycle of people-pleasing. Here we will explore the path on “How to Stop Being a People Pleaser”, unmask the reasons behind this behaviour, and walk towards freedom and authenticity.

The Anatomy of People-Pleasing

Being a people pleaser, at first glance, seems like a commendable trait. Who wouldn’t appreciate a person who’s always agreeable, ready to help, and generally accommodating? But there’s a darker side to people-pleasing. Underneath the pleasing facade, there often lies a person who suppresses their desires, moulds themselves to others’ expectations, and as a result, harbours resentment and dissatisfaction.

These individuals often feel they have no option but to please others, even at the cost of their personal well-being. While their behaviour might look altruistic, they’re driven not by selfless motives but by the fear of displeasure or rejection from others.

The Roots of People-Pleasing

People-pleasing behaviour isn’t born overnight; it’s often rooted in our past. Most people-pleasers have learned this behaviour in their early years, usually around a parent or caregiver who was intolerant of certain aspects of their personality or desires. To protect themselves and ensure their survival, they adapted by prioritizing others’ expectations over their needs.

For instance, a father who flew into a rage over the smallest disagreements may have taught his child that differing opinions could lead to conflict or even danger. To maintain harmony, the child learns to align their behaviour with the father’s expectations, disregarding their genuine feelings or thoughts.

Another example could be a child growing up with a depressed or emotionally vulnerable parent. The child might learn to suppress their needs to avoid upsetting their already fragile parent. Thus, the habit of people-pleasing is often a survival mechanism learned in childhood and carried into adulthood.

The Fallout of People-Pleasing

The problems with being a people pleaser are manifold. While they may believe they’re acting for the greater good, people-pleasers often unwittingly harm both themselves and those around them.

One consequence is the suppression of their authentic selves. Constantly moulding themselves to others’ expectations, they lose touch with who they are and what they genuinely want. This can lead to feelings of resentment, frustration, and even identity crisis.

Another impact is on their relationships. By not expressing their authentic needs and feelings, they prevent genuine connections with others. Instead of fostering intimacy, their behaviour can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts, ironically the very thing they are trying to avoid.

Finally, people-pleasing can hamper their professional growth. By withholding their ideas or doubts, they fail to contribute effectively at work, which can stunt their career progression and personal growth.

Breaking Free: How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

Breaking away from the habit of people-pleasing is not an overnight task, but with conscious effort, it is achievable. Here are some steps to help you on this journey:

  1. Recognize the Uniqueness of Others’ Reactions: Understand that most people can handle disagreements or rejections more gracefully than the people who influenced your people-pleasing behaviour. Not everyone shares the same intolerances or insecurities as them.
  2. Acknowledge the Harmful Impact: Recognize the harmful consequences of your people-pleasing behaviour on yourself and others. Understand that you’re not doing anyone a favour by suppressing your true feelings or thoughts.
  3. Learn Assertive Communication: Develop the ability to express your needs, thoughts, and feelings assertively yet respectfully. You can disagree without being disagreeable, and you can reject requests without being rude.

Overcoming people-pleasing behaviour can be a significant step towards personal growth and authentic living. It’s a journey from fear-based compliance to courage-based authenticity. And remember, it’s absolutely okay to put yourself first sometimes.

Resources for Change

As part of this journey, you might find resources like Skillshare valuable. It’s an online learning community offering thousands of classes across various fields. Whether you want to learn assertive communication, stress management, or any other skill, you’ll find a course that suits your needs. Not to mention, they’re offering a two-month free trial for the first 500 sign-ups.

FAQ on How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

1. What is a people pleaser? A people pleaser is someone who consistently puts others’ needs and desires above their own, often to their detriment.

2. What causes people-pleasing behaviour? People-pleasing often stems from childhood experiences, usually around caregivers who were intolerant or incapable of accepting certain aspects of their child’s personality or needs.

3. How does people-pleasing affect individuals? People-pleasers often harbour unexpressed feelings, thoughts, and needs, leading to resentment and unfulfilled personal and professional potential.

4. Can people stop being people-pleasers? Yes, with self-awareness, understanding the origins of their behaviour, acknowledging its harmful effects, and learning assertive communication, individuals can break free from people-pleasing.

5. What is Skillshare? Skillshare is an online learning platform offering a multitude of classes across various domains, helping you gain skills for hobbies or business pursuits.


In conclusion, breaking free from the cycle of people-pleasing is about redefining your relationship with yourself and others. It’s about embracing your authentic self, expressing your genuine feelings, and leading a life that aligns with your values, not just others’ expectations. Remember, the journey of “How to Stop Being a People Pleaser” is not about becoming selfish; it’s about becoming self-aware and self-respecting. Your authenticity is your greatest gift to the world.

Resources Mentioned

Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of classes in various fields, from graphic design and animation to web development, music, and photography. Skillshare can provide you with the skills to start a new hobby or business. You can sign up for a free two-month trial using the link in the video description.

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