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Embracing Authenticity as an Antidote for People-Pleasing

eft self-help social stress tapping Feb 26, 2024

“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” – John Lydgate

Do you find yourself putting aside your needs and desires to meet the expectations of others? Do you say yes when you want to say no, or agree with someone even when you don’t truly share their opinion?  If so, you may be caught in the trap of people-pleasing.

People-pleasing involves prioritizing others’ needs and opinions over your own to be liked, fit in, or avoid conflict.  While it may seem harmless on the surface, people-pleasing can have detrimental effects on your well-being, leading to anger, frustration, stress, anxiety, burnout, and a loss of self-identity.

Why does this happen? People-pleasing often stems from deep-seated insecurities, past experiences, perfectionism, low self-esteem, and a fear of conflict or rejection.  Recognizing when and why you tend to people-please is the first step toward breaking free from this damaging cycle.

The antidote to people-pleasing lies in embracing your authentic self. This involves getting comfortable with who you are and setting healthy boundaries to prioritize your own needs and values.  As author Brené Brown points out, authenticity is a practice of conscious daily choices to show up and be real, to be honest, and to let our true selves be seen.  Here are some practical steps to help you counter people-pleasing behavior:

  1. Know yourself: Take the time to really know yourself – your values, desires, and boundaries. Understanding what’s important to you will empower you to make decisions that align with your authentic self.
  2. Set Healthy Boundaries: Decide what you are and aren’t willing to do and communicate those boundaries clearly to others. Don’t be afraid to say no when necessary to protect your time, energy, and well-being.
  3. Prioritize Your Needs: Make self-care a priority. Remember that taking care of yourself isn’t selfish – it’s essential for your overall well-being.
  4. Practice Self-Compassion: Remind yourself that you can’t please everyone, and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself and practice self-compassion, especially when you find yourself slipping into people-pleasing behaviors.
  5. Start Small: Begin by making small changes, such as delaying your response to non-urgent requests or saying “Let me think about that” instead of immediately agreeing to something.
  6. Avoid Over-Apologizing: Instead of over-apologizing for setting boundaries or saying no, assert yourself with confidence and clarity.
  7. Embrace Discomfort: Acknowledge and accept the discomfort that comes with asserting yourself and setting boundaries. Remember that growth often occurs outside of your comfort zone.
  8. Seek Support: If people-pleasing is a major issue for you, consider seeking support from a counselor or therapist who can help you work through underlying issues and develop healthier coping strategies.
  9. Stay True to Yourself: Respect your own opinions, feelings, and needs, and don’t compromise them to please others. Authenticity breeds genuine and healthy relationships built on mutual respect and understanding.

As Brené Brown says, “Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”  By prioritizing authenticity over approval, setting boundaries, and embracing vulnerability, you can break free from the cycle of people-pleasing and live a more fulfilling and authentic life. 

For stress relief from People Pleasing tap along with me in my YouTube video.