Breaking the Habit of People-Pleasing: Find Your Authentic Self

As a counselor, I often see clients struggling with people-pleasing tendencies. People-pleasing can be a harmful trait that leads to a loss of self-identity and an unhealthy reliance on external validation. This is where we help you to discover your authentic self to live a happier, healthier life.

There are ways to break this habit and live a more authentic and fulfilling life. Because by developing a strong sense of self, setting boundaries, reframing rejection, and seeking support, people-pleasing can be overcome.

Breaking the habit of people-pleasing can have numerous benefits for your mental health and well-being, such as feeling more in control of your life, building authentic relationships, and experiencing greater self-worth and confidence. If you’re a people-pleaser, don’t be afraid to seek support and start living life on your own terms.

Why do People Begin People-Pleasing?

It’s important to understand that people-pleasing often comes from a positive place of wanting to connect with and care for others.

People who tend to people-please may have learned early on that being agreeable and accommodating other’s needs leads to positive feedback and validation from others. This may have translated into a belief that putting others’ needs ahead of their own is the key to building strong relationships and earning love and acceptance. While this belief may be well-intentioned, it can lead to an over-reliance on external validation and a loss of authenticity.

However, once people-pleasers recognize the roots of their behavior, they can begin to shift their focus to building relationships based on mutual respect and understanding, rather than a need for validation. This means that by prioritizing their own needs and desires, they can create a more balanced and fulfilling life, while still maintaining strong connections with others.

People-Pleasing to Authenticity

Breaking the habit of people-pleasing can have numerous benefits for your mental health and well-being. By prioritizing your own needs and desires, you will feel more in control of your life and more connected to your own sense of identity.

This means you’ll experience a greater sense of self-worth and confidence, as you learn to trust in your own decisions and abilities. And perhaps most importantly, you’ll build more authentic and fulfilling relationships, based on mutual respect and understanding rather than a need for external validation.

So while breaking the habit of people-pleasing may feel challenging at times, the rewards are well worth it. You’ll emerge stronger, more confident, and more in touch with your own sense of self. And that’s freeing for the soul.

People-Pleasing Happens to Most Women

Because women have an inner desire to feel loved and accepted then it’s natural that people-pleasing would fit into their job description.

It did mine. When I was growing up I learned how to fit in, both at home and at school and what made people happy. So I did that. I tried to fit in and in that way, I thought I’d be happy too.

The problem is that people are inconsistent. What makes them happy one day, doesn’t make them happy the next and so there’s an exhausting relay of pleasing, becoming disappointed and trying harder.

That then becomes a pattern as an adult to want to try and make people happy. Such as a partner, the kids and your friends. It’s really never-ending with the realization at the end that you are the person who isn’t happy at all.

People-pleasing can be a hard habit to break as there’s a dominant thought in the subconscious mind that this is the path to happiness, but it’s false.
Gayle Maree
(Click to Tweet quote)

People-Pleasing Habits can be Difficult to Break

People-pleasing can be a hard habit to break as there’s a dominant thought in the subconscious mind that this is the path to happiness, but it’s false.

Your own happiness and well-being should be a top priority in your life if you don’t give to yourself and fill your own cup then you have nothing left to give others.

Here are 3 flawed premises:

These aren’t true but people-pleasing isn’t based on truth.

  1. People won’t be happy if I don’t try harder and it will be my fault. They will think that I’m not worthy and that I don’t have anything to give. I’ll be exposed.
  2. My loved ones won’t feel loved if I’m not doing things for them as they don’t know how to be happy on their own.
  3. I won’t feel loved if the people around me aren’t happy. Besides, it makes me feel good to do all I can to make them happy.
Here’s what you need to know first:

Before you begin to change the habit this is what you need to know first:

  • People are responsible for their own happiness. It’s a fact. Nobody can make you happy but you
  • You are not indispensable. There will always be somebody who can take your place in a school canteen or a charity organization etc
  • Saying yes is the right thing to do if it feels good for you, not because you can make others happy or you feel obliged (this falls into unconditional giving- find out if this is you here)
5 Methods to Help Kick the People-Pleasing Habit

Here are three methods to help you kick the people-pleasing habit and start putting yourself up the priority list:

1. Set Boundaries:

One of the most important things you can do to stop people-pleasing is to set clear boundaries for yourself. This means deciding what you are and aren’t willing to do and communicating those boundaries to others. For example, if you don’t want to be available to talk at all hours of the day, let your friends and family know that you need some time to yourself. Or, if you don’t want to take on extra responsibilities at work, tell your boss that you’re happy to do your current tasks, but you don’t have the bandwidth to take on more.

2. Practice Saying “No”:

Saying “no” can be difficult, but it’s a crucial step in stopping the habit of people-pleasing. When you say “yes” to everything, you spread yourself too thin and end up feeling overwhelmed and resentful. It’s important to remember that it’s okay to say “no” to things that don’t align with your values or that you simply don’t have the time or energy for.

3. Focus on self-care:

This means doing things that YOU enjoy. Taking care of yourself is essential to breaking the habit of people-pleasing. This means making time for things that make your heart sing such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones. It also means taking care of your physical and mental health by getting enough sleep, eating well, and managing stress. When you prioritize self-care, you’ll have more energy and confidence to set boundaries, say “no,” and make decisions that are right for you.

4. Reframe Rejection:

It’s helpful to reframe your thinking around rejection. Instead of seeing it as a personal failure, try to view it as a natural part of life and an opportunity for growth. Remember that not everyone will like or agree with you, and that’s okay. Focus on building relationships with people who appreciate and respect you for who you are.

5. Ask for Support:

Don’t be afraid to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist. Breaking the habit of people-pleasing can be a challenging journey, but with the right tools and resources, it’s absolutely achievable. And the rewards of living a more authentic, fulfilling life are well worth the effort.

However, it’s important to remember that pleasing others is not the same as being kind and considerate. Setting boundaries, practicing saying “no,” and focusing on self-care will help you stop people-pleasing and start taking care of yourself. Remember that it’s okay to put yourself first and make decisions that align with your values and goals, it’s the true path to happiness. So, take the first step today and empower yourself with the ability to live a life you truly love.

Remember, you are worthy of love and respect simply for being yourself. So take a deep breath, step out of your comfort zone, and start living life on your own terms. You’ve got this!

Gayle Maree soul guidance

Get your FREE Dreams, Goals & Desires Playbook here. Dare to follow your dreams to live a full, loving and happy life.


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