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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Barsky

You Don’t Need to “Fix” Everything: How to Overcome People-Pleasing Tendencies


In our fast-paced and demanding world, it’s not uncommon for many of us to feel the pressure to constantly please others. Whether it’s at work, in our relationships, or even within ourselves, the tendency to prioritize others’ needs above our own can take a toll on our mental health.


However, it’s essential to recognize that we don’t need to “fix” everything and be everything to everyone. Let’s explore how to overcome people-pleasing tendencies and prioritize our own well-being.

Understanding People-Pleasing

People-pleasing often stems from a deep-rooted fear of rejection or a desire for validation and acceptance, a coping mechanism that often develops in childhood. This behavior can manifest in different ways, such as constantly saying “yes” to avoid conflict, sacrificing our own needs and boundaries, going above and beyond for people who do not reciprocate, or constantly seeking external approval.


While it may seem like an act of kindness, people-pleasing can actually lead to increased stress, burnout, and a diminished sense of self.

Recognizing the Costs

Before we delve into strategies for overcoming people-pleasing tendencies, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the costs of this behavior. When we prioritize others at the expense of ourselves, we may experience feelings of resentment, exhaustion, or even a loss of identity. Our self-esteem may be tied to external validation, leaving us susceptible to disappointment and feeling unfulfilled. Over time, this can negatively impact our mental health and overall well-being.


Cultivating Self-Awareness

The first step in overcoming people-pleasing tendencies is to develop self-awareness. Take the time to reflect on your own patterns of behavior. Are you constantly seeking approval? Do you find it difficult to say “no” to others? Do you feel panicked when you suspect that someone is unhappy with you or your work? Recognizing these tendencies can help you understand the underlying reasons behind your people-pleasing behaviors.


Setting Boundaries and Prioritizing Self-Care

One of the most important tools is learning to set and communicate boundaries. Start by identifying your own needs and values. It’s essential to prioritize self-care and make sure your own well-being is not overlooked. Practice saying “no” when necessary, even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Remember, saying “no” is not selfish; it’s an act of self-preservation and an affirmation of your own worth.


Building Empathy and Assertiveness

Developing empathy for others and understanding that you are not responsible for their happiness is crucial in overcoming people-pleasing. Recognize that everyone has their own journey and needs to take responsibility for their own emotions and choices. Building assertiveness skills can help you communicate your needs and boundaries effectively, while still maintaining healthy relationships.


Seek Support and Celebrate Progress

Overcoming people-pleasing tendencies can be challenging, so don’t be afraid to reach out for support. Consider seeking therapy or joining support groups where you can connect with others who have similar experiences. Remember, you are not alone in this journey, and it’s important to surround yourself with people who understand and support your growth.


By acknowledging that we don’t need to “fix” everything and learning to overcome people-pleasing tendencies, we can prioritize our own well-being and cultivate healthier relationships with others. If you resonate with this topic and would like to explore it further, consider seeking the support of a mental health professional who can guide you on your journey towards reclaiming your own power and embracing self-compassion! Reach out to me today.


Remember, you deserve to live a life that aligns with your authentic self. Let go of the need to constantly please others and start prioritizing your own needs. Embrace your worth, cultivate self-compassion, and know that by taking care of yourself, you can foster healthier connections and lead a more fulfilling life.


For more information on anxiety therapy, check out the link!

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