Pleasing is part of our culture, especially for women. We feel guilty if we aren’t being sweet, or nice, or keeping the peace. Who likes an assertive woman, right?

Here are just a few of the things I hear.

  • It’s selfish to say what I want
  • Other people should know what I want
  • People should not discuss their feelings
  • It’s wrong to change your mind
  • If I say “no” people will not like me
  • If I say what I think, I will lose friends
  • I mustn’t burden others with my worries


A people pleaser typically says “yes” to all requests made to them and then cries afterward. …it’s a product of their inability to say “no.” They want to fit in and be liked, even if that means mimicking or talking about others.  They avoid authenticity because they don’t like to be vulnerable. People pleasers apologize often and blame themselves when things go wrong and will overthink what they said and stress about what they should have said. They are dependent on external validation, as opposed to finding internal validation, which builds confidence. People pleasers take on too much responsibility for everyone else’s emotions, even though everyone is responsible for their own emotional regulations.

So why do people become pleasers? 

People want to feel good about themselves and are not in touch with what makes them a good person, so they look to others for validation. They believe that the more they can mold themselves into the individual others will like, the better they will feel. They do this because of low self-esteem and self-worth.  

What are the costs to people-pleasing?

Burnout:  When you’re busy giving and doing for everyone else, even though it’s not easy or convenient, and you don’t refuel, then you will eventually burn out. 

Relationship Stress:  People pleasers can neglect marital relationships or other close relationships in order to fulfill the stuff they said “yes” to. It can lead to passive-aggressive behavior and to frustration because they wonder why people don’t notice that they are falling apart. They can feel resentment, even while they are doing nice things for others, and feel annoyed because no one takes notice of how much they are doing or offers to help out.

Lack of Joy:  Being a people pleaser can give you a diminished sense of enjoyment from the things you’re doing and from the people you’re spending time with.  It manifests itself in not being able to be fully present with what’s right in front of you.  It takes the joy out of life. 

Stress:  This mindset leads to a high amount of chronic stress because you’re trying to keep everyone happy by doing so many things for so many people. It’s mentally, emotionally, and physically draining, and it takes a huge toll on your mood and behavior. 

So what can I do?

You must start small and in safe places.  Try to work on your priorities. A suggestion is that when someone asks something of you which might take a lot of time and commitment to carry out, say, “Can I think about it?”.  This provides a buffer of time to stop and think.  It’s important for the people pleaser to register that saying “yes” is not the reason why people like you.

The more honest and vulnerable we are, the deeper our relationships can be. Communicate with your partner that you want to say ‘yes’ from a place of authenticity and honesty so that your ‘yeses’ are actually YESES. 

For people who are dealing with self-esteem issues, journal. Create a list of your values (What makes me valuable) and continually add to that.  We’re very good at picking out our weaknesses, but we must know what our strengths are too.

Self-care is an anecdote to being a people pleaser. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself.

The bottom Line.

Find the balance.  Noticing things about ourselves and accepting the good and the bad (light and dark) is part of this journey.  Making others happy isn’t a bad thing, but when you determine your value based on that, there becomes a problem.  


If you’re struggling with making changes in your life, I can help.  Click here to book.

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