How to Break Free from People Pleasing and Speak Your Mind

All people-pleasers lose themselves.

The #1 regret of the dying is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

You always fall short of your best self when others define you.

Looking at a lake. Dog and person.

You never become your best self when you let others define you.

How to Break Free from People-Pleasing:

#1. Own your addiction.

Begin by confessing you’re addicted to people-pleasing. Confess to yourself and to trusted allies. Just say the words, “I’m a people-pleaser.”

You never overcome a personal challenge that you blame on someone else.

#2. Practice saying no before you need to say it.

Saying NO sets you free.

Roleplay saying no with a trusted ally. (Yes, practice saying NO out loud.)

You go further by including trusted allies, supportive colleagues, and encouraging friends on the journey.

#3. Speak up with kindness.

  1. Determine YOUR OWN perspective before you speak. What do you really think? How do your words express your values?
  2. Listen. Deep listening precedes effective talking.
  3. Consider impact. Speaking your mind includes respect for the impact of your voice on others.
  4. Follow one rule. Only open your mouth to make something better.
  5. Chill out before you speak if you feel frustrated. Calm yourself, then speak.
  6. Speak with openness. “I could be wrong, but ….” “I wonder if ….” “At this time, I think….” Don’t invite unnecessary resistance.
  7. Don’t resist resistance. Thank people for offering alternatives, even if they seem contradictory. “Thanks, I’ll think about that.”
  8. Avoid defensiveness.
  9. Don’t apologize for your perspective.
  10. Receive appreciation gracefully.

#4. Improve incrementally.

Narrow the scope of focus to one thing at a time. Say NO once this week, for example.

#5. Contradict your inner critic.

Your inner critic needs approval from others while disapproving of yourself.

What are the dangers of people-pleasing?

How have you overcome inclinations toward people-pleasing?

Bonus material:

7 Ruthless Truths about Your Inner Critic (LF)

Why It Doesn’t Pay to Be a People-Pleaser (Berkeley)

21 Tips to Stop Being a People-Pleaser (PsychCentral)