For as long as I can remember, I have been a people pleaser. I have prided myself on helping others, on saying yes and never saying no. I go out of my way for people even when it’s inconvenient for me.
For most of my life, this felt like a good thing to me. To be selfless and helpful to everyone. I was making everything around be better, so surely it was the right thing to do.
But then there were the other times.
The times where I felt I acted outside of myself to please someone else and be liked. The times I have done things out of my character, said yes to people who didn’t deserve yes, and went above and beyond to keep the peace.
I never thought about the reason behind this behavior until this year, when a friend asked me for a favor. It was something I had done before for this friend, but it would inconvenience me greatly on this specific day.
I typed out an answer to decline and erased it at least four or five times before I asked myself, why was I so afraid to say no?
Why did I always feel so afraid to say no?
Why did saying no to something I actually could not commit to cause me so much anxiety? Why was I always trying so hard to please everyone around me?
The answer came when I started examining my past, particularly by reviewing the first people in my life, I ever felt the need to please—my parents.
Many of my memories of my parents’ marriage are joyful. They are memories of times we’d go on family vacations, soak up the lovely Irish weather, and go on great adventures.
Then there are the other times.
The times when there would be arguments, there were slammed doors and silent treatments. There were times when it felt like I was walking around on eggshells.
It was in this environment I learned to do whatever it took to keep the peace.
It was in this environment I became what I needed to be— to dissolve stressful situations. It was in this environment I became a people pleaser.
All my life, I never considered the effect growing up in that environment had on me, but suddenly everything became clear. This is where the need to please came from. This is where the part of me that has been so afraid to make any waves came from.
So afraid to upset anyone, so fearful to stand up for myself, so eager to keep the peace.
When I realized this, I finally started to make peace with myself. I made peace with the part of me that wanted everything to be ok and work out as I had planned. I made peace with the part of me that helped everyone to avoid anyone being disappointed.
I made peace and started to let go.
I surrendered control.
It became clear that not everyone will be pleased with me at all times, and that is ok. I can be a source of chaos. I can be the stress of a situation, and that is ok too. Saying ‘no’ won’t make the people in my life judge me, hate me, or leave me.
And if they do, that relationship wasn’t strong enough, to begin with.
When I reflected on my life, I realized that I spent a lot of my time trying to be perfect, trying to fit in, trying to be appreciated and liked by everyone around me.
It became clear just how unhealthy people-pleasing can be. It is disempowering, inauthentic, and extremely time- and energy-consuming.
Here are five simple practices that helped me stop being a people-pleaser.
Allowing Myself To Be Me
I stopped explaining myself for who I am.
If you feel like you’re wearing a mask when among people, I want you to know it is okay to be you. Your perfect imperfections make you special and unique.
Be your own kind of beauty. Stay true to your feelings, opinions, and thoughts. Live your own life, with no apologies and no regrets.
Detaching from other peoples opinion of me
Seeking validation from others turns us into their prisoners.
In reality, we can’t control what other people feel or think, but we are in charge of our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. What other people think of me does not define me. What they see in me is their opinion.
Some might perceive me as smart, funny, and talented. Others might think I’m not. To some, I might be good looking. To others, I might not. It’s all about their standards of beauty or intelligence, and it has nothing to do with me.
I do the best I know and the best I can every day. I love and approve of myself as I am, and other people’s opinion or validation of me is neither required nor needed.
If this rings a bell with you, please know you cannot please everyone, no matter how much you might try. Other people’s opinions of you are nothing but their perception, filtered through their own lenses, expectations, or system of beliefs.
Know you are worthy and beautiful, not because others think so, but because YOU decide to believe it.
Set yourself free from any judgment.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt
Set healthy boundaries
Saying no doesn’t mean you dislike or reject the other person.
People disappoint themselves with the expectations they set for me and what they expect me to do. It’s always their story. If they love me, they will understand that it’s not a convenient time or request.
I stopped letting anyone take advantage of me.. It is not my responsibility to entertain other people and make them happy. Whenever I offer people time, I give them a piece of my life.
When you set boundaries you quickly realise the people who are truly your friends. Relationships that you need to pretend, or that come with conditions, are toxic.
Spend your precious time with the people who bring out the best in you, who support you, and accept you just the way you are.
To begin with I found it difficult to say no, because I didn’t know how, I feared that I would sound aggressive or impolite. But I learnt to say no without offending anyone.
Here are some simple formulas that always work well for me:
Thank you for thinking of me, I’m sorry I can’t at this time.
I’m not able to make it this Sunday/this week/month/year.
Perhaps another time, I’m busy at the moment.
I have commitments, but please let me know how it turns out.
No thank you, but it sounds lovely.
It doesn’t work for me right now.
I’ve got too much on my plate, maybe another time?
Become my own best friend.
Now I pay attention to my self-talk. I aim to eliminate disempowering words or thoughts like: “They might think less of me,” “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a failure,”
I treat myself with dignity and respect. I talk to myself kindly. I don’t call myself names and I acknowledge myself for my achievements, for my willingness to learn and grow.
I take compliments gracefully instead of putting myself down, as if I’m unworthy of such a celebration. I enjoy when people compliment me but I am not dependent on them to feel good about myself.
“It’s not your job to like me; it’s mine.” ~ Byron Katie
Key Lesson from Jesus
When you read about Jesus in the Gospels, yes he helped the poor and healed the sick, BUT, He also spent a lot of his time praying on His own. That’s were all His power came from— Solitude with God.
Yes, it’s good to help people, but like Jesus, we also need to take time for ourselves to relax and unwind. When we help others, it takes a lot of energy, and if you are always helping, one day it will become too much. At some point, you will run out of energy and not be able to help.
Don’t wait until you’re burned out to discover— “the people that say they are dependant on you, will manage if you’re not available.”
Thanks for reading.
Enjoy your week.
If my post helped you in any way, please comment or share. Thanks.
When you try to control too much, life becomes much harder to enjoy. Sometimes you just need to let go and let God take control. Relax, take a deep breath and be grateful for what you have.
Last week I met up with an old friend, someone whom I care about deeply. Someone I worry about constantly, as they take no care of their health. Over the years I have watched them turn from someone that could run a half marathon to someone that is out of breath walking up a few flights of stairs.
All I want is for them to eat healthier and take some exercise to give them a better quality of life but sadly that’s not reality.
When I reflected on the situation I realise that there is nothing I can do. Because I’m not in control of anyone but myself. I want to help my friend, but they’re not interested in being helped.
So I made a decision, to let go. to surrender.
Not “let go” as in “let them go.” I “let go” as in I stopped trying to control them, I’ve stopped trying to change them. What is the point of me getting stressed and worried if they are not willing to change.
And this, I’ve learned, is the best way to be in all walks of life…
When you let go of control, you stop trying to change people, and just dissolve into their presence, just noticing who they really are, just appreciating them, faults and all.
When you let go of control you will notice just how much time you spend trying to control. Not just people, but the events in your life.
Don’t get me wrong, you will still get stressed and worry, but you will notice that you snap out of it sooner. So instead of being stressed, for example, for the rest of the day, or week. Your only stressed for a short time.
You’ll start to notice just how much pressure you put on yourself by trying to have everything work out exactly as you would like.
When you let go of control and let God take control here’s what you gain…
1. You fall in love with people for who they really are
It’s OK to disagree with the thoughts or opinions expressed by those you love, but you must accept their opinion. Learn to appreciate different perspectives, lifestyles, and opinions, even if it means overcoming your pride and opening your mind beyond what’s comfortable.
Love is about letting those we care about be 100% themselves, and not distorting them to fit our own ideas of who we think they should be.
2. You grow beyond everyone’s judgements
How often have you been judged? How often has the direction of your life been shaped by such judgements? Think about it.
How many opportunities have you been denied — or, for that matter, been granted — because someone failed to understand you completely? And how often have you let other peoples judgements make you upset or stress you out because you thought you could control the way everyone sees you?
The truth is, people will see what they want to see whether you worry about it or not.
It’s time to let go of trying to control how everyone perceives you.
It’s time to let God take control, and just do the best you can.
3. You get to enjoy the peace that’s already within you
Realize that, somewhere within you, there exists a spirit that is eternally at peace. Because inner peace does not depend on external conditions — it’s what remains when you surrender the need to control.
The need for something to be different is nothing more than worry and worries like this only lead us in circles.
Peace of mind arrives the moment you come to peace with what’s on your mind, and this happens when you let go of the need for things to be different than they are. What’s happened has happened, and no amount of complaining or worry is going to change that fact.
4. You learn more about how life really works.
When you attempt to control the uncontrollable you create resistance. You resist how everything works rather than learning about it. So here’s a simple challenge for you: Instead of trying to make things work exactly the way you want them to work, just watch them work today.
You’ll learn much more about human nature and the inner workings of the world.
As you see things working without you controlling them, the way you see what you see will gradually change. Because YOU will gradually change. You will begin to understand that things are a little different than you wanted them to be. And that’s perfectly OK.
5. You experience more of life’s pleasant surprises.
Would you really want to be in control of everything, and know your future every step of the way?
If you’re thinking, “yes,” think again. Not knowing is one of life’s greatest gifts.
Life is so full of changeable beauty and magnificent surprises. And sometimes the unexpected arrival of this beauty is almost too much to handle.
Do you know that feeling? When you get a breakthrough or some good news that gives you the lift you need to restore your faith…
Do you really want to miss out on them moments for the rest of your life?
6. You free your mind from needless worries.
The world around you is going to spin one way or the other. So why not allow God to bless you in surprising and joyful ways?
Think about it…
What if, instead of pushing so hard to make life happen every second, you decided to let go a little and allow life to happen to you sometimes?
What if, instead of trying to be in constant control, you simply surrendered control to something bigger than yourself?
What if, instead of working so hard to figure out every last answer, you allowed yourself to be guided to the solution in perfect timing?
And what if, there was no solution needed at all?
7. You get more of what you want, by doing less.
When you let go and let God take control instead of trying to tightly control everything, you will be happier and have more peace.
You will notice that things will take care of themselves. You will have less stress, less worry, and more time and energy to work on the things that matter — the things you actually can control — like your attitude about everything.
Let God Take Control
The mind is the place where the greatest conflict resides.
It’s where… half of the things you thought were going to happen, never did.
It’s where… your expectations always get the best of you.
It’s where… you fall victim to your cravings to control the uncontrollable.
And if you allow those thoughts and cravings to dwell in your mind, they will succeed in robbing you of peace, joy, and ultimately your life. You will think yourself into a nervous breakdown, into depression, and into defeat.
Truthfully, there’s so much about life that you can’t control, it makes no sense to waste your energy on these things and then neglect everything you can control.
You can decide how you spend your time, whom you socialize with, whom you share your life, money and energy with. You can choose to love and appreciate the people in your life for exactly who they are.
You can choose how you’re going to respond to surprises and disappointments when they arise, and whether you will see them as curses or opportunities for emotional growth…
And most importantly, you can choose to let go of control and adjust your attitude in an instant, which dictates pretty much everything else.
Thanks for reading.
Do you often find your thinking of the past? Do past memories holding you back, and preventing you from moving forward? If so, below are some quotes about letting go of the past that will help.
Read them, then re-read them. Absorb their lessons. Write them down and stick them where you will see them often. Create a little book of quotes and read some upon waking up and before going to bed; do anything that reminds you daily of the importance of letting go of the past.
Be simple, don’t carry the baggage of the past, open your hands, and let it go.
– Debasish Mridha
Holding on is believing that there’s only a past; letting go is knowing that there’s a future.
– Daphne Rose Kingma
Letting go of the past helps us to live in a more peaceful state of mind and helps restore our balance. It allows others to be responsible for themselves and for us to take our hands off situations that do not belong to us. This frees us from unnecessary stress.
– Melody Beattie
It’s hard to be clear about who you are when you are carrying around a bunch of baggage from the past. I’ve learned to let go and move more quickly into the next place.
– Angelina Jolie
You can’t possibly embrace that new relationship, that new companion, that new career, that new friendship, or that new life you want, while you’re still holding on to the baggage of the last one. Let go… and allow yourself to embrace what is waiting for you right at your feet.
– Steve Maraboli
I eventually came to understand that in harboring the anger, the bitterness and resentment towards those that had hurt me, I was giving the reins of control over to them. Forgiving was not about accepting their words and deeds. Forgiving was about letting go and moving on with my life. In doing so, I had finally set myself free.
– Isabel Lopez
Letting go is the willingness to change your beliefs in order to bring more peace and joy into your life instead of holding onto beliefs that bring pain and suffering.
– Hal Tipper
Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.
– Paulo Coelho
I demolish my bridges behind me…then there is no choice but to move forward.
– Fridtjof Nansen
When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
– Lao Tzu
Letting go may sound so simple, but rarely is it a one-time thing. Just keep letting go, until one day it’s gone for good.
– Eleanor Brownn
Before you can live, a part of you has to die. You have to let go of what could have been, how you should have acted and what you wish you would have said differently. You have to accept that you can’t change past experiences, opinions of others at that moment in time, or outcomes from their choices or yours. When you finally recognize that truth, then you will understand the true meaning of forgiveness of yourself and others. From this point you will finally be free.
– Shannon L. Alder
Every time we these quotes it creates a gap of awareness. A gap that allows the healing power of God to enter our lives and heal us from the pain of the past. Let go of the past and experience a brighter future.
Enjoy your week.
Like or share to get the message out.
I realize that sometimes it is very difficult to let go of the past. I remember the things people have done that hurt me or offended me in someway, and when I see that behavior happening again it is hard not to revert back to the other times it happened.
But I know that if we already resolved those past offenses, it is only right that I truly let them go.
Please help me to move on and to not hold those offenses against others anymore. Clear my mind of them and heal my wounds in Jesus name AMEN!
“Truly, I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
In order to receive what God promises in the bible, you need to do three things. First, make up your mind. Take control of his promise and don’t let go. Be tenacious! God responds to faith that perseveres and a mind that is made up: ‘With God all things are possible’ (Matthew 19:26 KJV).
Former baseball star Sam Ewing said, ‘Nothing is as embarrassing as watching someone do something that you said couldn’t be done.’
Second, visualise your victory. Before construction starts, the architect already has a picture of the end result in his or her mind. By faith Abraham ‘saw’ his children; he counted them every time he looked up at the stars (see Genesis 15:5).
Use your memory to replay past victories, and your imagination to pre-play future ones. That’s what David did when he slew Goliath. Look your giant squarely in the face and declare, you’re coming down in the name of the Lord.
Third, speak to your situation. Jesus said: ‘Whoever says to this mountain. “Be removed and…cast into the sea,” and does not doubt…but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.’
Notice, Jesus used the word believes once, but what referred to what you say three times. Could that be because we already know so much about believing, but need to learn more about how to speak in and to our situation?
Don’t just talk about your mountains, talk to it! Line up what you say with God’s word. Make His Word your word, and the mountain will become your servant. It has to – Jesus said so!
We can get impatient when it comes to Gods will for our lives. We want everything to work out on our timetable. The truth is, a great deal of time usually elapses between when God calls us and when we’ve fulfilled His will for our lives.
And until we accept that, we’re not ready to go anywhere.
We need to understand that the journey is an important part of the process. It matters to God what you become on the way to where you are going. And following Him in obedience through many unknown, trails, and difficulties is an integral and indispensable part of the preparation.
God uses the journey to teach you faith, refine your character, and equip you for greater challenges that lie ahead. In fact, if you’re in the process of seeking Gods will right now, you’re already fulfilling part of it in your life.
God said, ‘I will instruct you and teach you in the ways you should go.’
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because you don’t know all you’d like to, you’re not making progress.
Something is happening right now. Your faith is being stretched; your patience is being developed. Your doubts are being confronted and conquered, and your relationship with God is growing deeper. He always prepares us in advance for what He has planned for us.
Yes, the struggle is uncomfortable — but its a necessary part of the process.
Thank God for the way that He uses everything to transform you and deepen your relationship with Him.