Pleasers are some of the nicest, most loyal, committed, and loving people you will ever meet. Their biggest strength tends to be their loving heart. However, this strength also tends to be their biggest weakness. The loving and kind nature of a pleaser often leads to a struggle with saying “no”, becoming a doormat for others, having difficulty expressing anger, dealing with rejection and conflict, general anxiety, and trouble focusing on personal needs.
Often, the biggest issue for a pleaser is difficulty saying “no” to others. Pleasers typically struggle to say “no” because they fear rejection or the potential for the conflict/guilt trip that could result. Pleasers often focus on keeping the peace and keeping others happy, usually at the cost of themselves. Saying “no” is fearsome to the pleaser as they typically believe it will lead to a ‘bad response’ from the other person.
So, why is not being able to say “no” a big deal? Not being able to say “no” to another person often causes our “yes” responses to become obligatory which in turn causes the “yes” response to lose its authenticity. In other words, being able to say “no” occasionally makes our “yes” really mean something. What can happen when I say “no”? Most pleasers tend to view saying “no” as saying “no” to the individual making the request. The truth is that when we say “no” to a person we are not saying “no” to the individual but are instead saying “no” to the request.
What about that feeling of guilt that can come from saying “no”? Well, the truth is we don’t feel real guilt when we say “no”, we feel what’s called false guilt. Guilt is that feeling we get when we do something we believe is morally wrong. For example, telling a lie, can lead to feeling guilty because one believes lying is morally wrong. So, unless you believe the act of saying “no” is immoral, then you are dealing with false guilt or feeling responsible for a particular event when in reality you have no power or control over the outcome.
In reality we cannot say “yes” to everything, nor can we make everyone happy. For example, there will come a time when you will say “no” to a friend to say “yes” to your partner. Or a time you will have to say “no” to someone in order to say “yes” to yourself. In these situations, it is possible that someone may be unhappy with you. Learning to allow others to be unhappy at times, comes with life, we can’t make everyone happy. If you were told “no” by someone would you take it personally or kindly accept it? Most pleasers or generally nice people will understand and lovingly accept and not take a “no” response personally. When you come across someone who does not accept your “no” responses and only seems happy when you respond with “yes”, recognize the red flag and work to set boundaries. You deserve to have people in your life that accept both your “yes” and “no” responses.
So, are you ready to take the first step towards healing from being a pleaser? If so, a good first step is to just practice saying “no” to others in your day-to-day life. This doesn’t mean go looking for things to say “no” to but recognize opportunities where you truly do not want to say “yes” and say “no”! The more you practice saying no, the more your “yes” responses feel better and more authentic. You will begin to feel empowered, less anxious and on the road to taking your life back. You will also start to weed out the people that should or should not be in your life!
Need help or guidance and believe you are ready to take the next step toward healing from being a pleaser? Call for an appointment today!