Things You Need to Stop Doing Immediately If You Are A Recovering People-Pleaser

(And what you should do instead).

Hi. Hello. Good afternoon. My name is Amber, and I am a recovering people-pleaser. How I got here is a long story that I will save for another day. Today, to keep it short and easily digestible, I’m just going to talk about what I’m doing now that I’ve become self-aware of the depths of my people pleasing. And if you’re on a journey of recovering from people-pleasing too, think you should take a listen.

Here are the things you need to stop doing immediately if you are a recovering people-pleaser, and what you should do instead:

Stop Saying “Yes” When You Mean “No”

Instead, practice saying “no” when you need to and prioritize your own needs. The people in your orbit have learned that you will put your needs, feelings, and priorities aside if they ask you to prioritize them instead. And sadly, you’ve taught that to them. It’s time to embrace the fact that “no” is not a mean word.

Stop Seeking Validation from Others

Many of us became people-pleasers because, at some time in our life, someone made us feel like our worth was hinged on their approval—how pleasing we could be. Focus now on releasing that lie and embrace the glorious truth that your value lies with you and no one else.

Stop Neglecting Your Own Needs

There is no prize for being the most self-sacrificing, the biggest busy-body, or the first to show up for someone else. Stop seeking those prizes, and don’t let those useless things be the source of your worth. Instead, prioritize self-care and make time for activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.

Stop Avoiding Conflict

Conflict scares you because it triggers your intense fear of rejection, abandonment, or being discarded if you say or do the wrong thing. But people have begun to learn that if they are just demanding or persistent enough, you will back down and let them walk all over you. Instead of doing that, learn to communicate assertively and address conflicts—even when it’s hard.

Stop Apologizing Excessively

There are people in your life who have learned that if they use guilt, shame, or other manipulation or control tactics, they can treat you badly and manage to get you to apologize to them for it. Instead of giving out unnecessary and un-deserved apologies, apologize when necessary, but also be willing to stand your ground when recognize you haven’t done anything wrong.

Stop Ignoring Your Gut Feelings

There is a voice in your head and in your heart that warns you about the situations you find yourself in, and the people in those situations with you. You’ve learned not to trust those voices because someone in your life was very good at teaching you that they are always wrong. Instead of suppressing those voices, trust your instincts and listen to your inner voice when making decisions about your time, energy, and well-being.


Amber Wardell is a doctor of psychology and author who speaks on women’s issues related to marriage, motherhood, and mental health. Subscribe to the free newsletter to get exclusive content delivered to your inbox and to never miss an upload.

Check out her blog called Compassionate Feminism on Psychology Today to join a feminist conversation centered in openness, empathy, and equity.

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