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How Can I Overcome People-Pleasing?

Written by: Mariann Sebestyen, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


It is possible for some people to be unaware that they are acting a certain way or wearing a mask in order to avoid conflict or uncomfortable situations. Therefore, people pleasers tend to avoid conflict by any means necessary, even if that means becoming someone completely different. As a result, they often have to give up who they are. It is how others see them that determines their worth. For people pleasers, validation from others is essential. To earn praise from others or to be liked, they can go to extremes.

Worried businessman outside the building office.

The cause of people pleasing:

Low self-esteem plays a role in people-pleasing. People who believe they are worth less than others may perceive their needs as unimportant. They may advocate for themselves less or have less awareness of what they want. They may also feel that they have no purpose if they cannot help others. People-pleasing can occur as a result of trauma (PTSD) or a series of traumatic experiences (C-PTSD). It is also known as the fawning trauma response. Fawning occurs when someone tries to avoid conflict by making others feel comfortable at the expense of their own needs. As a coping mechanism, the fawn response develops people-pleasing behaviours in order to avoid conflict, be pacified by the abuser, and create a sense of safety.

The most common signs that you can identify are:

Agree with everyone

You listen to everyone's opinion and agree with it, but you do not express your opinion because you want to be liked.

Feel responsible for how other people feel

You want to make someone happy and believe that their happiness depends on you. Each person is responsible for his or her own happiness and emotions.

Apologise often

There are a number of reasons you may be making frequent apologies, whether it is excessive self-blame or fearing others are always blaming you. You don't have to apologise for who you are.

Filled with things to do

It's up to you how you spend your time. People-pleasers often fill their schedules with activities that they think others want them to do.

Unable to say no

You won't reach your goals if you are afraid to speak up for yourself, whether you commit and follow through or pretend to be ill to get out of your commitments.

Being uncomfortable if someone is angry at you

If someone is mad, it doesn't mean you did anything wrong. However, if you can't handle the thought of someone being dissatisfied with you, you are more likely to compromise your values.

Sabotage your goal

People pleasers often sabotage their own success. If they believe it will make others feel more comfortable, people-pleasers engage in self-destructive behaviour.

Depend on validation

The right kind words and praise can boost anyone's self-esteem, but people-pleasers rely on validation to make them feel good. A person whose self-worth depends entirely on what others think about them will only be satisfied when they receive compliments.

Avoid conflict

Conflict avoidance at all costs and not wanting to risk starting one means that you won't be able to stand up for the things and people that matter most.

Avoid admitting being hurt

If you have hurt feelings, you have to be willing to speak up about them sometimes in order to form authentic relationships. You cannot build a meaningful relationship if you don't express your feelings, whether you are embarrassed, sad, hurt, disappointed, or emotionally wounded. Do you recognise any of the signs in your life or your behaviour?

Here are 11 tips on how to stop being a people pleaser:

  1. Build a healthy self-esteem and image of yourself

  2. Change your mindset

  3. Work on feelings such as shame, guilt, or anger when standing up for yourself

  4. Set healthy boundaries and say no

  5. Heal the inner child's wounds and trauma

  6. Learn healthy behaviours

  7. Become visible and heard by learning how to speak up for yourself

  8. Respect yourself enough to move away from unhealthy and toxic situations

  9. Listen to your feelings and inner-self

  10. Learn to be assertive without being aggressive.

  11. Work on your inner self and address any of the signs, fears, or insecurities

It is okay to love and respect yourself. There will be people who do not agree with you or love or like you. However, the most important thing is to have a healthy relationship with yourself and accept yourself for who you are. The only thing that matters is what you think of yourself. What others think is just background noise. Speak your truth, be bold, and stand up for what you believe.

I am happy to help if you want to overcome people-pleasing and you can reach out to me or send an email.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


Mariann Sebestyen, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Mariann Sebestyen is an expert in inner child wound healing, breaking free from unhealthy patterns and restoring a healthier self-concept. Adversity in early life left her with developmental challenges, childhood wounds, unmet needs, and the feeling of powerlessness and helplessness. Mariann generated strategies to extraordinarily change her relationship with herself, step into her power and create a positive self-image to become. She has since dedicated her life to helping others unleash their power, letting their true selves shine, and confidently move towards a new life. She is the founder of Inner Child Wound Healing and the Childhood Trauma Healing Journey program. Her mission: Self Restoration.



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