How To Stop Being A People Pleaser And Put Yourself First

how to stop being a people pleaser

Are you always trying to please so many people that you abandon yourself?

Do you feel selfish or guilty when you do good things for yourself? I get it!

I used to be a people pleaser, but I’ve learned to ignore other people’s expectations of me and live for myself.

As someone who loves to please people, you tend to listen to everyone’s opinions and do whatever you can to make them happy.

This is great if you do it moderately and still have something substantial to give to yourself.

However, when you keep putting other people first and neglecting your own needs, you’ll feel overwhelmed, unappreciated, and unloved.

It’s good to make another person’s life better, but when you’re everyone’s savior, it can get physically and emotionally draining.

In this article, I share some valuable tips on how I learned to stop being a people pleaser to enable you to live life on your own terms and become the best version of yourself.


If you struggle with people-pleasing tendencies and often feel exhausted from carrying everyone’s burdens, here’s how to stop being a people pleaser and take control of your life.

1. Realize that everyone is responsible for their own happiness

Life is an individual race and we are all responsible for our own lives.

It’s not your job to regulate people’s emotions, make them happy, or improve their lives.

Helping people is something you do when you want to or when someone really needs it, not because you think you have to make them feel better.

The first step to stop being a people pleaser is to realize that everyone is responsible for their own thoughts, feelings, and actions.

This may sound hostile or insensitive because you’re not used to turning a blind eye when people need your help.

But the truth is you cannot pour from an empty cup; you need to take care of yourself first before attending to everyone else.

Learn to allow people to do things for themselves and figure out their own lives.

You can’t run to everybody’s aid all the time and neglect yourself; they need to find a way to get their needs met without looking to you for help.

Allowing people to be responsible for themselves will encourage them to be independent instead of codependent.

how to stop being a people pleaser

2. Affirm that you deserve to put yourself first

Most times when people go out of their way to help others it’s because deep down they don’t believe that they deserve to be happy.

Maybe you were told by your parents that you have to take care of others before yourself or you were neglected at an early age and had to look after your siblings.

So you look after everyone else like the responsible person that you are and forgot that you’re a human being who has needs too.

Over time, you realize your life isn’t really moving forward and every other person seems happy except you.

And since you’ve made the people in your life depend on you, it’s difficult to stop the cycle and you feel stuck.

There’s so much guilt, fear, and anxiety around letting other people take care of themselves while you get your life in order.

I get it because I used to be in that place before but I realize now that I cannot pour from an empty cup and everyone is responsible for themselves.

You owe it to yourself to live your best life and fulfill your dreams. And you can’t do that when you’re trying to be everything for everybody.

Another way to stop being a people pleaser is to constantly affirm that you deserve the best things in life, not just breadcrumbs or leftovers.

Before you go to bed every day and when you wake up in the morning, tell yourself, “I deserve to be happy.”

Say this affirmation daily until your subconscious mind accepts it and you believe it deep in your heart.

3. Start prioritizing your needs

Do you know that the cells in your body rely on you to take care of them and when you neglect your needs, you’re betraying them?

There are about 37 trillion cells that depend on you to ensure they have all the necessary nutrients they need to survive.

So when you stress yourself, refuse to eat healthily, and abandon your self-care routine, you’re letting them down.

It’s important to prioritize your needs and put yourself first most of the time.

You can stop people pleasing by forcing yourself to do the things that benefit you regularly.

For example, make sure you always have groceries at home so you can eat well and put some money in your savings account in case of emergency.

Avoid using up all your resources to help other people and restrain yourself from assisting someone if it would be detrimental to your health.

4. Establish some firm boundaries in your life

Without healthy boundaries, you’ll always fail in prioritizing your needs and will end up betraying yourself over and over again.

The best way to stop being a people pleaser is to have some boundaries in your life.

For instance, if you like to stay home on Sundays and enjoy some alone time, don’t allow anyone to interfere with your peace.

Any time people call you to help them deal with their problems and you’re busy with your own issues, don’t abandon yourself to ease their discomfort.

Let them know your hands are full and you can’t assist them until you’re free.

Don’t put anyone on a pedestal and leave yourself on the back burner.

You’ll feel resentful for letting people control you and disorganize your life.

how to stop being a people pleaser

5. Learn to say “No” more often

The most common problem people pleasers have is the inability to say no when someone asks for their help.

Before they even understand what they are being asked to do they’ve already said yes and afterward they feel uncomfortable with their decision.

Do you often feel compelled to agree to everything someone asks of you?

Do you get angry at yourself for not being able to decline people’s requests?

It’s not easy to have boundaries in your life when you love helping people, but it’s necessary.

Practice saying “No” more often so you don’t have to put yourself in a tight corner.

A good way to politely decline someone’s request if you don’t want to do it is to tell them you’ll think about it and get back to them later.

This way you can avoid the awkwardness that comes with saying “No” and actually take some time to make a decision.

6. Stop trying to fix everyone’s problems

If you’re a people pleaser, chances are you like to rescue people in trouble and fix their problems to keep them happy.

You feel it’s your purpose to help people solve their problems, and you experience a great sense of accomplishment when you help someone in need.

However, the people you usually help often take you for granted and abandon you during hard times.

The secret to reclaiming your personal power and protecting your energy is to stop trying to be Santa Claus or Mr. Fix It.

Honestly, you can’t rescue everyone who comes to you for help, and you’ll definitely burn out when you keep going out of your way to make others happy.

So quit trying to save everybody and their entire family. Guide them to resources that can help and let them figure out their own lives.

7. Find your purpose in life and commit to it

Another way to stop pleasing everyone around you is to devote your time to pursuing your passion and achieving your life goals.

Instead of spending your time helping people who can survive on their own, find a way to help people who really need what you have to offer.

For example, if you’re passionate about running errands or babysitting, turn these ideas into a business and offer your services to the people who will appreciate your talents.

When you learn to stop living for others and focus on fulfilling your destiny, you’ll live a more authentic life that’s aligned with your soul mission.

This powerful quote by Farshad Asl really sums it up, “The key to having fewer disappointments in life is to stop pleasing people. Your true calling is to please God.”

how to stop being a people pleaser

8. Take control of your mind

The more you try to please people, the more they control you, and you’ll end up hurting yourself.

According to Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, if you care too much about what other people think, you will always be their prisoner.

Before I became this version of myself, I was always physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted because I spent a lot of time obsessing about what other people thought, said, and felt about me.

I used to be worried sick that I had displeased someone and will start looking for ways to make amends even when it was out of my control.

It was absolute torture, and there were days when I couldn’t eat or sleep if I knew another person was upset because of something I did or didn’t do.

I had to reprogram my mind to not care about other people’s opinions, including my family members.

It’s the best decision I ever made because my life has completely turned around and I’m in a better place now.

If you want to stop being a people pleaser, you need to take control of your mind and filter your thoughts because energy flows where attention goes.

Whenever you feel fear, anxiety, or panic attacks coming after saying no to someone, try to ground yourself with positive affirmations and calming meditation music.

This will help you reduce the negative self-talk and empower you to uphold the new boundaries you’ve put in place to protect your energy.

9. Learn to be okay with being alone

People love to use others to meet their needs and accomplish their goals.

So when you first set boundaries in your life, many people will be pissed off, especially those who benefited from your selflessness.

You may find it difficult to stand your ground because you’re afraid of being alone or feeling rejected, and this new life you’re trying to carve out for yourself still seems strange.

When this happens, take a deep breath and declare that you’re not going to give up on yourself ever again.

The only way you can overcome people pleasing is to stand your ground even when everyone is turning their back on you.

Resist the urge to please your loved ones and do what they want to keep the peace or make them like you.

You’ve been doing that for many years and it’s your turn to be truly happy with yourself.

Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz advises, “Don’t be afraid of losing people, but be afraid of losing yourself trying to make everyone happy.”

If you want to live life on your own terms, learn to be okay with being alone, and you’ll find a greater strength within you that you never thought existed.

how to stop being a people pleaser

10. Be accountable to yourself

It’s tempting to seek love, validation, and acceptance from others because you think they’re supposed to be there for you.

Unfortunately, everyone is looking after their best interests and it is your job to stay accountable to yourself.

You don’t owe anyone anything, and it’s okay for you to put your needs first.

Have you realized that you often run to people’s aid and make their lives better, but when you need help no one seems to be there for you?

That’s because everyone is preoccupied with their own problems so you need to focus on your life too.

Don’t leave your life to fate; take control of your life and be accountable for yourself.

If you don’t put yourself first, no one else will do it for you. It’s your sole responsibility to take care of your mind, body, and soul. Don’t take that job lightly!


As a people pleaser, it can be hard to prioritize your needs or focus on building your own life.

When you’re a helper by nature, people tend to take advantage of your empathy and generosity.

So you keep giving and others keep taking from you without even considering your needs.

Eventually, you realize what’s happening but can’t stop it because you feel like a bad person for wanting to take care of yourself.

It’s normal to feel guilty when you decide to live life on your terms and many people are not going to be happy that you’re putting your needs first.

However, if you want to become the best version of yourself and live a truly fulfilling life, it’s important to make yourself a priority.

No one is going to look after you if you don’t because you’re an adult who’s supposed to be responsible for yourself.

So set some boundaries in your life, ignore other people’s opinions about you, and devote your time to pursuing your passion.

Whenever you feel tempted to sacrifice your needs or go out of your way for someone, remember that it’s not your job to help, fix, and take care of other people.

You are solely responsible for yourself and should always stay focused on living a genuinely meaningful life.

Acting like a superhero who can solve every person’s problem will surely lead to burnout, depression, and an unsatisfactory life.

Stop trying to rescue, heal, or save everybody because, at the end of the day, you’re just a human being trying to survive in the world.

Ultimately, everyone is in charge of their own lives and has the power to change anything that’s not working.

So focus on creating a life you love and allow others to figure out their path.

If you’re able to do this, your life will be so much more enjoyable and you’ll experience real happiness.


Recommended Reading:

11 Actionable Tips For A Happy And Stress-free Life

12 Practical Ways To Improve Your Life

How To Stop Loving Someone Who Doesn’t Love You

About The Author

Jennifer Dagi
 | Blog

Jennifer Dagi is happily married to her best friend and the love of her life.

As a relationship coach, she is passionate about helping couples build healthy and happy relationships.

She strongly believes communication and intimacy are the most important ingredients for building a successful relationship.

Join her on a fabulous journey to improve your love life one step at a time and don't forget to subscribe for weekly blog updates.

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