Stop People-pleasing: 5 Tips For Practicing Healthy Assertiveness

Do you find yourself saying yes to things you don’t want to do or agreeing with someone just to avoid conflict? If so, you may be a people-pleaser. While it’s important to be considerate of others’ feelings, constantly putting their needs before your own can lead to burnout and resentment.

Fortunately, there are ways to break the cycle of people-pleasing and practice healthy assertiveness. Here are five tips to get started:

1. Know Your Boundaries

Before you can assert yourself in any situation, it’s important to know your boundaries. Take some time to reflect on what is important to you and where you draw the line. This could include anything from how much work you’re willing to take on at once to what types of conversations make you uncomfortable.

2. Practice Saying No

Saying no can be difficult for people-pleasers who are used to saying yes all the time. However, learning how to say no is an essential part of practicing healthy assertiveness. Start small by saying no in low-stakes situations like declining an invitation or turning down a request for help.

3. Use “I” Statements

When asserting yourself, it’s important not to place blame or make accusations. Instead, use “I” statements that focus on your own feelings and needs rather than the other person’s actions. For example, instead of saying “You never listen,” try saying “I feel frustrated when I don’t feel heard.”

4. Be Firm but Respectful

Asserting yourself doesn’t mean being aggressive or rude. It’s possible (and necessary) to be firm while still being respectful of the other person’s feelings and perspective. Use a calm tone of voice and try not to escalate the situation.

5. Celebrate Your Successes

Breaking the habit of people-pleasing takes time and effort, so it’s important to celebrate your successes along the way. Recognize when you’ve successfully asserted yourself in a situation and give yourself credit for taking steps toward healthier relationships.

Remember that practicing healthy assertiveness isn’t about becoming selfish or uncaring towards others; it’s about finding a balance between your own needs and those around you. By setting clear boundaries, learning how to say no, using “I” statements, being firm but respectful, and celebrating your successes, you can break free from people-pleasing habits and build stronger relationships based on mutual respect and understanding.

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