1. Trying to please people all the time leaves you open to constantly being taken advantage of. Some telltale signs that you’re too entwined in the lives of others include you are either passive or aggressive, with little or no give and take in between; you never seem to be having any fun; or you are constantly controlling or being controlled.
2. Evaluate your boundaries. Think about what is acceptable, and unacceptable, behaviour. Ask yourself: Are your boundaries the same as other peoples’ boundaries? Do you tolerate the intolerable? Normalize the abnormal? Accept the unacceptable? Do you know what it feels like to be treated with dignity and respect? Learn how to identify and label unacceptable treatment, and how to set limits on any behaviour which violates your boundaries.
3. Consider the source. Many people pleasers were raised in environments wherein their needs and feelings were pushed aside, not considered, or even belittled. Being able to identify and understand the source allows us to better understand ourselves, and to better eliminate our tendency to be a people pleaser.
3. Stop basing your self-worth on how much you do for other people. It’s noble that you want to help others, but it’s something you should do because you want to, not because you feel you have to. The willingness to help others should come after you know how to help yourself. In fact, the greatest acts of kindness are those done by choice, not out of fear or guilt.
4. Never think that the world around you will collapse if you fail to please a person. There are always new friends to find, and if the “friend” you were trying to please leaves you because you did not please him or her, he or she is not your friend – so it’s good that he or she left.
5. Be persistent. If this is a lifelong habit, it will not be easy to overcome. Maintain enough self-awareness so that you realize when you are being a “pleaser,” and can put the brakes on it, when you see it happening.