Answer the following questions:
Do you avoid arguments?
Do you say “yes” to every request, even thought you really don’t want to participate in that activity?
How often to you insist on going to a movie you want to see?
Do you ever look in the mirror and ask, “Why can’t I just say no?”
It seems like a good idea, to try to keep the peace, to please those around us, doesn’t it? And most of the time, it’s a good way to get along with one another. But when you find that you’re often giving in to things that either don’t interest you, or worse, you don’t like at all, then you’re really sacrificing yourself for others.
Paulo Coehlo said, “When you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure you aren’t saying ‘no’ to yourself.”
And Eleanor Roosevelt is known to have said, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
Trying to please others all the time ends up in a mess. Not only are you being inauthentic and “fake” to those around you, you’re also sacrificing yourself. By putting on a mask and pretending that you’re thrilled to go sky-diving despite your very debilitating fear of heights, you’re setting the entire expedition up for failure. That’s a pretty extreme example, but sometimes thinking in extremes helps us to understand how debilitating the behavior can be in small doses, taken frequently over long periods of time.
Eventually you will begin to feel that others are taking advantage of you and your good nature. And why not? You ALWAYS say yes to everything. You’re Agreeable Annie, they can count on you to do anything! And people will. Until you speak up for yourself and begin to show your true nature.
This is even more important than simply for yourself because eventually people will begin to feel your resentment and be confused by it. They may even sense that you aren’t being honest with them. Your intentions, ultimately, backfire on you.
How can you change? Realize that some people will never be pleased, no matter how hard you try. Know that if people truly want to be around you, they want the authentic you. If you don’t want to do something, say no. Learn various ways to say “no” because it’s not about hurting feelings, it’s about giving you the option to choose what you really want in a situation.
One of the best ways to handle your desire to please others is to take some time to figure out what you want in life. If saying “yes” moves you toward your goal, then say yes. But if it doesn’t, then say no. Most times you can change your mind later, if you really want to. But it will be your choice and not that you’re merely trying to please someone else.