Heidi Byers, M.S., NCC on Dec 26, 2022 in Relationship and Family

People-pleasing can be a difficult habit to break. It can be helpful to remember that pleasing others does not necessarily mean sacrificing your own needs and wants. It is important to create a balance between fulfilling the needs of others and also taking care of yourself. It can be beneficial to take some time to reflect on what is important to you and how can you start incorporating that into your life. Additionally, try to focus on the positive aspects of yourself and aim to build your self-confidence. Finally, practice saying "no" when you need to, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed.

Where People-Pleasing Comes From

People-pleasing often has its roots in a person's childhood. It can be a result of a need for approval from parents and other authority figures or a fear of disapproval. It can also be a learned behavior from observing adults in the home and/or from cultural influences. It can also be a way to cope with rejection, low self-esteem, or a sense of powerlessness.

How Can I Tell If I Am a People-Pleaser?

People-pleasers often feel the need to put other people’s wants and needs ahead of their own. If you find yourself going out of your way to make sure others are happy or doing things out of a sense of obligation, you may be a people-pleaser. If you also have difficulty saying "no" or setting boundaries, this is another sign that you may be a people-pleaser. Additionally, you may be giving more than is healthy if you often feel resentful or drained after doing something for someone else. Finally, pay attention to how you feel in social situations and when interacting with others. People-pleasers may feel anxious when they cannot please the people around them or feel like they are being judged. If any of these signs sound familiar, you may be a people-pleaser.

I have created a quiz on my website to help determine if you are a people-pleaser. Step one: Go to Step two: Scroll to the bottom where it says "resources," and you will find the quiz.

How Therapy Can Help People-Pleasing

Therapy can be a great way to learn how to stop people-pleasing and take back control of your life. It can help you to identify the underlying causes of your people-pleasing behavior and develop healthier habits. Therapy can also provide you with the tools to set boundaries and communicate more effectively with others. It can help you become more aware of your feelings, understand how they are influencing your behavior, and learn how to make decisions that are in alignment with your own values. Additionally, therapy can provide you with the support and guidance you need to make lasting changes in your life.

My work with clients focuses a lot on being a recovering people-pleaser. If you have more questions or want to learn more, please reach out via my website at

Heidi Byers is a Psychotherapist in Paoli, PA.

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