Do you feel burned out trying to keep other people happy? Do you let others walk all over you because you’re afraid to stand up for yourself?
I’m sure there are people you respect because they don’t take nonsense from anyone. They’re not afraid to say no, and they do it with such poise and grace. So why do you feel such resistance when it comes to standing up for yourself?
Often we don’t say no to people because we’re afraid it might offend them or create tension in a relationship. We’re taught to be kind to others, but we ultimately need to find the balance between being kind and being firm. Otherwise, we give others permission to take advantage of us.
When I set boundaries and stick to them, I find that I have more time and energy to put towards the things and people I love. Standing up for yourself and your time can make a huge impact on your well-being and life satisfaction.
As this is a topic many of us struggle with, let’s discuss the art of boundary setting so we can spend less energy on people-pleasing.
The importance of setting boundaries
Many of us recognize that we are people-pleasers even though we don’t want to be. We say yes to parties we don’t want to go to, coffee runs that don’t fall under our job description, and weekend getaways with friends that we can’t afford.
Despite not wanting to be a people-pleaser, you continue to fill the role because you don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. You don’t want people thinking you’re rude or disrespectful.
The thing is that you’re actually disrespecting yourself if you continue to do things out of fear or a sense of obligation.
There’s a fine line between being a good person and trying to make people think you’re a good person. You are *most likely* a good person, regardless of whether you do everything someone asks you do to.
I know it’s hard to stick up for yourself when you don’t agree with someone or don’t want to do what they’re asking you.
But you have to set boundaries with your time and your energy. There’s no need to deplete your emotional, mental, and physical energy on something that doesn’t align with your values.
Setting boundaries might sound scary, but it gives you the freedom to spend time doing what you love. Boundaries do not make you stuffy or boring. They allow you to create life on your own terms, which is the most liberating and exciting thing you could ever do. Communicating your boundaries to others (and yourself!) is a sure-fire way to make sure people-pleasing doesn’t take over your life.
7 ways to set better boundaries
Here are seven ways you can set better boundaries and spend less energy people-pleasing:
1. Get crystal clear on your priorities
Getting clear on your priorities will help you figure out what you’re actually willing to spend your time and energy on. If you find yourself always putting other people’s priorities above your own, it’s time to change that. Here’s a quick exercise to help get clear on your priorities.
2. Communicate what you will and will not tolerate
If the people around you are always doing or saying things that frustrate you to your core, you have to put your foot down. People will never know that what they’re doing is unacceptable if you never tell them. Be that person who speaks up when people are behaving in a way that makes you feel inferior or unappreciated. If something doesn’t feel right to you, you should make every effort to avoid it.
Read This: Are You A High-Value Person? Here’s How To Tell.
3. Listen to your gut instinct
I will say this over and over until the cats come home, but your gut instinct is usually right. You know the difference between excitement and dread. Use that instinct to help you make decisions. Don’t feel like you need to say yes to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. If you can’t decide whether to say yes or no to someone, this post I wrote about When To Say No To An Invitation will make the decision easier for you.
4. Think about the impact of your actions
Something that’s helped me to say no is asking what type of impact an opportunity will have on myself and others. Will it improve our lives or is there something that could make a bigger impact? Think about the amount of time something will take compared to the amount of positive impact it will have. If it will take up more time than it’s worth, say no.
Read This: 5 Ways To Say No And Stop Over-Committing Yourself
5. Do things because they make you feel good
If you find it all too easy to try and make others happy, why not let yourself be happy for once? Make sure you spend time doing things that bring you joy and help you create a better work-life balance. We all know that self-care isn’t selfish – it’s necessary to live a healthy life. Schedule downtime and fun activities into your calendar. Treat them like important meetings with a client. Schedule everything around these things and don’t cancel them!
Read This: How To Let Yourself Relax & Unwind Properly
6. Offer an alternative
If someone asks you to do something and you don’t think you’re the right person for the job, offer an alternative. Recommend a friend, a co-worker, or some kind of tool that could help get the job done. If you hate being unhelpful, this option gives you the opportunity to be cooperative without having to take on the task yourself.
7. Be direct and firm with your answer
Don’t let people talk you into or out of things. You can still be kind yet firm at the same time. Your friends might be bummed that you won’t make it to the party, but they should be able to get over it and respect your decision.
How do you set boundaries?
Remember that you are in control of your choices and your life. Don’t let other people dictate this for you. Set healthy boundaries and give yourself permission to do less people-pleasing.
P.S. Tired of never getting a moment to yourself? Make yourself a priority for once and start a self-care routine in 7 days with my free self-care guide! ✨
Setting boundaries and learning to say no is a great way to get others to take you seriously.
Wonderful and thoughtful post! We, after all, cannot be much help to other people when we don’t take care of ourselves or listen to what our hearts are telling us. Thank you very much for sharing your tips :)
Maria | inaccordance.co.uk
Do things because they make you happy! And I would also add this… “And don’t feel guilty about it!” Too many times, when I’m taking care of myself, I’m fighting that annoying voice in my head that’s trying to convince me I *should* be doing something more productive.
Thank you for this post. I am in a season in life where I’m struggling with this a lot~ people pleasing. It is causing me a lot of stress. Even when I choose to say no to someone, I feel so bad after, always worrying about what people think. I’m always wanting everyone to like me . Its tiring.:(
This is great! I find it hard saying no and usually worry about others’ feelings. I appreciate this post. It’s not selfish to put yourself first, thank you for the reminder!
I enjoyed your post. I have a problem with saying no too. Often times I get upset when no appreciation is shown now I am learning to offer alternatives and wrestling with distancing myself when I can. Thank you
Glad you enjoyed this post, Al!
I love this post! I’m getting so much better at setting boundaries but find this totally relatable and the reminder never goes a miss! Have a lovely day xx
Glad you liked this post, Georgie!
I wanted to know , how can i deal with a person who has trust issues and is generally negative and also mainly motivated by money (wants to be rich) , he’s a friend of mine , but says all sorts things like people aren’t genuine to oh i thought you’re just faking being a good person and having friends is just a pain and not worth it , it’s really difficult for me to talk to a person like that , but also feel like i should try to help him out…
Hi Tony! I think every situation is unique, but unless you are his therapist or counselor, it’s not really your job to help him out. You don’t have to put that pressure on yourself. You can obviously try to push him in the right direction, but ultimately he isn’t your responsibility, and accepting that might help.
Thank you so much for everything you have said, this is exactly how I feel and what I go through.. Being a shy person all my life, I have felt this way, and ignored! And it’s not a good feeling.. It makes me feel Sad And worst of all Invisible….
Thank you for this post. I have a very hard time saying no but when I am able to say no, I feel bad and worry what others will think. Sylvia