I have read that women are conditioned (more so than men) to please others from a very early age. It is ingrained in us: if you want to be liked… you should be a pleaser.

People-pleasers want everyone around them to be happy and will go out of their way, discarding their personal feelings, to keep it that way. They put everything before themselves. Why?

Outside validation, meaning that they worry how others will view them if they say “No,” people-pleasers do not want to be seen as egocentric or selfish, and they fear being disliked.

Pleasing Others but Risking Yourself

What people-pleasers should realize is that they face serious risks. They over-commit their time which creates emotional anxiety. Naturally, this brings the feeling that they have not been true to their character and then become angry with themselves, creating internal stress.

Risking yourself is not worth it, trust me. I know because I used to go out of my way to please everyone, until I realized it didn’t work.

When I entered my sixth decade, I realized I have earned the right to revel in what I will call, for lack of a better term, self-pleasing. It is mentally uplifting to be able to say “No.”

So, let’s talk about how to stop yourself from saying “Yes” when you really, really want to say “No!”

My Rule for Saying “No” to Pleasing Others Above Myself

My number one rule is: Be considerate and take into account the other person’s feelings… never forgetting to honor your own feelings. Set your priorities.

How did I do this?

I created my own GPS… my inner guidance system! My rule being, “I will not allow myself to budge from honoring my feelings.”

Why? Because I know that this will benefit not only me but also my family and my friends. I am not selfish. I am honest with myself. Being honest with myself has proven to command respect from my peers and my family. It is a delightful and uplifting feeling.

How to Start Pleasing You!

You probably wonder, “How does she actually do it?” Well, I’m not stingy of advice, so here are my three ways of respecting myself and others without trying to please anybody:

Pay Attention to Your Inner Feelings and Break the ‘Pleaser’ Habit

Take a deep breath before you speak up! This gives you time to stop the old habit of pleasing. Now you can emotionally step up to the plate with your upfront and honest answer.

Here is a sample situation: A friend says, “Let’s go to Morton’s Steakhouse for dinner.” Your instinctual pleasing reply is, “OK.”

You actually wanted to say, “I would rather go to an Italian restaurant.” Unfortunately, your habit of pleasing took precedence. Next time, I want you to step up to the plate and discuss an alternative that would please both of you. Breathe, so that you can think twice before speaking once.

Use Manners but Be Direct

People look up to those who have the ability to disagree respectfully. You will be pleasantly surprised by their reactions.

Don’t Let the Outcome Stand in Your Way

You may have to disappoint your family, friends, or others. You may lose points for the time being, but you will walk away with your GPS intact!

Remember, we cannot please everyone. There is no path to being liked by all. It just does not exist. When you respect your feelings and act on them, however, you will feel emotionally uplifted because you will like you!

It’s time to master the art of using your GPS – your Inner Guidance System – and teach your children and grandchildren how to develop and strengthen their GPS. A woman with self-respect is a force to be reckoned with!

How do you navigate tricky situations when you feel obligated to say “yes,” but you want to say “no?” Have you mastered the art of putting your needs first? Have you found relief, rather than guilt, in pleasing yourself first? Please share your stories below so we can all learn to be more in tune with our GPS.

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