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break free of people pleasing: you deserve as much as you give

May 1, 2023

People pleasing is one of the most common behaviors many fall into. It’s a natural inclination to want to make sure that everyone around us is happy and comfortable, even if it means at the expense of our own needs.

On the surface, people-pleasing can seem like a comfortable way of life. It can make it easier to navigate difficult conversations and often means that we are liked and accepted by those around us – which sometimes can be very valuable in a world that is sometimes so critical of us. However, when this desire becomes too much, it can become a major limitation in our self-esteem, personal relationships, and professional life.

why we need to stop people pleasing & how it negatively impacts our self-esteem

At Manhattan Wellness we have seen how being a people pleaser can lead to negative consequences in many areas of life. These include:


People-pleasers often find themselves constantly saying yes to things they don’t want to do or putting on a facade to accommodate others. As a result, they often feel dissatisfied and sometimes guilty or resentful as they sacrifice their happiness for the sake of others.


Constantly putting others’ needs before their own can lead to a damaged sense of self-worth. People-pleasers may begin to believe that they are only valuable if they are always available to others and that their wants and needs are not important.


People pleasers often become obsessed with the needs of the other person to the extreme that they rely on them for feedback about their worth. This habit may cause harm to both partners as one person may feel unappreciated and undervalued, and the other may take advantage of the person’s willingness to please another. 

so, how can you tell when you are people pleasing?

Start with a self-evaluation and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do I always put others’ needs before my own?
  2. Do I feel uncomfortable when someone is not happy with me?
  3. Have you changed your focus in life because of someone?
  4. Do I find it difficult to say ‘no’ to requests from others, even when I’m available or able to help?
  5. Do I often hesitate to express my own opinion?

If you answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you may be a people pleaser. But don’t worry; there are a few things you can do in order to stop people pleasing and become a much happier human being.

tips and suggestions to help you stop people pleasing:


If you’re a people pleaser, you know the first no is always the hardest. You always find yourself saying “maybe” or “I don’t know” to an invitation even when you’re not interested. Here are some tips from a Manhattan therapist to help you say no in an effective yet polite way:

  • Be clear and direct: Don’t beat around the bush when saying no. Be clear and direct with your response.
  • Don’t offer excuses: Offering excuses can make you feel worse and lead to guilt on the other person’s end.
  • Offer alternative solutions: If you’re uncomfortable with saying no, offer an alternative solution that might work better for both of you.
  • Don’t feel obligated to explain: You don’t have to explain why you’re saying no. Remember that you have the right to say no without feeling guilty.


Although you may feel like you have no choice but to say yes, you actually have a choice. The first step toward change is ensuring you are aware of the situation.


A mantra is a powerful tool for overcoming people pleasing. It serves as a reminder to stay true to yourself and put your needs first. Some examples of mantras that can help you stop focusing on pleasing other people and shift that focus to yourself include:

  • I am allowed to say no.
  • I can’t take care of others if I don’t take care of myself first.
  • When I care for myself, I can spread love worldwide.
  • I choose to prioritize my own happiness.

Repeat this mantra to yourself when you find yourself in a situation where you feel pressured to please others. You may struggle to shift your mindset at first, but if you make these mantras a habit, you’ll be able to stop people pleasing.


Self-care is an essential tool for overcoming people pleasing. When you take care of yourself, you can better set boundaries and make decisions that align with your needs and wants. Here are some things you can do:

the bottom line to break free and stop people pleasing

People pleasing isn’t necessarily bad, but when it becomes too much, it can make it difficult to pursue your happiness. It is important that you find ways to set your boundaries, say no with conviction and take back your time. Remember, you deserve as much as you give, and it’s important to put your own needs and wants first.

need help learning how to stop people pleasing? try therapy for self-esteem in manhattan, new york

Take the first step towards reclaiming your self-esteem and breaking free from the cycle of people pleasing. The first step is to recognize the negative consequences and try to implement the tips suggested above. Then if you realize that you need help learning how to stop people pleasing try therapy for self-esteem.

Remember, your happiness matters and you deserve as much as you give.

  1. Reach out to Manhattan Wellness for a free consultation
  2. Start therapy for self-esteem with a dedicated and caring therapist
  3. Discover the freedom that comes with valuing yourself.

other therapy services offered at manhattan wellness in new york, brooklyn, & westchester

Embarking on the journey to discover your sense of “enough” can be complex, especially when your inner critic creates additional challenges. At our therapy center, we provide a range of services tailored to meet your unique needs and guide you toward your desired outcomes. Our offerings include Therapy for Women, Anxiety Treatment, Relationship Counseling, and support for college students. As well as body image therapy, support for eating disorders, depression treatment, therapy for stress, and more!

If you’re feeling dissatisfied with your current life and yearning for change, let’s have a conversation. Our therapists understand the importance of addressing these concerns and are here to provide the support, care, and guidance you require.


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