Are You a People-Pleaser? Here's How to Regain Your Authenticity


Welcome to a journey of self-discovery and authenticity. Are you often finding yourself saying "yes" when you really want to say "no"? Do you constantly seek approval and validation from others, even at the expense of your own happiness? If so, you might be a people-pleaser.

In this article, we will explore the concept of people-pleasing and its impact on your life. You'll discover signs that might indicate you are a people-pleaser, and gain insight into the impact of this behavior on your relationships and your sense of self. We will also provide techniques to help you set boundaries, rediscover your true self, and build healthy relationships. By the end, you will have the tools to break free from the cycle of people-pleasing and reclaim your authenticity.

Join us on this transformative journey as we delve deep into the world of people-pleasing and empower you to live a life true to yourself. Let's embark on this liberating quest to regain your authenticity and live a more fulfilling life. You are not alone, and there is hope for change.

Introduction to People-Pleasing

Do you often find yourself going out of your way to make others happy, even if it means sacrificing your own needs and desires? You may be a people-pleaser. People-pleasing is a common behavior where you prioritize the comfort and approval of others over your own well-being. While it may feel like a positive trait, it can actually lead to feelings of resentment, exhaustion, and a loss of your authentic self.

In her book, "The Disease to Please: Curing the People-Pleasing Syndrome," Harriet B. Braiker, Ph.D., explains, "When you live your life as a people-pleaser, you lose your integrity, and you lose yourself." This loss of integrity and self-identity can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional health.

At its core, people-pleasing often stems from a fear of rejection or conflict. You may worry that saying no or asserting your own needs will result in negative reactions from others. As a result, you may find yourself saying yes to things you don't want to do or pretending to agree with others, even when you have a different opinion.

It's important to recognize that while it's natural to want to be liked and accepted, constantly seeking validation from others can be detrimental to your well-being. Learning to prioritize your own needs and desires is an essential part of regaining your authenticity and living a more fulfilling life. Throughout this article, we will explore the signs of people-pleasing, its impact on your life, and strategies for reclaiming your true self. Let's begin this journey of self-discovery together.

Signs You Might Be a People-Pleaser

Do you find yourself constantly saying "yes" to things you don't want to do? Are you always putting other people's needs before your own? These could be signs that you are a people-pleaser. Here are a few indicators to help you recognize if you might fall into this category.

  • Difficulty Saying No: You find it hard to decline requests or favors, even if it inconveniences you. You might fear disappointing others if you refuse.

  • Seeking Approval: You often seek validation and approval from others, and your self-worth is tied to their opinions.

  • Avoiding Conflict: You go to great lengths to avoid confrontation, even if it means sacrificing your own needs and desires.

  • Overcommitting Yourself: You say "yes" to too many things, often at the expense of your own well-being and time.

  • Ignoring Your Needs: You prioritize the needs of others over your own, often neglecting your own self-care and happiness.

If these signs resonate with you, it's important to recognize that you may be a people-pleaser. It's a common behavior, but it can have a significant impact on your mental and emotional well-being. As you continue to explore this topic, it's important to approach it with compassion for yourself and a commitment to making positive changes for your own benefit and overall health.

woman closing eyes
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Understanding the Impact of People-Pleasing

If you find yourself constantly trying to please others, it's essential to understand the impact it can have on your life. People-pleasing can lead to a loss of identity and self-worth, as your actions and decisions are often driven by the desire to make others happy, rather than yourself.

Dr. Brené Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, explains, "When you live your life for other people, you are not living as your true self. It can lead to feelings of resentment and dissatisfaction, as you are neglecting your own needs and desires."

By constantly putting others' needs before your own, you may find yourself feeling drained and emotionally depleted. These behaviors can also lead to a lack of assertiveness and difficulty in expressing your true thoughts and feelings.

Moreover, Dr. Susan Newman, a social psychologist and author, points out that over time, people-pleasing can negatively impact your mental and emotional well-being. "Constantly seeking approval from others can lead to anxiety, stress, and even depression," she warns.

Furthermore, the habit of people-pleasing can affect your relationships. Constantly saying "yes" to others can lead to feelings of being taken advantage of, and may even result in resentment towards the very people you're trying to please.

It's important to recognize that people-pleasing is not sustainable in the long run, and the impact it has on you can be detrimental. It's crucial to break free from this pattern and regain your authenticity.

Setting Boundaries and Saying No

It's essential to learn how to set boundaries and say no in order to break free from people-pleasing habits. Remember, it's okay to prioritize your own needs and well-being.

One way to start setting boundaries is by recognizing and acknowledging your own feelings and limits. As author and speaker Brené Brown said, "Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others."

When it comes to saying no, it's important to remember that you have the right to decline requests or invitations that don't align with your values or priorities. This doesn't mean you have to say no to everything, but rather to be selective and mindful of your commitments.

It might be challenging at first, but practicing saying no can ultimately lead to healthier, more genuine relationships. Psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud shares, "A person's 'no' is a necessary boundary that will give them the safety and security to create a 'yes' from the heart."

By setting boundaries and saying no when necessary, you are showing respect for yourself and your own needs. This is a crucial step in reclaiming your authenticity and regaining control over your own life.

shallow focus photography of just say no carved on tree trunk
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Rediscovering Your True Self

Now, it's time to reconnect with your authentic self. This can be an exciting journey of self-discovery and personal growth. Here are some steps to help you rediscover your true self:

  1. Reflect on Your Values: Take some time to think about what truly matters to you. What do you value in life? What brings you joy and fulfillment? Rediscovering your true self involves aligning your actions with your values.

  2. Explore Your Passions: Take up a hobby or activity that you used to love or have always wanted to try. Rediscovering your true self means nurturing your passions and interests.

  3. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind and gentle with yourself as you embark on this journey. Self-compassion is key to rediscovering your true self. As author and researcher Brené Brown puts it, "Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it".

  4. Spend Time Alone: Carve out some time for solitude. It's in moments of quiet reflection that you can truly connect with yourself and rediscover who you are.

  5. Seek Support: Reach out to friends, family, or a therapist for support. Rediscovering your true self can be challenging, but having a supportive network can make the journey easier.

Remember, this is a journey, not a destination. Be patient and compassionate with yourself as you rediscover your true self.

Building Healthy Relationships

Building healthy relationships is an essential part of regaining your authenticity and breaking free from people-pleasing tendencies. It's important to surround yourself with people who accept you for who you are, rather than who they want you to be.

One key aspect of building healthy relationships is communication. Active listening is crucial to understanding the needs and desires of both yourself and others. As author Brené Brown puts it, "You have to start by believing people are doing the best they can."

It's also important to be able to set boundaries within your relationships. This means expressing your needs and desires in a clear and respectful manner. Author and therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab emphasizes, "Boundaries are a form of self-care. They're healthy, normal, and necessary."

In addition, cultivating empathy in your relationships is essential for building trust and understanding. Take the time to put yourself in the shoes of others and strive to understand their feelings and perspectives. As spiritual teacher Thich Nhat Hanh says, "Understanding means throwing away your knowledge."

Lastly, remember that healthy relationships involve mutual respect and support. It's essential to surround yourself with people who encourage your personal growth and who are willing to uplift and support you as you navigate your journey of self-discovery and authenticity.

Building healthy relationships takes time and effort, but it's a crucial step in regaining your authenticity and breaking free from people-pleasing habits.

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Maintaining Your Authenticity

Maintaining your authenticity is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness and commitment. It involves staying true to your values, beliefs, and needs, even when it may be challenging. Here are a few tips to help you stay authentic:

  1. Embrace Imperfection: Remember that it's okay to be imperfect. Accepting your flaws and limitations can be liberating and empowering. As Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, said, "Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."

  2. Stay Connected to Yourself: Take time for self-reflection and introspection. Understand your values, passions, and goals. It's important to regularly check in with yourself and ensure that your actions align with your true self. As Maya Angelou, an American poet and civil rights activist, once said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

  3. Surround Yourself with Supportive People: Cultivate relationships with individuals who accept you for who you are and support your authenticity. Having a supportive network can help you stay grounded and true to yourself, especially during challenging times. As Oprah Winfrey, a media executive and philanthropist, wisely stated, "Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher."

  4. Practice Self-Compassion: Treat yourself with kindness and understanding. Be gentle with yourself when you make mistakes or face setbacks. Remember that self-compassion is an essential component of maintaining your authenticity. Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, emphasized, "Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others."

By maintaining your authenticity, you can live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. It's a journey of self-discovery and self-expression that ultimately allows you to show up as your true self in all areas of your life. As Steve Maraboli, an acclaimed speaker and author, aptly put it, "Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are. Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."


You've taken an important step in recognizing your people-pleasing tendencies and the impact it has had on your life. Now, it's time to take action and start reclaiming your authenticity. Remember, it's a journey, and it's okay to take it one step at a time.

As you work on setting boundaries, saying no, and rediscovering your true self, be patient with yourself. It's not about completely changing who you are, but rather embracing your authentic self. As author Lysa TerKeurst once said, "Remember, when you say yes to others, make sure you are not saying no to yourself."

Building healthy relationships and maintaining your newfound authenticity may require some adjustments, but it's worth it. Dr. Brené Brown reminds us, "Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen."

By staying true to yourself and putting your needs first, you'll not only improve your own well-being but also enhance the quality of your relationships. You deserve to live a life that aligns with your values and brings you joy.

As you continue on this journey, keep in mind that it's okay to seek support from trusted friends, family, or even a professional. You're not alone, and there are people who care about your well-being.

So, embrace your authentic self, set healthy boundaries, and nurture genuine connections. You're on the path to reclaiming your authenticity, and it's a beautiful place to be. Remember, as the author Shannon L. Alder said, "Never apologize for being you. Let your confidence shine and never doubt your worth."

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Photo by Razvan Chisu on Unsplash

1Brené Brown, Dare to Lead (2018)
2Dr. Henry Cloud, Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No (1992)
3Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010)
4Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (2012)
5Nedra Glover Tawwab, Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself (2020)
6Thich Nhat Hanh, Understanding Our Mind (2006)
7Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection (2010)
8Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969)
9Oprah Winfrey, What I Know for Sure (2014)
10Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself (2015)
11Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience (2013)