Have you ever walked out of a situation feeling drained and resentful, wondering why you agreed to something in the first place? Perhaps you found yourself saying “yes” to yet another weekend obligation, dreading the idea but unable to muster a polite decline. Or maybe you volunteered for a project at work, despite your already overflowing workload, simply because you couldn’t bear the thought of disappointing a colleague. If these scenarios sound familiar, you might be entangled in the cycle of people-pleasing.

People-pleasing is a common behavioural pattern where your primary focus becomes fulfilling the needs and expectations of others, often at the expense of your own well-being. While it might seem like the path of least resistance, constantly prioritizing others can lead to a cascade of negative consequences, including:

  • Resentment: The constant suppression of your own needs can breed deep-seated resentment towards those you’re trying to please.
  • Burnout: The stress of constantly saying “yes” can lead to emotional and physical exhaustion.
  • Low Self-Esteem: When your self-worth is contingent on external validation, negative feedback can be devastating.
  • Loss of Authenticity: Constantly tailoring your behaviour to please others can leave you feeling disconnected from your true self.

The good news is, you can break free from this cycle and cultivate healthier relationships based on mutual respect and genuine connection. Here’s a roadmap to guide you on this journey:

Identifying the People-Pleaser Within:

The first step towards change is self-awareness. Here are some telltale signs that you might be a people-pleaser:

  • Difficulty Saying No: Do you find yourself readily agreeing to requests, even when you’re overloaded or uncomfortable?
  • Fear of Disappointment: Do you go to great lengths to avoid upsetting others, even if it means sacrificing your own plans or desires?
  • Constant Need for Approval: Do you crave validation from others and define your self-worth by their opinions?
  • Neglecting Your Needs: Do you prioritize the needs of others over your own, leading to chronic exhaustion and frustration?

Breaking the Cycle: Strategies for Self-Empowerment:

Once you recognize the signs, it’s time to take action. Here are some strategies to cultivate healthy relationships and reclaim your power:

  • Set Boundaries: Boundaries are essential for healthy interactions. Learn to say “no” politely but firmly, communicating your limits and expectations to others.
  • Practice Self-Care: Prioritize activities that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. A healthy you is better equipped to have healthy relationships. This could involve scheduling regular exercise sessions, pursuing hobbies you enjoy, or simply getting enough sleep.
  • Embrace Authentic Communication: Express your needs and desires honestly, even if it means risking some disapproval. Open and honest communication builds trust and understanding in any relationship.
  • Focus on Healthy Self-Esteem: Cultivate a sense of self-worth independent of what others think. Your happiness shouldn’t hinge on external validation. There are many resources available to help you build healthy self-esteem, such as therapy, journaling, or self-help books.

Building Healthy Relationships: A Two-Way Street

Healthy relationships are all about give and take. Here’s how to create a more balanced dynamic:

  • Mutual Respect: Respecting yourself and others is the cornerstone of healthy interactions. This means treating yourself with kindness and compassion, and expecting the same from those around you.
  • Open Communication: Honest and open communication fosters trust and understanding in any relationship. Be clear about your needs and desires, and actively listen to the needs of others.
  • Shared Values: Connecting on core values creates a stronger foundation for the relationship. When you share similar values with someone, it creates a sense of compatibility and understanding.



  • Healthy Boundaries: Everyone needs personal space. Respecting boundaries in your relationships strengthens them. This includes respecting your own boundaries and communicating them clearly to others.

Break Free and Find Yourself:

By breaking the cycle of people-pleasing, you unlock a happier, more fulfilling life. You become a stronger, more authentic version of yourself, attracting relationships that truly nurture you. Remember, prioritizing your own well-being isn’t selfish, it’s essential for creating healthy connections with others.

Looking for Professional Support?

Overcoming people-pleasing tendencies can be challenging, but you don’t have to go it alone. Here at Real Life Counselling, our therapist, Anna Nguyen, specializes in helping clients overcome people-pleasing behaviours and build healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

Anna Nguyen understands the complex dynamics that underlie people-pleasing and can provide you with the tools and strategies you need to break free. Here’s what you can expect when working with Anna Nguyen:

  • Building Self-Esteem: Therapy can help you explore the root causes of your need for external validation and develop a stronger sense of self-worth. This will allow you to value your own needs and opinions, leading to more fulfilling relationships.
  • Personalized Approach: Anna Nguyen will tailor the therapy approach to your unique needs and goals. Whether you struggle with setting boundaries, expressing your needs, or having low self-esteem, the therapy will be designed to address your specific challenges.

Taking the First Step:

We understand that seeking professional help can feel daunting. However, therapy can be a transformative experience, empowering you to create a life filled with healthy relationships and authentic connections. Schedule a Consultation to get started. Contact Real Life Counselling to schedule a consultation with Anna Nguyen. During this initial session, you can discuss your concerns, learn more about therapy, and see if she is a good fit for you.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people struggle with people-pleasing, and there is help available. With the right support and a commitment to change, you can break free from this cycle and create a life filled with healthy, fulfilling relationships.