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Breaking Free from the People-Pleaser Trap

Breaking Free from the People-Pleaser Trap A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries
A Guide to Setting Healthy Boundaries

Are you the type of person who constantly puts others’ needs ahead of your own, often at the expense of your well-being? Do you find it challenging to say no, fearing that you might disappoint or upset those around you? If so, you might be a people-pleaser, someone who habitually prioritises others’ happiness over their own. 

While being considerate and helpful is commendable, being a chronic people-pleaser can lead to burnout, stress, and a compromised sense of self. In this blog, we’ll explore the traits of people-pleasers, the impact it can have on mental health, and strategies for establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries.

The People-Pleaser Dilemma

People-pleasers are individuals who go to great lengths to avoid conflict, seek approval, and make sacrifices to meet the expectations of others. While this trait often stems from a desire to be liked and accepted, it can lead to a pattern of self-neglect. Constantly putting others first can result in emotional exhaustion, anxiety, and a diminished sense of personal fulfillment.

Recognising People-Pleasing Behaviours

  • Difficulty Saying No: People-pleasers often find it challenging to decline requests or say no, fearing they will disappoint or upset others.
  • Overcommitting: Constantly saying yes to additional responsibilities, even when overwhelmed, is a common trait of people-pleasers.
  • Avoidance of Conflict: People-pleasers go to great lengths to avoid confrontation, often at the expense of their own needs and opinions.
  • Seeking External Validation: Relying heavily on external approval for self-worth is another hallmark of people-pleasing behaviour.


The Toll on Mental Health

The constant need to please others can have detrimental effects on mental health. People-pleasers may experience increased stress, anxiety, and a sense of emptiness. Over time, this can lead to burnout, resentment, and a diminished ability to recognise and fulfill their own needs.

Setting Boundaries: A Path to Liberation

  • Self-Reflection: Take time to understand your own needs, desires, and limitations. Reflect on whether your actions are motivated by a genuine desire to help or by the need for approval.
  • Learn to Say No: Practice saying no assertively and without guilt. Remember that setting boundaries is not a rejection of others but a prioritisation of self-care.
  • Prioritise Self-Care: Make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. This includes setting aside time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation.
  • Communicate Openly: Be transparent about your boundaries and communicate them with others. Healthy relationships are built on mutual understanding and respect for each other’s needs.
  • Seek Support: Connect with friends, family, or a therapist who can provide guidance and support as you navigate the journey of establishing and maintaining boundaries.


Breaking free from the people-pleaser trap is a journey towards reclaiming your autonomy and well-being. By understanding the patterns of people-pleasing behaviour, recognising its impact on mental health, and implementing strategies to set and maintain healthy boundaries, you can foster a more balanced and fulfilling life.

Remember, your needs are just as important as anyone else’s, and by taking care of yourself, you’ll be better equipped to contribute positively to your relationships and overall happiness.

View our in person and online courses here to help support you on your journey.

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