Before we start this, it is important to point out that being helpful or wanting to support others is definitely not a bad thing. Volunteering, charity work or even getting a stressed co-worker a drink at the end of the day are all things that can enrich your life and make you and others around you feel better. However, it is when you try to do this too much and your own life starts to suffer that you need to take a step back and assess what is right for you.
Why you shouldn’t do it
Often people think that if you do what people ask and go that bit further they will admire you more- sadly this is not always the case. Indeed, if people feel that you are not standing up for yourself you can appear weak.
This can also negatively impact on you- people can feel that if you only tell them what they want to hear they may end up trusting you less. In turn the reaction other people give you can hit your confidence, creating an emotional vicious cycle.
The cycle is not only necessarily restricted to work- for example let’s say that you really like cooking. At first you may enjoy cooking for your housemates. But over time they stop saying thank you when you do it for them and come to expect it. What was pleasurable slowly becomes less and less so.
This can seem very depressing- fortunately there is a way to break this cycle.
Learn to say no
It can seem daunting and first but the way to stop being a people pleaser is to learn to say no. What this means is not being rude but being firm- if you are busy then let people know, if something is bothering you don’t be afraid to tell people.
Initially this may be hard and some people may be turned off by this. But conversely some people may be surprised in a positive way, pleased that you are doing your bit to reclaim your life.
This does not mean you have to be hard-hearted or stop helping people. What it means is that you gauge a situation for yourself and be honest. Have a checklist in your head before you answer yes or no-
• Is this something I’m really prepared to do?
• Would refusing to do this really negatively impact on the workplace, friends, family etc?
• Do I have time to do this?
• Is this something that can wait until later on?
Remember– you have the right to think about what you want to do and whether or not it is appropriate. Sometimes it is okay to not try to please everyone but ultimately to do what you can to help yourself and then help others in a way that is good for them but still leaves you feeling positive at the end of the day as well.
In short just remember to say no when necessary and say yes when it is something you are genuinely prepared to say yes. In the long-term honesty, really is the best policy when it comes to organising your life and working with everyone around you!
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