How To Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Setting Healthy Boundaries

It’s nice to be popular and to make people feel good but it can come at the expense of your own happiness (and sometimes, your sanity!). People-pleasing can be a truly lovely quality to have and usually goes hand-in-hand with being warm and empathetic. 

But people-pleasing can also be unhelpful and harmful. You may sometimes feel you have been taken advantage of, and you may start to feel resentful and overwhelmed by the demands of others.⁠ 

By the time you get to midlife, you may have spent decades putting everyone else first and feeling unable to set boundaries or say no to people or situations that don’t serve you. 

Now is the time to put in place some boundaries that will protect you, your energy, and your self-esteem so that you can move through this stage of your life with confidence and self-belief.

Why IS it so hard for midlife women to create and maintain healthy boundaries and stop being a people pleaser?

Setting boundaries can be uncomfortable but boundaries are important for building self-esteem and maintaining healthy relationships. Saying no, when you don’t want to do something lets other people know where your boundaries are, and it also lets YOU know where YOUR boundaries are. 

Consider what YOU want

Take some time to think about your goals and what you actually want from your life. This can feel challenging and it may be the first time in your life that you’ve truly considered what YOU want in the future, rather than trying to make sure everyone else is happy. 

Prioritise your needs 

If you’re a people-pleaser, it’s likely that you’ve been putting the needs of others before you’ve even considered what you need. 

Knowing what your priorities are can help you to work out where you want to devote your time and energy and if doing what you are being asked to do is really in your best interests. 

Be selective with what you say yes to

As a chronic people-pleaser, you’ve likely been saying yes to everything that’s asked of you. 

There’s nothing wrong with stalling for time while you work out your response. Take some time to consider whether you’re being asked to do something that is both reasonable and possible, and most importantly, something that you actually WANT to do. 

If you take a moment to pause and consider, you’re far less likely to feel obligated to please others or be overwhelmed by their demands. 

Practise saying no

Understand that you CAN say no and it can lead to you saying yes to yourself much more often.  ⁠There is so much power in a simple no.⁠ 

When you say no to something, you don’t have to apologise, justify yourself or make excuses. I know it can feel scary to say no without giving a long list of reasons and justifications. But “no” is a complete sentence and it doesn’t need an explanation.

Saying no gets easier over time. The more you exercise your “no” muscle, the more comfortable it becomes. Keep showing up for yourself and putting yourself first, even if it feels hard and you’re tempted to go back to people-pleasing. You might start with emails or texts and build up to saying ‘no’ out loud in person. Practise saying no in front of the mirror if it feels really hard. 

Are you ready to say goodbye to people-pleasing and set healthy boundaries?

I specialise in helping women to build unshakeable confidence in midlife and live the life they were truly meant for. Together, we can retrain your brain to move away from people pleasing, set strong boundaries and find the confidence to prioritise your own needs and goals. 

Book a call with me to take the next step towards achieving a more Positive Resilient Mindset that sets you up for a happier and more empowered midlife.