12 Five Ways to Manage Your Fear, Anxiety, and Stress When You Are A People Pleaser

people pleaser, stress, burnout

Is being a people pleaser a choice between pleasing someone and enduring the fear, stress, and anxiety now or not pleasing them and enduring the fear, stress, and anxiety later? Because there is another choice that you may not be considering.

Two-Halves Of The Perfect Whole

Exclusively on the audio podcast, I am excited to introduce my wife Inyam (I call her Yams). We are two-halves of the perfect person and I think you are going to like the result.

When it comes to helping people create their dream life, I focus on the mental aspect and do a lot of mindset and energy work. Yams focuses more on the physical, dealing with yoga and healthy eating.

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The Fears That Create A People Pleaser

Being a people pleaser is something we all struggle with, but today we focus on some of the consequences and negative side-effects we all need to be cautious of.

There are two fears you are attempting to overcome when you struggle with people pleasing.

  1. Fear of failure
  2. Fear of rejection

These fears usually lead to us needing others to confirm that we are doing the right thing.

  • The assumption behind people pleasing is that the person is our life, so they must manner in some way.
  • They may be a coworker, so they matter in a “get things done” kind of way.
  • Maybe you matter because you are my family and I am stuck with you forever, so I might as well enjoy it.
  • Or it could be someone you see on a regular basis around your house (a neighbor for instance). So it is only natural that you want to “keep the peace”.

Where Does The People Pleasing Mindset Come From?

We were all raised by parents who punished and rewarded us based on how well we listened to them. If you follow the rules, you received a reward. If you were disobedient, your parents punished you.

We learn from an early age to look for to someone else to tell us if we are OK or not. This is the seed of people pleasing, because all we are really doing is looking for someone to tell us if what we are doing is good and acceptable.

This will likely lead to us doing things that we do not want do to because we know that is what our parents want us to do.

Well pleasing my parents worked out pretty well, so maybe it is not that big of a deal that I help others. What’s wrong with helping and pleasing others?

The largest difference is going to be the fact that your parents were looking out for your best interests.

Unfortunately, most of your daily interactions involve others looking out for their best interest.

When you load your day with activities that focus on others, you will find yourself cutting corners when it comes to your own well-being.

  • You cannot cook at home because you do not have enough time to cook.
  • You cannot go to sleep at a good time because you have too much work to do.

 5 Consequences of People Pleasing

  1. You become resentful and show passive-aggressive tendencies

Even though you have not told them you that you feel stressed and overburdened by their continual requests for assistance, you start to believe they should know anyway. You start to feel a little agitated and bothered on the inside, because you believe they have to know they are taking advantage of your kindness.

Realistically, you feeling like someone is taking advantage of you falls on them on the first time, but after that, it is on you. People only treat us as we allow them to treat us.

Communication is key to overcoming resentment.

You need to let the person know that you are only going help them this time, but after that it is on them because your plate is already full.

You may offer to train them or be a resource to check their work, but you are only accessible for two weeks.

  1. Lose your ability to enjoy other activities and other people

You will find it difficult to relax and enjoy other aspects of your life if you feel like you

  • do not have time for anything you want to do with your life
  • feel like someone is taking advantage of you
  • replaying difficult conversations in your mind
  • are frustrated with your passive reaction
  • burdening yourself because you are taking someone else’s burden off their plate

The crazy thing about being a people pleaser is you are probably correct in your assessment. You are doing too much with too little time.

In your professional life, you will find it difficult to relax outside of work because you constantly feel the burden of your job.

In your personal life, you may find it difficult to relax at family functions because you are stressed with making sure everything is in place and everyone is having a good time.

You do not want to allow one stress to spillover into other aspects of your life.

If you have the choice between choosing to commit a significant amount of time (but you are disconnected and mentally checked out) or spending a select amount of time (but fully-engaged), choose to spend less time and be fully engaged.

There is no reason to spread yourself thin and create a low-quality experience for others. When you hang out with friends and family, they want all your attention (no distraction).

What If you just want to check-out?

You are already mentally exhausted because you spent all of time helping others. Now I am asking you to actively communicate your feelings and you may be asking, what if I do not have the energy for confrontation?

You always have two choices.

  1. Let the person know who you are taking the burden from that you are going to give it back because your plate is already full.
  2. Or you need to tell everyone else in your life that your plate is full and you do not have time to spend with them and be present.

If you cannot or are unwilling to do either, your underlying fear of rejection or failure is holding you back.

  • Do you find it difficult to say no people?
  • Are worried that their love is conditional and as soon as you say no, the relationship will change drastically?
  • Do you feel any guilt at the idea of saying no to others?

To overcome your fears, take a moment and write down the worst-case scenario.

  • As soon as you stop helping that person, they leave your life.
    • Now ask yourself, would that be so bad?
  • Clearly the person is using you and does not care about you. As soon as it does not benefit them, they leave.
    • Should you continue to be friends with someone who is holding your life hostage?

Now take a moment and ask yourself, will my life improve if this person is no longer a part of my life?

My goal is to help you realize the answer to this question is yes. If the only way for someone to be pleased with you is for you to spend your time pleasing them, then it is time for change.

You should no longer have a fear of failure because they failed you. Likewise, you should not have a fear of rejection because you are rejecting them.

  1. Neglecting yourself

You only have 24 hours in the day. After you fill your day, that is it. There is only you can do to create more hours in a day. Therefore, when you focus on others, it is only natural that you may not be paying enough attention to yourself.

Please pleasers devote very little time to taking care of their own health, their own goals, their own desires, and their own well-being.

When we talk about breaking the cycle of people pleasing, critics often describe us as being selfish.

However, a lot of the goals we make have a positive impact on others. If you wanted to eat healthier, but have been eating fast food because you do not have the time to cook. That decision impacts your family as well.

When you neglect yourself, you end up neglecting those you care about most. We all have goals and some of our goals provide a benefit to another person.

  1. Stress and depression

Stress is the idea that the demands of others are burdening you with more than you can handle.

For example, if a student is not sure about their ability to pass a test, they are stressed about it. They do not know whether they can handle the demands of the class.

How do you manage your stress if you are not consciously aware of the fact that you are stressed?

In some of our mind’s, this is our life and we do not think anything about it. “I have to go to a job I dislike” or “associate with people who emotionally abuse me”.

If you are not sure that you are dealing with stress, I suggest you follow the physical ailments. Whenever you have a rash, bruise, headache, lack of energy, problems sleeping, or a problem with respiratory system, take the time to address the problem.


When you search for the solution to a physical ailment you are struggling with, you will eventually come across the cause of that symptom.

The mistake most of us make is we ignore the ailment, so we never learn what triggers it. We either believe it is a normal part of our life or we look for medicine to remove the symptom.

However, your body is trying to tell you something and if you listen, you will find it is most likely stress caused by a situation your body is trying to warn you to leave.

To deal with stress and depression, your goal is to break the cycle. You cannot believe “this is my normal” and be able to successfully change your life.

Do not allow yourself to believe:

  • 70% of people do not like their job, so I should not either
  • Most people do not have time for family, so it is okay that I do not
  • Cannot afford to eat healthy food
  • Cannot afford to take vacations

If you allow yourself to believe you can change your life, that you do not have to live in any particular situation, then you will always find yourself striving to improve it.

  1. People take advantage of you

There are two types of people in your life.

  1. Those who are purposely taking advantage of you. They know you are nice and they are preying on your weakness.
  2. Those who care for you, but are unaware of the burden they are putting on you because you act like everything is okay.

In both cases, it falls on them the first time their request burdens you. After that, it is on you to tell them that you cannot handle their request.

You will find that the people who care about you are going to start helping you and stop making requests for you to help them once they know they are stressing you.

Those who do not care about you are going to leave once you stop allowing them to take advantage of you (which is awesome).

Sitting At Starbucks

Yams recalls sitting at Starbucks working on several work-related projects and someone came up and asked her for some money to buy a coffee.

The women told Yams she only had enough money for the bus ride home, but wanted a coffee.

Yams searched for money and could not find anything. All she had on her was the company card and she knew that was not an acceptable company purchase.

When Yams told the women that she could not purchase her a coffee, the women called her everything but a child of God.

While Inyam initially felt guilty about not being able to help the women, she quickly realized the women was only interested in taking advantage of her kindness.

Sometimes when we are sacrificing to maintain a bad relationship because we fear rejection or failure, we do not allow ourselves to imagine what life will be like once that person leaves.

You may find out you are holding yourself back from the immense blessing of that person removing themselves from your life.

If you stopped people pleasing, you will discover removing that person may bring discomfort in the short-term. However, in the long term, it will remove a lot of stress and pressure that person was consistently placing on your shoulders.

Final Thoughts

We all deal with the desire to be accepted for who we are, and our willingness to be our true selves. Have the courage to be honest and everything else will take care of itself. You will attract the right people when you stop worrying about offending others.

  • mgriggs1955 says:

    Communication is key to avoiding stress and feeling overwhelmed.
    Excellent strategies and useful information to avoid stress!

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