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Putting Others' Needs Ahead of Your Own

stope being a people pleaser

People pleasing is a learned behavior to take care of others’ needs at the expense of their own. If you are this type, you do too much, too often for others, almost never say “no”, rarely delegate, and inevitably become overcommitted. These self defeating patterns take a toll on your health and on your relationships. It is driven by the excessive need for others’ approval. Rather than being inner oriented, you are other oriented … looking for outside approval in order to feel whole.

The inability to say “no” may be linked to the self esteem you think you earn by doing things for others. Since your self esteem seems to depend on the things that you do for other people, your reluctance to say “no” is understandable.

Saying “no” is about establishing your boundaries. When we have a lack of boundaries it becomes difficult to distinguish self from others. I feel my feelings and all of your feelings too. I begin to define myself according to your definition. I lose my own identity. My feelings are your feelings, my thoughts are your thoughts, and I behave the way I think you want me to.

Giving yourself permission to say “no” will remove a heavy burden from your shoulders and allow you to feel free.

  • You need to say “no” to some people, some of the time, in order to preserve your ability to give to the people that matter most in your life.

  • You must treat yourself as well as you would treat other people

  • Saying “yes” when you want to say “no” should make you feel guilty – not the other way around

  • By saying “no” to others, people see you differently and you earn their respect, they value our boundaries

With healthy boundaries you can truly detach from other people while staying in caring relationships. You can begin to choose your own behavior, thinking and feeling. This takes time and patience. It is a process that does not happen overnight but rather something we work on daily.

At the Hellenic Therapy Center, located 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey we strive at enhancing a healthy self esteem and establishing healthy boundaries in relationships. We have a team of licensed professionals who can assist you. We offer individual and family therapy, day, evening and weekend hours. You may call us at (908) 322-0112 or visit

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