Updated: Aug 15
***Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical, legal, or health advice and is not a substitute for mental health services
People-pleasing is something that many people struggle with, especially those who grew up learning that others’ needs are more important than their own.
If this captures your lived experience, then it is possible that your perception of yourself may have been driven by other people’s views of you. You may have also noticed that the question “what will other people think?” has been ingrained into your mind and influences your behaviour in social situations.
Changing your mindset to one that is more self-accepting takes time. One way of moving towards change is by using positive affirmations or self-statements that reflect the new way that you would like to see yourself and by testing out different behaviours that show self-respect and your efforts to prioritize yourself.
Here are some examples of positive affirmations that might be helpful to you to consider:
"I get to define myself".
"I realize that my own needs are important".
"I am finding a balance between my own needs and helping others".
"I am learning to take better care of myself".
"It is ok to say 'no' when I need to".
"I accept myself as I am".
"I can let go of taking responsibility for other people’s problems".
"I can let go of guilt when I don't meet other people’s expectations".
"I am learning to recognize my own worth and value".
"It is ok to choose myself".
Other phrases may come to mind – use the ones that stand out most to you and that have the biggest impact on your beliefs about yourself and how you interact with others in your daily life, including your family, friends, partner, co-workers, peers, etc.
You can write these statements down, say them to yourself aloud, and even do this while looking in the mirror if that helps you solidify them in your mind or allows you to feel more conviction as you say it.
Remember: it will take lots of practice and repetition for this to feel natural to you – and it will get easier over time. Keep working at it day by day and see the difference it can make in your life.
Wishing you well on your mental health journey.
Davina Tiwari MSW, RSW, CSFT
Registered Social Worker and Certified Solution Focused Therapist
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