People pleasing exercise

How many times have you said yes when you really want to say no?

It’s a predicament many of us face every day and it’s scary because many people don’t realise they are doing it.

We spend our lives pleasing other people, saying yes to accommodate and not comprehending the alternative of saying no.

We have choices and should never feel obligated to ensure someone else’s happiness or do someone else’s bidding.

True we have commitments but there is a big difference between being obligated and being obliging.

So go find a quiet place, grab a coffee, pen and paper and follow this people pleaser exercise to help you establish when you need to say no.

  • Draw circle one (time) and break up how you currently spend your time on average over a month. Be honest. Categories are: sleep, work, travel, social, me time, family, friends.
  • Draw circle two (time) and carve up how you would ideally like to be spending your time.
  • Draw circle three (relationships) and carve up who you currently spend your time with: on your own, partner, kids, family (like), family (don’t like), colleagues (like), colleagues (don’t like), friends (you like), friends (don’t like), client’s (like), clients (don’t like).
  • Draw circle four (relationships) and carve up who you would ideally like to be spending your time with.
  • With circles one to four in mind compile a list which should identify (1) occasions when you are saying “yes” when in fact you want or need to say “no” or (2) people you are spending time with and don’t want to. Be brutally honest here.
  • Bring in a close (sensible) friend or spouse who you trust to help you.
  • Now go through the list and identify. Do I have a choice in this matter?
  • If you have a choice (and nine times out of 10 you will), stop doing it or seeing that person. It’s really that simple. Rehearse what needs to be said and politely say it. If necessary write a letter or e-mail. Where you can, explain your reasons.
  • If you don’t have a realistic choice (family, colleagues or work event) brain storm options as to how you can lessen the impact of that thing on your life. Take action.

Appreciate that your new stance may shock or offend people so anticipate how to handle delicate situations or people in advance. But be firm. This is not a debate. You don’t need anyone’s permission. This is about making your life happier. As I always say, life is too short to be living it any other way but happy. So don’t fill up your days doing things or seeing people you don’t want to!

Good luck.

Gemma McCrae.

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