The Montfort Group

Are you a people-pleaser? Here’s a secret to breaking the pattern once and for all

Many of us are eager to care for others. In fact, this very desire drew me into psychology. There is nothing wrong with making people around you feel safe and noticed. If this quality describes you, then you are a kind person. You take ownership of the energy you bring into a space. You mindfully attend to other’s feelings.

Though, there is a dark side to these behaviors, and it begins with a constant need to be liked. If you feel responsible for other’s happiness, apologize often, and struggle to say no, you might be dealing with something bigger. You might be a people-pleaser.

People-pleasing allows you to escape the discomfort of setting boundaries, but the temporary relief often leaves leads to long-term resentment and exhaustion. Sound familiar?

The good news is that an antidote exists. It takes effort, and it’s learning to tolerate discomfort

This means sitting with the awkward feeling associated with saying NO. It means letting our boundary-crossing friend be annoyed with us or allowing your family member to clean up their own mess.

I love teaching my clients to tolerate discomfort because it doesn’t come naturally for everyone, and that’s okay. It is a skill that takes practice and feels more natural over time. I often encourage clients to say no to small things at first. It initially feels painful, but if you push through the discomfort, there is often peace and confidence waiting around the corner. 

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Erica Rezakhani, MS, LPC

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