Learning to Say “No.” – The Struggles of Being a People-Pleaser

This past year, I have focused a lot on self-care and personal growth but my biggest challenge yet has been learning to say, “No”.

I have always had trouble saying no to people and setting boundaries. I consider this one of my biggest weaknesses. This trait falls within my anxiety disorder and my fear of disappointing people. Feeling needed and looking for validation have always felt important to me, but I have also recently noticed the toll that it is taking on me. When I spread myself too thin for others, I do not have any energy to take care of myself. And the truth is that I can’t help others- if I don’t help myself first.

I know I am not the only one out there who struggles with this. I also realize that it is hard to realize when you are doing this and how you can step back and focus on yourself. I have created a small list of tips that I am happy to share with you. I use these  to evaluate situations and ensure that I am taking care of myself first.

1. Know your limits.

There is always a choice. People may be disappointed but the truth is that it is your choice where you spend your energy. There is no punishment for setting boundaries and only doing the things that feel right.

2. Be comfortable with the word “No”.

For me, I must first be comfortable with my decision before I can relay an answer to someone. It is okay to take your time to consider a request.

3. Don’t feel that you need to provide excuses or reasons to anyone.

I like to be empathetic but also assertive when I set boundaries. What I try to avoid is giving a list of “reasons” because I feel that this opens up a counter-argument. I typically find that if I am empathetic and assertive, people do not question my answer – which makes the process easier for both sides!

4. Set your priorities. 

As I mentioned above, it is part of my personality to want to help-people. This is not a trait I want to give up, but I want to be in control of it. Knowing your priorities will help you control the things that you take on.

5. Make a mantra.

I use many mantras daily as part of my self-care practices. One of them is specifically geared towards this topic. I repeat the following mantra when I am faced with difficult questions or dilemmas…

(PS. I made this graphic for you! Feel free to save it and use it as your background OR print it and hang it somewhere you will see it daily!)

I hope that some of these tips help you take control of your life and set boundaries. This is a topic I am sure we will continue to touch upon through my journey!

Have any other advice? Shoot me a message!

Love always,


3 thoughts on “Learning to Say “No.” – The Struggles of Being a People-Pleaser

  1. R says:

    Madi – wonderful words of wisdom – especially for someone so young – this is one of my biggest struggles – I want to please & then wear myself out trying I am just learning to say no & not feel guilty at 70! … thank you …. R


  2. Susan Marie Decato says:

    I, too am a caregiver. I want everyone around me to be happy. When I hear someone express unhappiness I tip the scale the other way to try to improve their outlook. This leaves me often emotionally defeated until I look in the mirror and remind myself I am responsible for nobody’s happiness but my own. It’s a hard lesson. I seem to have an endless ability to find joy and see the best in all situations. There is the old adage though that one day the well may run dry. This is my fear. Do at least one thing daily solely for your own sanity. Be kind but insure your goodwill is appreciated.


  3. With love, Caroline says:

    Great post! I 100% agree with you! It’s so hard to say “no”, and I personally always use excuses of any kind to make it look better, but I don’t actually owe anything to anyone, so why spend so much energy doing it? 😊


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