“I should invite her”

“We should have the party on Saturday because I know that will be easier for him”

“I should get a gift for that person”

Should indicates a right or wrong, and indicates black-and-white thinking which highlights a rigidity in your thought patterns and can lead to dysfunction.  Should is typically used to criticize our own or other’s actions. Interestingly, often “should” does not align with what we really want to be doing.  We are doing what we think others want and are trying to please people.  Repeatedly engaging in activities we do not want to do can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression.  

Are you a people pleaser? Not sure?  Here are some signs that you might be a people please: 

  • You have a difficult time saying “no.”
  • You feel guilty when you say “no.”
  • You fear that people will think you are selfish if you turn them down.
  • You agree to things you don’t like or do things you don’t want to do.
  • You’re always telling people you’re sorry.
  • You never have any free time because you are always doing things for other people.
  • You neglect your own needs in order to do things for others.
  • You have trouble being true to your beliefs

Saying “no” is hard. People pleasing is hard. But, continuing to do things that you don’t want to do because you feel guilty is even harder. If this sounds like you, then it’s time to make a change. You deserve to live a life that is true to your beliefs and values. But, in order to do that, you need to be able to set boundaries and let go of the “shoulds”. 

It’s not going to be easy, but it is possible. Here are some tips on how to stop the “shoulds” and stop people pleasing: 

1. Recognize that you have a choice
2. Think about your own goals and priorities
3. Set boundaries
4. Avoid making excuses

Take the first step today and start living the life you want to live.

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