3 Tips to Overcoming Your Need to Please Others

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Recently I let the vocal minority access to my mental space. I started reading some negative comments one of my social media posts. And, it got me really down. Ultimately, I was able to shake it off and recognize the good I was putting out there, but it prompted a lot of self-reflection about my need to please others. This goes beyond trolls on social media. Those are relatively easy to disregard. The harder act is learning that we don’t need to always please those of us who we care about.

Most of us are people pleasers by nature. Especially those of us in medicine. We enter this field to serve others. So, it stands to reason, we like helping others. We like learning that we have made a positive difference in their lives.

But over the course of my almost 15 years in practice as a physician, I’ve learned that attempting to please everyone around me is a waste of my time. And, this lesson has offered me the time I need to concentrate and listen to and follow through on my needs and goals.

You may find that the opinions of others affects you in ways you wish they didn’t. Whether it causes you to second guess your own actions or lose sight of your goals, learning to set aside these naysayers is important for your own personal growth and development.

Why is it bad to continuously attempt to please others?

1. When you’re paying attention to others opinions and chatter, then you aren’t paying attention to your goals.

Whether it’s your mom, aunties, kids, colleagues, or internet trolls. That noise is distracting. It causes you to second guess yourself. And most importantly, you’re more focused on what others are saying then what you are doing. You’ll never gain forward movement in your life if you’re constantly looking elsewhere.

2. You begin to second guess your decisions

If you have made your decisions in alignment with your core values, then they’re the right ones for you. No matter what others might say. But, being a people pleaser causes you to reassess these decisions and to second guess them. 

Self-reflection is always good and I never have problem of intentionally revisiting your decisions.

But if you’ve made a choice, decision, or action thoughtfully, true to who you are, then there is no reason to second guess yourself.

3. You begin relying on the opinions of others for your self-worth

You feel rejected or unworthy when you don’t get the feedback you want. And, that ultimately creates a situation where you can’t make decisions for yourself. You don’t feel validated unless others agree with the decision you made. And, your choices should be reflective of what you desire, irrespective of either accolades or negative comments.

4. You’re setting yourself for failure

You’re setting yourself up for failure. It’s impossible to please everyone. Actually impossible. So until you learn to let this need go, you’re going to feel bogged down by these feelings of guilt, poor self-worth or of not matching someone’s expectations

It takes practice and a clear understanding of your values to hold firm in your decisions.  Completely disregarding those around you is not the answer, but a careful systematic review of the power of those opinions is essential for ensuring you are remaining authentic to yourself.

In this episode, I also talk about 3 keys to moving past the need to please those around you (whether in person or online)


I'm Rupa Wong.

Hi! I'm Dr. Rupa Wong. Physician. Private Practice Owner. Mama to 3 kids. Managing Partner. Educator. Textbook Author. Conference Co-Founder. Mentor. I am more than just one thing, even as a doctor and I bet you are too. I would love to help you envision the life you want, and then get after it. What are you waiting for?


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