How often do you find yourself….
…saying YES to others when in your heart you mean NO?
…spending time with people who don’t bring out your best?
…sharing an opinion so you’ll fit in or be liked?
…apologising even when you’ve done nothing wrong?
…sacrificing your own needs or desires to prioritise someone else’s?
If you recognise yourself in any of these scenarios, you aren’t alone.
BUT I also imagine you might feel a bit drained right now. Because trying to constantly adapt
yourself to please others is KNACKERING – and that’s without even throwing the rest of the
maternal load into the mix!
As humans, we are inherently programmed to please other people because from a young age we learn that when we do what others want or fulfil certain expectations, we’ll receive
approval and praise.
And this inclination to please and be liked can become so deeply ingrained that we often
carry it into adulthood – where it can start to trip us up! Especially when we become parents!
While a commitment to pleasing others will often come from a place of generosity, saying
YES to everyone but ourselves can also (unknowingly!) mean doing a massive disservice to
ourselves and to our kids in the long-term.
So, I hope that the following perspective shifts support and empower you to free yourself
from 'people pleaser'; mode so you can start living life on YOUR terms rather than in
response to what you believe the world is asking of you.
Check in with your MOTIVATION to please
Saying YES to others is often motivated by a desire to be kind, generous, supportive or
But sometimes our drive to please can also come from a more emotionally charged and
To avoid feelings of judgement
From a fear of rejection
To feel like we are ENOUGH
These motivations are so commonly experienced in Motherhood – because our kids matter
a whole lot to us, and we want to feel that we’re doing it right or show others we are coping.
But when we make choices at the expense of our own happiness, needs or wellbeing they are likely to bring up a whole new set of difficult thoughts and feelings in the process such as
overwhelm, resentment and self-criticism.
So getting aware of your motivation to please is a really important first step to ensure that
you don’t become the sacrificial lamb in the process.
If you feel your gut instinct waving a red flag as you make decisions for yourself or those you
love, take a moment to pause and ask yourself:
WHAT’S MOTIVATING THIS DECISION? HOW IS THIS DECISION SERVING ME?
And if you realise that your own desires, self-esteem, or integrity will be side-lined in the
process, it’s time to take stock and re-consider your next steps.
Start saying NO
‘No’ is not a bad word. Quite the opposite in fact – it can be an amazingly empowering whole sentence!
Although if we are inherent people-pleasers it can feel really hard to utter that tiny word.
BUT saying YES to everything asked of us can also lead to frustration and burn out –
especially when that ‘yes’ means saying ‘no’ to what we truly want for ourselves in the
So something has to give! And why should that ‘something’ be YOU?
It may feel easier to say YES than NO, to avoid any perceived conflict, drama or
But there are heaps of reasonable ways to get your ‘No’ into the world and set boundaries
that feel kind and considerate but also full of integrity to yourself. For example…
That sounds great, but now isn’t a good time
I can’t, but thanks for thinking of me
Thanks, maybe another day
I’m not able to help right now, I’m afraid
It can be so simple, empowering and liberating to say ‘NO’ in a firm but fair way while
simultaneously choosing YOU first. So take a deep breath and back yourself!
Model self-worth to your kids
When we choose others over ourselves it can negatively impact our own self-esteem and
self-worth. As it essentially implies that showing up for someone else matters more than
showing up for ourselves.
And it doesn’t just send out that message to us. It also sends it out to our kids who are
always watching and learning from their parents, like little sponges!
If we show our kids that our feelings or needs don’t matter, then what lesson will that teach
So I really urge you to become more mindful about prioritising your own needs, desires or
emotions EVEN at the expense of pleasing your children sometimes!
And that doesn’t make you selfish.
That makes you a responsible parent, and it models for them the importance of self-worth
Mindfully saying NO to our kids allows us to maintain our own integrity as a parent, it
teaches them the importance of boundaries, it models to them how to be assertive and
demonstrates the power of being your own cheerleader.
And they will also quickly realise that when your needs, and emotions are tended to, they will
get the best of you as a result – and the best of themselves when they grow up
understanding the importance of saying ‘yes’ to themselves too.
Ultimately – you won’t ever be able to please everyone in reality! And if you try, you’ll get
yourself into such an exhausted and self-deprecating tangle that you might totally lose sight
of what you’re even trying to achieve.
So, it makes much more sense to learn how to channel your energy into listening to your
intuition and pleasing YOURSELF.
Because you matter A WHOLE LOT!
And I can assure you that the moment you start focusing less on pleasing others and more
on pleasing yourself you’ll feel a whole lot more energised, fulfilled and confident in your own right as well as in Motherhood.
How can you say YES to YOURSELF today?
About the author
Tamsin Williamson is a mum of 2 and a Transformational Life and Mindset Coach for Mums (aka The Parenthood Coach) empowering ambitious but unfulfilled Mums who feel their passion, purpose and potential have been stifled by the intensity of Parenthood. Through holistic coaching Tamsin works with Mums 1:1 and in groups supporting them to get un-stuck, reconnect with their sense of self and create balanced, joyful and aligned lives unapologetically on their terms while maintaining their integrity as a parent.