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May 28, 2021

Removing Chaos From Your Life When You’re a People Pleaser

Are you feeling overcommitted? Irritable? Do you feel like you find yourself taking on too much or saying yes and then feeling overwhelmed- like there is no space for you in your own life?

Here’s the truth and it’s okay if it’s hard to accept at first. The chaos is created by you! Not other people.  You are failing to protect your territory. The more you allow everyone to encroach on your day, the more they will do it the next day. It’s no one’s job to know your limits, but your own. And no one has the ability or time to try to read your mind. People will keep asking and especially if you say yes, they will continue asking. It’s your job to take care of yourself.

It really doesn’t matter what the issue is. You possess a door to your psyche, your emotions, your time, your energy. If you leave it open, you are inviting chaos. You have some windows too and sometimes when you close the door, chaos will find a window, right?! Your job is to protect your territory and monitor what comes in.

The best approach is to have a filtering screen, but in the beginning, you may not know how to filter and you may need to keep those doors and windows closed shut. Eventually, you will learn how to manage the filters because you will see that:

Setting boundaries eliminates your chaos.

What are your personal boundaries?

My personal boundary is that I must take care of myself. Caring for myself is at the top of my priority list. This sounds selfish, but I know that when I do, I am able to care for my family even better.

What are your relationship boundaries?

My relationship boundaries demand reciprocity. I used to say nothing, suck it up and feel drained and resentful for doing all of the work in my relationship. Now, I say the difficult things even if my husband gets angry. I know that if I am upset or bothered or irritated, saying nothing creates a bigger issue down the road.  I invite you now to think about your relationship boundaries. Do you have them?

What are your professional boundaries?

My professional boundaries are that I have no deadlines or pressure on myself for responding to messages- emails, texts, DM’s, voicemails. I realize I can do that because I am my own boss and not everyone can or should have that boundary. I also realize that I will upset some people. People may feel it is unprofessional, irritating or disrespectful to take forever to respond or to not respond at all. There are only so many hours in the day and I can not allow someone’s unexpected message to keep me from my work or my family. I read them all and I get back when I can. This is my boundary and I am not suggesting it as yours. It may not be a boundary for all seasons of my life, but it frees me to live my life and be productive.

If you can’t answer right now, what your main boundaries are, then you don’t have them.

You may be thinking, isn’t that just a rule? How are these boundaries?

Boundaries are lines in the sand that you draw for yourself. They are not a form of controlling other people. They are not a rule that you have for anyone else. They are a line you draw for yourself. I will not cross the line into anxiety or stress, attempting to answer all the questions people pose to me on my different modes of contact. I am not ever telling anyone what they can or can’t do. I am setting a boundary for myself that allows me to respond from my best self and in a way that doesn’t overtax me.

I am naturally a people pleaser. I like that about myself. I like to help and be useful and needed. I am well aware of that. It’s part of what makes me good at what I do. But, I have to remember at all times:

Chaos in life is created by too many yeses.

Too many yeses create resentment and damages relationships.


The more you allow everyone to pull you and determine what is important in your life, the less of your own life you get to live. Don’t you want to live your God-given life?

in my self care book,  I discuss how saying NO and setting boundaries is the most positive thing you can do for yourself and your relationships.

You will have more energy to say yes to the right things for you if you invest in the word no.

So how do we do this?

Set people’s expectations of you very early.

When I joined a new homeschool program this year, I told the director- I will not be doing any outside volunteering. I really wanted to join this community, but I heard this community was really big on requiring a lot of service from their moms. So, I told her upfront to make sure I could still fit in here. She was fine with it.

But on the very first day of class, I raised my hand when she was looking for a map mom, whose duties only took place during the day when I was already there. This may sound like a contradiction, but it wasn’t that I didn’t want to help out. Remember I’m the people pleaser. It was that I knew I couldn’t healthily invest any of my extra time to do so. It would hurt me. This job happened within the time that I was already there and so it worked out. Despite telling her I didn’t volunteer, I found a way to work it in without any resentments and I love being map mom.

So, first, set people’s expectations of you very early.

Next. Say no automatically whenever anyone asks anything of you.

Make a rule for yourself that your initial response will be a no and you have to prove to yourself why it should be a yes. This is your filtering process. And before you answer, ask yourself: is this a good investment of my time? Does this further my goals? If the answer is no. Your answer is no.

And stop with the explanation. You don’t owe one to anyone.

Your people will continue to push the boundaries, still.

I know you may be worried about disappointing people. Let me help you with this. YOU WILL. You will disappoint people and it’s important to start to get very comfortable with the uncomfortableness so that you can eventually get comfortable with it.

Saying yes to anything is always saying no to something else. And when you can not harness in your yeses because you’re so worried about other people, then you end up disappointing the very people that you say are the most important in your life. Elayne Fluker came on my show and spoke about Getting Over I got It Syndrome and I loved what she said about learning to make the intentional choices about who you are going to disappoint. Those people and scenarios will change- but it shouldn’t be about trying to make everyone happy and okay anymore. It’s about making sure that you aren’t disappointing someone who is your biggest priority.

None of these steps are super easy. That’s okay. It’s good to do hard things. Start with one. No need to do a crazy upheaving rehaul of your whole system. Take baby steps and commit to getting the chaos out of your life.

You’ve got this!

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