Posted by: Donna Cunningham | November 22, 2009

Libra Alert: How to Stop Being a People Pleaser

By an anonymous guest blogger from WikiHow

Donna says: With Saturn transiting Libra  for the next 2 1/2 years, a lot of you with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or other  chart features in the early degrees of that sign are starting to feel stressed out by the demands of relationships where you’ve been too accommodating. Now, under Saturn’s influence, you’re starting to take yourself and your own needs more seriously—and I mean that in a good way.

Saturn’s energies are prompting you to say no to people who don’t take your wants and needs into consideration as much as they do their own.  During this transit, you’ll be learning to set limits and be firm with people who haven’t appreciated the things you do to make the relationship work.  In order to bring that much-needed balance to your relationships, you may need wise counsel from someone who can show you exactly how to stop being a people pleaser. This useful, step-by-step article  was found on WikiHow.  

 (Like all WikiHow offerings, the author is anonymous and need not be a mental health professional, so use your own judgement and instincts in deciding if the advice is right for you or not.)  Here are the suggestions:

Do you habitually give in to other people because you just can’t stand the thought of upsetting them? Do you put your needs to one side because you get a buzz from someone else’s happiness, only to find that he or she is not a bit grateful? If so, you are a classic “people pleaser,” and you are, in all probability, not getting what you want out of life. It’s time to shift the focus from others to yourself, and stop being a martyr.

There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests. Your task is to be true, not popular.

Steps

  1. Think of five times when you did or said something that did not truly reflect your wants and needs, in order to please someone else. Write them down. For each of these occasions, imagine how you would have handled it differently – to please yourself! What is the worst that could have happened? Write down your worst fears.
  2. Look at your fears. Are they realistic? Are they truly terrible? You might be afraid that no one will like you, that someone will leave you, or that you will be left all alone if you don’t say the right thing. That is a prison you have trapped yourself in, and it’s time to unlock the doors and walk out! The people around you may be used to your compliance, but if they’re not willing to accept that you have your own needs, are they really worth having in your life?
  3. Examine your ability to set limits on others. Examine your boundaries. Where are they? What is acceptable behavior for you and what is unacceptable? Do you tolerate the intolerable? Normalize the abnormal? Accept the unacceptable? Do you know what it feels like to be treated with dignity and respect? Learn how to identify and label unacceptable treatment from others and how to set limits on their behavior when they violate your boundaries.
  4. Consider the source. Many people pleasers were raised in environments wherein their needs and feelings were pushed aside/not considered. Were you always expected to anticipate, and to mold yourself to, everyone else’s needs? Did you learn that the only way to receive a positive response was to do what others wanted you to do? If so, here’s a newsflash: Not all the world wants a pushover. By focusing on pleasing others, you open yourself up to manipulation and abuse. You will never reach your potential as an individual if you constantly hide behind others’ expectations.
  5. Stop basing your self-worth on how much you do for other people. It’s noble to want to help others, but it’s something you should do because you want to, not because you feel you have to. The greatest acts of kindness are those done by choice, not out of fear or guilt. If you’re doing things for others because you would feel bad if you didn’t, is the action really genuine? Would you want others to help you under those terms? And, if you’re helping others to such an extent that you are neglecting yourself, is that really wise?
  6. Learn how to say “no.” Don’t make up excuses – give your reasons for not wanting something. So your husband wants his entire family to come to Christmas dinner, and you just can’t face it? “I’m sorry darling, I find the pressure of entertaining such a large number of people intolerable.” Your best friend wants you to go with her or him to a party that will be full of people that you can’t stand? “No thank you, it’s just not my scene.” Start small – find something small to say “no” to, but say it firmly. Say it politely, but mean it! You’ll be surprised; the world will not collapse around your ears! People rarely take offense, and those that do aren’t worth pleasing.
  7. Ask for what you want. If everybody’s going to the movies, and most people in the group want to see a particular movie, but you’d rather watch something else, speak up! There’s nothing wrong with voicing your opinion, and it doesn’t have to mean you’re making a demand. Simply reminding people that you’re an individual with your own preferences is a big step forward. Even asking someone to help you do something will help.Ultimately, you must remember that no one can read your mind. If you feel that you do so much for others, but they don’t do anything for you, maybe it’s because you don’t express your needs or desires. It’s not fair to make people pry an answer from you. If they ask you what you want, or if there’s a decision being made, put in your opinion, and let that be that.
  8. Do something for yourself. Do one thing you have been wanting to do, but are afraid someone else will not like. Dye your hair, get that new look, have a treat that you enjoy, go on holiday….whatever you do, do it for yourself, and practice not worrying what anyone else thinks about it. Don’t get caught up in doing things just because no one else wants you to do them. Remember that there ought to be things that you truly want to do for yourself, regardless of what anyone else thinks, not in spite of it. Other people’s opinions are a factor in our lives, but they should not be the determining factor.
  9. Compromise. While it’s not good to be a pushover, it’s no better to be a manipulative bully or a reckless rebel. Don’t become totally selfish. In fact, many people pleasers have low self-esteem. So do those who are selfish. It is best to develop good self-care skills, which include healthy assertiveness skills. You can listen to others, but ultimately, what you do is your choice. Keep a balance! Sometimes the needs of other people should come first. Whenever there’s a conflict of desires, try to come up with a solution that will meet both desires halfway, or better yet, a “win-win” situation where both sides get even more than they bargained for.

Tips

  • If you find yourself compromising your own needs, be aware that in the long run you compromise your ability to help others as well. Taking care of yourself prevents you from burning out. Remind yourself that by making choices that are good for you, you will have enough “fuel” to do good for others.
  • Pin up this affirmation where you will see it every day: “My needs are just as important as yours.”
  • Understand that being kind and being a “people pleaser” are not the same thing. To disagree with someone does not necessarily mean you are being unkind. It is possible to be kind and state your own needs at the same time. Do not label standing up for yourself as selfish or wrong. It is not.
  • Anticipate situations where you would normally “people please,” by thinking about what you want and rehearsing your “lines.”
  • Don’t worry if you slip back into your old ways occasionally; lifelong habits take time to overcome.
  • Treat all people with politeness, dignity and respect. If they aren’t nice to you (that is, if they do not treat you with politeness, dignity and respect), then consider limiting the relationship. Don’t respond to rudeness with your own rudeness; it just perpetuates the problem.
  • If you find that you begin most sentences with “I should” or “I ought”, realize you are operating from a position of weakness and people-pleasing. How can you re-phrase those thoughts to be more constructive?
  • Practice integrity and insist on it in others. Recognize when you are being manipulated, whatever the intention behind it. Follow your bliss–you have a responsibility to nourish your talents, work hard, and help others along the way, but not to accept their responsibility as your own.
  • Don’t always make yourself available when you cannot afford to be; doing so invites others to take advantage of you.

Warnings

  • Some people may take time to adjust to the new you – don’t apologize for being you, but be gentle with them!
  • Some people may seem to reject the new you. Although you may have been afraid to change at first, understand that other people may be as well, and may not understand that their rejection is not so much aimed at you, as much as it is aimed at themselves. Just as you might have thought to reject your desires, so might others reject theirs, and yours in turn only because they think that is what is good for the both of you! Be patient with them. Just as you were capable of understanding that change is nothing to fear, others will come to realize this in time. You can do much to inspire people and calm their own fears by resisting your own.
  • Some things you may want to do may not be workplace-safe. If you really need your job, think twice before mouthing off or getting a pink Mohawk and 5 piercings, especially if you have to be at the investment bank in the morning.
  • Don’t blame others for your decision to change. Don’t say “I had to do this because of you”! Remember, you are deciding to change for yourself.
  • Note that expressing your own desires requires first your awareness of what they are, which requires conscious and consistent practice. For instance, your partner says “Let’s have hamburgers for dinner” and you may really think “Whatever is fine by me” while, it is only “fine” because you never make that choice. Take the few extra seconds to consider it. Or, where do you go when you are alone? Tell him or her that’s where you would like to go this time. Do not be concerned about what is a good opportunity to practice and what is not.

 See a closely-related article on Skywriter here: Libra Alert: Personal Power & What It Looks Like in a Friendship. See the original WikiHow article here: How to Stop Being a People PleaserFor more Articles on Relationship Issues on Skywriter,  See the category Relationship Help.

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Responses

  1. I also believe conversely, that those with prominent Libras will have to “fish or cut bait” during this Saturn transit. Forget about waiting around, head in hand, hoping for someone to come to your “rescue.” Be prepared to stand on your own two feet and make your own decisions.

    • Yup, it goes both ways. Make a decision or the outside world will make one for you. Donna

  2. I’m not sure where to respond here?? I’m Capricorn with an exact square in Uranus-Cancer/Mars-Libra, coming into wide T-square with Sun in Capricorn. With Pluto squaring my Mars/Uranus closely (2 degrees), am I feeling rage? YES. So, where do I go during the early Libra transit? Who do I kill?

  3. OK, I didn’t mean that about killing, of course. This relates to Donna’s blog about the way Libras DON’T express their anger. So we have here, in my case, Mars in Libra at 2 degrees, Uranus in Cancer at 2 degrees. God help me when Uranus goes into Aries and hits 2 degrees. Wow. Does this mean I will reinvent the world? No, wait, that’s more of a Pluto thing …

    • Hi, Millie, Believe it or not–as uncomfortable as it might be–getting in touch with the rage is a step in the right direction. Where you might go with it is to someone who can help you sort out what it’s really about, what led you to stuff anger down in the first place, what behaviors or ways of relating you employ to keep it stuffed down, and how you can change those behaviors. Assertiveness training might help you set healthier boundaries with people sooner. That’s all I can suggest, not knowing you or your situation, and I don’t do direct one-on-one work with clients any more. It’s just clearly high time the issue got addressed. Donna

  4. My natal saturn conjunct moon at 2 degrees libra square natal sun conjunt mercury at 9 & 11 degrees capricorn have been a lifetime of adjustment for me; and, a lifetime of learning how to not over people please. Born December 31st 1950 in Denver, Colorado, I continue dealing with the challenges related to people pleasing and rescuing. Donna, your article is perfect for those of us whose self-esteem has always been bartered for the positive judgement of others. Thanks! John

  5. Another giant nugget in your goldmine for this Saturn soiree, Donna.

    Here’s an example of how this works both ways. When I was caring for 3 elders in my home (and doing all the cooking), I told them that if I made something they didn’t like they should tell me, or else they’d get it again. Usually, they wouldn’t tell me, so I cooked dishes time and time again that they didn’t care for. Look what it got them? Something they don’t want staring at them from their plate!

    If we do that type of thing to people (fib a little to please them), we wind up with a whole bunch of stuff we don’t want and don’t like.

    It’s not worth it. Why get a whole lot of what you don’t want?

    • That’s a terrific example, CJ, and I think most of us get a whole lot of what we don’t want. I regularly lie to people and tell them I love their cooking, when actually I don’t care for what they cook at all. It just seems like the polite thing to do when they’ve gone to all that trouble to cook for us. That’s a social lie, but it’s different when someone cooks for you all the time, like you did for your elders. Donna

  6. I think that with Saturn in Virgo, we were definitely all about the people-pleasing and service and availability. I watched as so many people were fearful of admitting truth during that transit because of– zoinks– confrontation. I wasn’t a fan of Saturn in Virgo with the exception of a couple of good things that came along then.

    Now we realize that we matter, too. I’m a Libra (later degrees), and understand how pleasing the wrong people (namely a family member in my case) bites me on the @ss. But to be fair, when manipulative behavior comes from someone we love like a family member, it is occasionally unseen. Now I’m thirty and aware of what games others are trying to play and, even if it hurts them, I’ve volunteered to pull the plug on a certain relationship, regardless of how significant it is. Stick a fork in me, I’m done.

    Being ruled by Venus, I believe in give-and-take, and I do not invest in superficial relationships. I’ll make nice with you, but don’t cross me. I’ve never stuck around in jobs where superiors didn’t value or respect me. And I promise not to stick around for any others who don’t respect me, either.

    • That’s a very solid place to be coming from, Deb. And while Saturn is in Libra, you’ll doubtlessly be finding some good Saturnian types that you can have mature, mutual relationships with. Donna

  7. Hello, Donna! I have been reading your blog lately a lot and it is GREAT!
    After reading this last post I couldn’t help it to leave a comment because I feel strongly about it – I relate a lot to what you wrote here…but in a different sort of way – meaning that most of the steps (first seven) I practiced doing them all my life. I am seriously developing the 8th now and the 9th is just a far away dream for the moment!
    I got a little help probably from my Aqua moon and sun which are not usually people pleasers and my Scorpio Saturn in 7th cnj SN.
    There is an extremely limited number of people that one can interact with on the basis of those 9 steps.
    And actually I am kind of wondering…what can Saturn in Libra bring for people like me – Saturnian types that are the opposite of people pleaser, that have spent their lives setting boundaries? what should we do? what is our part in this play?

    • Hi, Chris, you pose a good question. How a transit is used depends a great deal on how that planet is in the birth chart. With your natal Saturn in Scorpio in the 7th (and maybe square either your Aquarius Sun or Moon?) you come from a very different place than a Libra Sun. That combination would make you very reserved and guarded, unlikely to trust many people, and so you’ve probably built some pretty strong boundaries…or even walls..and are very discerning about who to trust. Possibly when Saturn in Libra makes trines to the Aquarius Sun and Moon, you’ll get the courage to open up more to others in certain ways while still maintaining your own safety…you’re not likely to be fooled by suprficial friendships or relationships. I know what Saturn has done for me these last several years is to be more self-revelatory in my writing, adopting the Uranian motto: F** ‘em if they can’t take a joke.” Donna

  8. With Saturn in Libra and Pluto in Capricorn I really have hopes that maybe people’s tastes in matters of relationships will change. Here’s hoping..my impression is that now the plutonian rules of leverage and power are into play.
    Saturn makes a sextile to my Sun and a wide square (orb of 9) to Moon ( I don’t really feel it or take it into consideration)…this is another thing…I noticed people with squares and oppositions from Saturn don’t follow the same saturnian rules as those that have sextiles and trines – but this is another discussion totally!
    I love the sense of humour and the perspective in your writing…you have an excellent motto there!

  9. Thanks for this – i think i am finally understanding these transits. sun in Leo [5th], natal saturn in Aries[12th], natal Pluto in virgo [6th]. Saturn in Libra is in my 6th, Pluto hitting my 9th – where my Moon is on the MC, and like Deb I have been feeling like i could seriously throw out the baby with the bathwater. I’m very new to learning but have looked at my chart and I am realising that rather than keep serving, I really need to serve myself, so that I can serve others. Such a lightbulb moment, thank you!!

  10. Thanks for this Donna, it’s really helpful! With my natal Saturn in Libra I’m going through my first Return right now and these issues about people pleasing are coming to the fore for me, especially when it comes to family. I also have Venus in Capricorn (12th) squaring Saturn natally (10th) and transiting that Pluto is conjunct Venus right now too. I’m realising my old patterns of people pleasing out of fear of not being loved aren’t going to cut it anymore!

    • So glad it helped, Mel. It’s time to really let go of some old patterns of relating and teach people to treat you as a fully adult person in your own right. Donna

  11. I have Scorpio and Libra as the most prominent signs in my chart and it’s such a weird duo! It goes from wanting to please and harmonize so bad to being egotastic, cunning and withdrawn though when having a “goal” (often relationships) Im the ultimate self-sacrificer..

  12. I thought, ” Oh, what’s Libra got to do with me?” Wait a minute! Libra is on my Midheaven! Where have I been?!
    I am a people-pleaser. “Whatever you want. It’s okay.” Bleh. What gets me the most is that people will say how they feel about certain things, their perspective but I won’t say how I feel, my perspective because I don’t want to rock the boat.
    Believe me, the way I perceive many things are not mainstream, so if I did give my opinion, someone would be offended.
    Then, later, I’m pissed at myself for not saying what I feel! Grr! All because I don’t want to ruffle feathers.
    Then I think people won’t like me if I say unpopular opinions, that, too, keeps me from expressing myself.
    I want so much to release these old, old patterns.
    I have to take to the chances. This article was a real eye opener. Lots of things to think about.

    • HI, Anne. You get it. There is a flower remedy by the Flower Essence Society, Goldenrod, that helps you adhere to your own truth. I’d have to say that for non-mainstream folk like ourselves, it isn’t always wise to put all our opinions out there. There’s a fine line between being a people pleaser and self-preservation. Sometimes it’s not worth the hassle to tell the sort of folk who’d be offended or even feel they had to do something about us. (Born Again types, for example)
      I just leave them in their ignorance and hang out with people of beliefs like ours.

      If I’m with my friends and am afraid to tell them what I feel for fear of displeasing them, then that’s people pleasing. I do, however, recognize that a lot of the time when I’m angry, it’s my own stuff, ego, whatever and I work at not
      perpetrating that on others. Also, I am cognizant that some of the things I would like to change about someone else because it bothers me is not about me at all nor would it be possible to “change” someone else, so I just let it be. Least said, soonest mended is an old motto of mine.

      When I’m comfortable with my own beliefs, boundaries, and the rights to my own desires, I can speak up without being rude. Keep reading the articles on this list–lots more considerations. Donna

  13. I love that you’re reprinting the Wikihow articles here. I’ve read these on the Wiki site and I tend to match them with sign and planetary archetypes. I shared this one with a Libra.

    • I love WikiHow too, Jara, and have it on my Google start up page. And the WikiHows of the day seem to synch with the current planetary pciture, even though I believe they’re picked at random. Donna

  14. Thank you Donna for a lot of useful information I just need now. :)
    I have 5 planets in Libra – Sun/Pluto conj at 4 deg, Moon at 13 deg and Mercury/Uranus conj at 21/22 deg. in 11th house, last two planets on the brink of 12th. Sun/Pluto exact square from Saturn Cancer in 8th, Moon as well with wider aspect.
    Well, last couple of years have been a rollercoaster. Since I have natally Pluto Saturn square, I am used to unsettled feeling, but these transits making hards aspects (Uranus Aries, Pluto Cap and Saturn Libra) are deffinitely making me grow up through a lot of hard experiences. But I think it will be worth it, I feel it even in the midst of trouble (getting divorced). My progressed Sun in Scorpio just hit my natal ASC so it is another sign of coming out of my shelf, in which I lived for almost 40 years, hidden away because I felt unworthy and unadequate. Now I am slowly taking steps in directon that is totally foreign to me – self assertion, self belief, stending for myself…since I am new in this, I get scared, I doubt myself, but try not to expect too much too quickly. I feel I need to be patient with myself because I’ve never really lived before like this.
    There are two ways, I feel, I could spend my life – either hidden away, living my patterns from the past that stood in the way of me developing as an individual because I never believed in myself OR finding courage to go into unknown, opening up to myself and others, appreciating myself, finding what fullfils me, trying to make myself happy and not giving up and retriting into a shelf again. Allowing others to both hurt and bring me joy.
    I feel I will be a new person in a year-two. God help me :)

    • I can see that you’re working very hard and earnestly on yourself–trust a Pluto-Sun aspect to do that! And that’s what it takes–AND the journey is worth it. Have you seen the series of articles on Skywriter about stelliums? Use the on-site search engine at the top right hand side of the site, and type in “stellium,” and you’ll find other helpful material. Also, if you haven’t seen my book, “Healing Pluto Problems” at http://www.redwheel/weiser.com, I think you’d identify with it. From one Pluto person to another, the hard work does pay off. Donna Cunningham

  15. hi donna,is there possibility to change residence? if” yes”,how?
    my husband won’t agree.
    infact i want to shift abroad.is it possible?
    my d.o.b.-3-3-1979
    Saturday
    9:00pm

    india

    • Hi, Ritka, I’m retired from doing individual charts, but you need to consult someone with a certification in relocational astrology. (Astro*Carto*Graphy) Look for someone at http://www.continuumacg.net. Donna Cunningham


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