How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing

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This article is a dedication to everyone who is exhausted from constantly saying yes to everything. Its title, “How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing,” draws inspiration from my own personal journey.

Every Change begins with a shift in how you see things. It is more important to see things with the eyes of an eagle rather than what people would think. Yes! 

The problem always begins with what if? What if they are angry at me? 

So, you deprive yourself of that which makes you happy all the time because you want to please people. Does your opinion matter about people? Yes, Dear. It does.

It does so much that whether they are happy about your own opinion or decision, you should stand by it. You don’t always have to be a people pleaser. 

Common! Stop being a doormat. 

First, I want you to know that you could still be submissive yet decisive about what you want for yourself.

That habit of always saying Yes even when you’re not okay with it is what I am talking about. 

You’re not happy, and you’re not feeling respected, Every time, you feel like a fool for letting it happen their way all the time, and sometimes, you wonder if you have a power or will of your own, but somehow you still manage to cope with their attitude. 

In your mind, it’s letting peace reign. No, Darling, anything that’s at the expense of your happiness, at the expense of your mental health, anything that causes you emotional strain, is already not peaceful. That is what I want you to break out from.

Staying a doormat ( overly submissive to others’ wishes) only permits people to take advantage of you. Yes!  

They take advantage of your time, your comfort, your resources, your possessions, and even your rights.  

I want You to stop being a doormat. That person who is always giving in to the will of other people.

I want you to stop thinking it’s the way to be peaceful by saying yes all the time, even when you ought to say no. 

I want you to stop prioritizing the happiness of others at the expense of your happiness, prioritizing the needs of others over your own needs. 

You need that car too, you deserve that dress too, you deserve that kindness too. 

There are times you give, but what about receiving? Isn’t it about time that you receive it too? 

Choosing for yourself and standing by your principles doesn’t mean you’re weak, rebellious, or domineering. 

It only means one thing. Your happiness, needs, desires, opinions, and peace of mind first before any other person. 

5 Characteristics of a Doormat

5 Characteristics of a Doormat
5 Characteristics of a Doormat

1. Doormats Like To Seek Other People’s approval

When they feel someone disapproves of them or seems not to like them, they do everything possible, going out of their way to please others.

2. Doormats find it hard to say No.

Because they want to be approved of by everyone around them and be loved by all, they say yes to everything, even when it’s inconvenient for them.

3. Doormats do not have defined boundaries

More than choosing what they want and setting boundaries for people, they fear that setting boundaries would lead to disapproval.

4.  They have low self-esteem

They are not confident enough in themselves. Furthermore, they gain confidence and worth from the approval of others. 

5. They fear Rejection

Doormats do not know that not everyone would accept them for who they are, so they are scared of being rejected. 

These sometimes come from experiences. They fear being left behind or abandoned for not bowing to the desires of others. 

Having known the characteristics of a doormat, it’s okay to know that You don’t have to be overly submissive to everybody’s wishes. 

That’s what people pleasers do. And I know for sure that you’re certainly not one, but if you find yourself in this shoe, it’s time to break out! 

Take this bold step and choose happiness for yourself. After we go on this journey together, you’ll learn to value yourself more and know it’s okay to be stalwart. 

10 Steps on How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing

How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing
Source: Very Well

1. Self Awareness

Being aware of who you are is vital as it would go a long way to help you know how to make the best decisions for yourself and set boundaries. Here are steps on how to be aware of yourself  

2. First Seek Approval from within

Your first approval should be that which you give to yourself. If you do not first approve of yourself for who you are, you are already on the road to continue being a people pleaser. 

Focus first on what you have achieved for yourself and explore new interests.

3. Fight Low Self Esteem

After being aware of yourself, knowing your worth or values is self-esteem. Low Self-esteem is the mother of being a doormat. 

Know your strength, worth, and uniqueness.

4. It mustn’t always be a Yes. 

How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing
How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing

Let me tell you about Zara. 


Zara was one girl who never said no to anyone. Sometimes, she ended up not fulfilling her plans for the day because, in her mind, it was all about sacrificing and, in turn, keeping people happy.

In the office all of Zara’s colleagues lived close to the office, but Zara had to commute a far distance to work daily yet stayed extra hours some days helping her colleagues with their unfinished work. Because everyone knew that Zara was the one who wouldn’t say no to help, they gave excuses and left work early, knowing there was a Zara to finish up the task.  

It became so bad that the workload was so much on Zara that she neglected her health. 

She had less time to rest as she returned home late every day and still had to be at the office early the next day. 

She became ill. Not even one of those colleagues she sacrificed forever came to visit her while at the hospital, and neither did they call. 

Of course, as always, they all had excuses that they couldn’t visit. 

Until she resumed work again after her recovery. 

The experience made her realize that she needed to put herself first and her mental health first. 

So she started by setting boundaries and politely turning down extra work that would deprive her of her time to go home early to get a good rest and take care of her health.

Like Zara, you must know how to say no. You can start by using I. I’m sorry. I would love to help, but I have some other engagements I would love to support, but right now, I cannot afford it. 

So, stop saying Yes to every request. Not everyone would be happy about it, but it’s ok to say No. 

5. Keep  Boundaries

Oftentimes, being principled is mistaken for pride, arrogance, or rigidness. But by all means, have a limit to everything and the access you give to people, whether family, friends, or colleagues. 

Openly communicate your limit and stand by it no matter who it is. 

6. Avoid the urge to please people

 Avoid the urge to please people
Avoid the urge to please people

Sometimes, it just feels bad to turn some person down. But, identifying those persons who always set in motion your people-pleasing habit and having a set plan on how to  tackle them would help you to stop being 


7. Let go of your experiences

Sometimes, pleasing people emerges from experiences or upbringing. 

Suppose your upbringing was one where you were taught to meet other people’s expectations before yours. 

In that case, it is important to realize that it is wrong to meet other’s expectations and needs to the detriment of your expectations. 

So you must let go of that upbringing and rebuild a new school of thought where it’s first your need before others. 

It’s different from being selfish or self-centered. In trying to meet people’s expectations, make sure you’re happy and at peace within. 

8. Know What you want

If you fail to know what it is you want for yourself, you give people the chance to choose for you what you want, and in choosing for you, they decide what happens and how it happens even when you’re not happy about it. 

Your happiness is key. Think for yourself and decide what it is that you want.

9. Balance the shift between giving and receiving.

You know it’s not bad to be at the receiving end where other people have to make sacrifices for you. 

As important as you want to give your time, resources, kindness, assistance, appreciation, moral support, compliments, etc., to make others happy, allow others to do the same for you. 

10. Learn to manage conflicts

How to Stop Being a Doormat and Overcome People-Pleasing

Instead of avoiding conflicts, manage conflicts. You can do these by

  • Communicating your opinion without being insulted.
  • Regarding other people’s opinions, understand and respect them while you give alternative suggestions.
  • Honestly express your feelings and stop being afraid of criticism or disapproval. 
  • Stay positive in every challenge. 
  • Be positive to come out strong and learn from your experiences. It’s a part of a growth process you should be proud of. 


In Conclusion, remember that it’s a process to break free—your commitment to finding self, your efforts to seek your well-being. 

Celebrate every step you take towards breaking free, redefining every relationship( Spouse, work, family). 

Build healthy relationships where your opinion matters too, where your needs matter, and where there’s a balance between how much you give and that which you receive. 

Take charge of your life. 

Build your self-esteem, be open to receiving, and say no when it’s not convenient. It’s important to break free to reinstate your authenticity. 


How do you tell if you’re a doormat?

1. People take advantage of your kindness.
2. You’re not appreciated.
3. You don’t take care of yourself because you’re too busy taking care of everyone else.
4. You say yes when you don’t want to.
5. You feel burnt out on giving and not receiving.
6. You apologize for things you didn’t do.

What is the difference between being nice and being a doormat?

Being nice is from a position of power and awareness. You know that you do not need to do something for someone else but you choose to do it anyway. Being a doormat means having no control over what you do for others.

How do I stop being a push over and people-pleaser?

How I Learned to Stop Being a People-Pleaser
1. Become self-aware.
2. Realize that doing too much hurts, rather than helps, relationships.
3. Understand the importance of being authentic.
4. Learn to let go.
5. Realize that avoiding problems doesn’t promote growth.
6. Start navigating anxiety.
7. Learn self-acceptance.

What are signs of people pleasing?

10 Signs You’re a People Pleaser
You Cannot Say “No”
You Feel Guilty Setting Boundaries.
You Apologize for Things You Don’t Need To.
You Need Constant Approval.
You Have Low Self-Esteem.
You Always Agree in Order to Be Liked.

How do I change being a people pleaser?

8 Ways to Stop Being a People-Pleaser
1. Be true to yourself instead of trying to fit in.
2. Set healthy boundaries.
3. Stop making excuses.
4. Listen to your inner voice.
5. Spend some time alone.
6. Remember that you can’t please everyone.
7. Learn to be assertive and stand up for yourself.
8. Ask others for help.

Precious Ifeoma is an aspiring lawyer interested in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and International Human Rights. She’s an advocate of SDG 1, 2 and 4. She enjoys reading about psychology, watching movies, and listening to music.

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