Standards: -Overcoming People Pleasing, Bolstering Self-Worth, & Setting Boundaries-

The following article includes:

1) Signs you are a people pleaser

2) A brief examination of my people pleasing history & why I felt the necessity to establish boundaries

3) How to understand your worth

4) Suggestions for how to understand your boundaries & why they matter

5) Lastly, ideas of how to do it in a classy manner.  


1) The Chameleon, The Doormat, The Puppet on a String: Signs You are a People Pleaser 


Are you exhausted from trying to change yourself to socially fit in all different relationships & settings? Do you let people insult you, or act in ways where you feel manipulated or abused? Do you incessantly chase other peoples’ dreams? 


If you spend much energy tangled in a confluence of what you perceive to be other peoples’ thoughts & priorities & still feel like an anxiously wound person who is one moment away from screaming like the Grinch in yoga class, then you are very likely a people pleaser. 


But, fear not. This article is dedicated to bolstering awareness of yourself as well as how to overcome the “disease to please”. 



“The Grinch Tries Yoga”


(My sisters & I watch this on repeat on days when we need a little morale boost).


2) A Girl Majoring in Pre-med, Humanities, & Public Health. Oh, & with 2 Minors: My Brief History of People Pleasing

As of one year ago, I was a puppet girl on strings. In high school, I didn’t audition for solos I wanted because I knew that other girl wanted them. I began University at a school other than Miami in an attempt to please my family. And, in addition to my 3 Majors & 2 minors, I was involved in BOTH Young Republicans & Young Democrats to promote the notion that I value diversity of thought (even though, I thought it was a waste of 2 hours every week I went). 

Well, it wasn’t until June 2018 when I acquiesced to go pick up one of my male floor mates at 2:30 a.m. from a remote parking lot. I thought it was kind that I go get him, but when he proceeded to suggest I sit on his lap (among other things) & I felt abhorrently guilty for saying “no”, I figured I should probably set some boundaries. 




3) You are Money. Pure Money: Understanding Your Worth Through Self-Awareness. 


 A hundred dollar bill is a hundred dollar bill. It doesn’t matter if you crinkle it, step on it, lick it, put it through the wash, etc.. The reason currency works is because people assume it is inherently valuable. When people think of winning the lottery, they likely don’t think about sitting with money & doing nothing with it. No. They are thinking of the sense of security (or insecurity in some cases) they will experience, imagine the mansion they will live in, & the experiences they can now gladly afford. 


Hi. Humans are also perceived as a particular value. Perhaps you have heard jargon thrown around such as “high-value person” or “high-quality human”. This terminology exists to differentiate the “toxic people” from worthwhile friends & life partners. 


How do you know your worth? You can either accept it or if you are more logically reasoning like me, you must become more aware of your strengths, talents, & contributions (which can include your energy if you are more spiritual). When you begin to dissect your worthiness, it is important to delve further into your negative thoughts & inquire why they exist. Avoid judging yourself harshly. Instead, attempt to appreciate the past & your previous “mistakes & inferiority”. Recognize you are seeking to establish a better self-based on a foundation of who you currently are. 



Perhaps take personality quizzes such as 16 personalities to better identify your strengths & ideas of how you can play a positive contribution in friendships, family, & romantic relationships. You can also use Strengths Finders to rationalize your abilities in day-to-day life. 


16 Personalities: 


Strengths Finder: 


Additionally, admit you have weaknesses. And, to take it a step further, if you have a weakness in focusing too much on tiny details, share appreciation for others when you see others carry the strength of seeing the big picture. If you gratefully appreciate this difference, it is a tell-tale sign that you understand your value & are no longer as self-conscious. 


*The more self-aware you are, the more you truly understand your value. So, check books out from the library, read up on how to become more aware, & practice self-awareness. 


**Understand that what you perceive to be valuable may not be considered worthy for a specific career, on the other side of a relationship, or among a group of people. 


As a bonus, check out these articles regarding the ideas of people who value their self-worth.


10 Things Women Who Value Their Self-Value Do Differently In Relationships: 


Signs of Healthy Self-Esteem: 



4) Suggestions for How to Understand Your Boundaries, Why They Matter, & Examples of Standards


Being a people pleaser & having low-self worth can interfere with living your most authentic life. 

When you become more self-aware, you will hold a firmer grasp on your motivations & desires. With your increased self-value, you understand your power to cut those puppet strings that bind you to being the chameleon, doormat, and puppet that people have learned to expect from you. Maintaining boundaries is a sign of respect toward yourself & they help ensure that we have healthy relationships which, generally, social creatures biologically crave. 


In addition to becoming more self-aware of what you will & will not care to tolerate in your life, check out this website or search for more ideas on boundaries to set:


Examples of My Boundaries:

#1: People May Not Tell Me What I Want or Don’t Want. 

#21: Expect Me to Drop Everything at A Drop Of a Hat (Unless it is an Emergency)

#22: Lie About Something Being an Emergency When You Just Wanted Someone to Watch a Movie With You or something along these lines (You just lost my trust). 



Boundaries do not only benefit yourself. 

For example, often times, lately, friends have complained about “not having time to spend with friends” because they are too focused on school & their romantic partners. If my friend “Lola” and her boyfriend “Leonardo” communicate effectively, they could likely establish times to spend together that allow them to go to class, work, get it to the gym, spend time with the “Bros”, & do “Girls Day Out”. Even if they are spending less time together, their relationship is probably better off since they no longer resent each other for “taking up so much time”.



Boundaries on Yourself 

In addition to holding standards for others, I maintain my own (mostly) private list of standards for myself which includes some of my personal favorites: 


#13: Don’t be a Peacock. Prodesse Quam Conspici. (which essentially means keep up with the humble hustle)


#2: Emphasize Connection-listen. Wait 3 seconds before speaking, Ask follow-up questions. 

Remember to encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions, & help throw rocks at their enemies (if I deem it a worthy cause). 


#33: Do not pursue relationships that involve ghosting, submarining, or breadcrumbing. (This refers to #6: Dismiss the Toxic People- If you are related, live, or work with them, limit your interactions & keep it positive. Emphasize the healthful relationships.) 



5) Designer Brand Partitions: Ideas of How to Maintain Standards in a Simple & Classy Manner


If you are currently a people pleaser or have been in the past, then you likely strive to be nice & avoid conflict, so here are some pointers of how to act on behalf of your standards. 


Most Crucially, you will want to: 

  1. Indicate your boundaries 
  2. If people desire more information on your boundaries, you may choose to share your reasoning.
  3. Repeat: Continually strive to keep your word & maintain boundaries. As an ironic bonus for ending the “please disease”, you may be perceived as more dependable & of higher worth. 


Bonus mannerisms to communicate your standards in a simple & classy manner:

-Stay calm

-Avoid Vulgar Language

-Strive to speak to Others in A Way that Suggests You Understand From 

-keep your finest posture



We Made It! Candidly, this is the longest amount of time I have spent on writing a HerCampus article (especially since it involves over a decade of my personal history as a people pleaser). Hopefully, you find this article of value like how you find value in your self & can appreciate the value in other people. If you have any questions or comments to contribute to this discussion, please post below (or reach out if you know the any of Miami HC branch personally).