How many of us are always saying yes, even when we really want to say no? Are you constantly finding yourself in situations where you feel as though you’re going against your values, and your own priorities simply to please others? If you are someone who puts aside the very things that you need in your life, for the sake of others, help is on its way. In this episode, we delve into why you have the irrepressible urge to be a people pleaser and how this can be detrimental to your life, your goals, your values as well as your energy levels. If you want more out of life and you are looking to achieve greater things, you must learn to say no now and get comfortable with the discomfort of saying no.

Today’s show discusses ways in which you can make yourself the priority in your life and start focusing on your own needs and desires by setting boundaries, and how you can learn to say no when a boundary violation occurs. We explain the importance of examining your motivations and intentions for saying yes, e.g. it may be that you do things only because you fear rejection or seek approval from others. Remember that putting your own needs first, doesn’t mean that you can no longer be a kind and thoughtful person. You must continue to be kind, but most importantly you must be kind to yourself first. It’s time to learn to say no and stop putting the needs of others before your own future happiness.

In this episode
01:10 – Being a People Pleaser
03:17 – Stop being a YES person
06:18 – The price we pay for saying YES to everyone
08:10 – Feeling like a bad inconsiderate person
09:14 – Learn to say NO now
10:05 – Feeling Guilty
13:27 – Strong healthy relationship
14:19 – Energy Levels
17:11 – Action steps to stop being a people pleaser?
17:28 – Establishing boundaries and violation
19:10 – Saying No to a text request
20:34 – Continue being kind on your own terms


Dr Marisa Lee Naismith is excited to announce the release of her new book “Singing Contemporary Commercial Music Styles: A Pedagogical Framework” published by Compton Publications UK. Marisa offers this book as a starting point and as CCM markets continue to evolve, she encourages that we, as a voice community, continue to evolve, debate and communally add to this framework.



Visit the A Voice and Beyond Youtube channel to watch back the video replay of this guest interview or to see my welcome video.

Episode Transcription

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  00:00

Hi. It’s Marisa Lee here. And I’m so excited to be sharing today solo round episode with you. Whether you’re a member of the voice community, or beyond your voice is your unique gift. And my mission, which has been inspired by my own personal and professional journey is to empower you to share your gift with others. Now is the time for you to discover your voice in life, develop a positive mindset, and become the best and most authentic version of yourself to create greater impact. Ultimately, you can take charge, and you can become the director of your own life. It’s time for you to live your best live. It’s time now for A Voice and Beyond. So, without further ado, let’s go to today’s episode.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:10

How many of us feel that we are people pleasers, and that we need to put other people’s happiness before our own? How many of us are always saying yes, even when we really just want to say no? Does this sounds like you? Are you constantly in situations where you feel like you’re going against your values and your own priorities, and what you need to accomplish. And in fact, almost everything that is important to you, you find that you’re putting aside the very things that you need in your life right now, for the sake of others?

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  01:58

You’re like, I know I need to get sleep. But I have to get this done for a colleague. I know I need to rest and recover this weekend. But I promised that I would do this for my client. You know, you really don’t want to go out on Friday night. But you still find yourself going out till the early hours of the morning sacrificing sleep and sacrificing rest just to make somebody else happy. Then you end up skipping the gym the next morning, which is the only thing you do for yourself all week, because you didn’t get enough sleep. And you end up feeling lousy about yourself all weekend. And for what realistically, would that person like you any less if you didn’t go out with them on Friday night, I think you are getting where I’m coming from by now. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  03:02

In this episode, I’m going to share how being a people pleaser can be detrimental to your life, your goals, your values, and it gets you absolutely nowhere. It’s time to stop being a yes person and constantly going against what you feel you need. All the things you need to do for yourself on any given day. Or any given moment, just so you can be a people pleaser, doesn’t get you anywhere other than making you absolutely miserable. This is the reality of the world we live in for many of us, especially due to technology. Because we are constantly connected and on call. People can get a hold of us whenever they want. There’s nowhere to hide. And by the way, I’m not immune to this either. I have set myself up for these situations and distractions in the past. In fact, I have been a total sitting duck feeling like I have to be at everyone’s beck and call. I am slowly getting better at saying no. And I continue to work on making this a habit over time. Actually, you know what? I think I’m under estimating myself here. And I’ve gotten pretty good at using the word no right now. Just ask my husband. He’ll tell you I’m not a pushover. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  04:42

It’s just that I suppose I still make mistakes. And I pay the price for it when I go against what is right for me or do the things that I absolutely don’t want to do. Or hang with the people who are nice The tip and energy suckers, I ended up feeling unwell and feeling exhausted both physically and mentally, I ended up feeling like all my energy has been zapped. And then I can’t give my best to the things that I really want to give my best to. And that’s the price I pay when I end up saying yes, and putting other people’s needs before my own. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  05:30

So if any of you have experienced this, you need to listen up. By the end of this episode, I want you to feel inspired, and believe that you too can stop being a people pleaser. And you too, can learn to say no. It’s time now for you to make yourself the priority in your life. And start focusing on your own needs and desires and setting boundaries by learning to say no, trust me, people will respect you for it.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  06:18

You know, there is a price to being a people pleaser. And what’s really interesting is that when we say yes to someone or something that is not a priority to us, and give it our best, we end up doing the very thing that is important to us and our own needs at our worst. This makes no sense. Research shows. And by the way, this isn’t rocket science, that many people agree to do things, even those things they would prefer not to do, simply to avoid the terrible discomfort of saying no, so many people have this discomfort, this awkward feeling this uncomfortable feeling when they have to say no. And because they want to avoid conflict, so desperately, they’re prepared to forego their own happiness, their own needs, and the things that are most important to them, their families and their futures. If this is you, you are basically being a traitor to yourself, and sabotaging your own life and your own needs. Just because you want to fit in with others, and you want them to like you. So you choose to hurt yourself rather than upset someone else. We as humans, we get our priorities so wrong at times. You can see the problem with this, right? 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  07:59

Some people would rather hurt themselves than upset someone else. Let’s think about that further for a moment. How many times have you said yes to something just because you don’t want to feel like a bad inconsiderate person. This is ridiculous and simply unbelievable when I put it in these terms. So what you’re basically thinking is that when you do the right thing by yourself, that makes you a bad, inconsiderate person. Right? That is messed up thinking and that is no way to live. How does that make any sense that you like yourself more? When you do things that you don’t like just to please others. And you dislike yourself more when you do the very things that are meaningful to you? Clearly, you don’t think much of yourself. And if you know people like that they have a distorted opinion of their lives and themselves too. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  09:14

If you want more out of life, and you are looking to achieve greater things, you have to learn to say no now and get comfortable in the discomfort of saying no, you must put yourself first because if you start achieving some of those goals that are important to you, or start finding your true purpose in life, your life will get busier. And you will start to feel more and more guilty when it’s time to say no. So that’s why you must stop saying yes and learn to say no now.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  10:05

No one should feel bad or feel guilty for saying, no, let’s explore this. Why do we feel bad and guilty for putting ourselves first? Well, there could be a number of reasons. One of them is that we don’t want to be seen as the bad guy, or the selfish guy, or the main person, right? We all care way too much about what others think of us. I grew up in a culture where it was so important what people thought about you, up until I moved away from that community, my whole life was consumed by making sure that before I did anything, and everything, that there was no way I was doing something that was going to cause people to gossip, or bring shame to my family. In that community, we were raised to consider what is my family going to say, if I wear this dress? What is my neighbor going to say, if I leave my car parked in the driveway all night, instead of putting it in the garage? What will all my friends say if I leave my husband, even though he’s a total douchebag, a total loser, and the worst person on earth? Am I going to bring shame to my family? You see in that community, there were so many women in unhappy marriages, because it was a disgrace to divorce. So women stayed in marriages and in relationships, because they were guilted, about leaving their husbands. They were made to feel that no one would ever look at them again. And they were scarred for life because of gossip and scandal. People, you have to learn to be true to yourself and live life on your terms. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  12:06

Another reason we feel guilty is because when someone asks something of us, we tell ourselves that for sure that person would do it for me if I asked them, and we don’t want to let them down. But you know, life doesn’t always work out like that. I found myself in this situation only recently, when I was let down by someone who I thought was a close friend. This friend was going through a really difficult time and I took on the role of really trying my best to help them out of their funk. I was their cheerleader, and I almost became their therapist. I put aside my only day off every week to spend time with them, when all I really wanted to do was go to my favorite Pilates class. I did this for months and months. And then when it came that I needed support, that person was nowhere to be found. Not a text message, not a phone call. And yet I know they’re constantly on social media. So don’t tell me they’re busy. I asked you has this happened to you? Because I can tell you it really hurts. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  13:27

My takeaway from this whole situation is that a strong healthy relationship involves a certain degree of both parties, reciprocating the giving and sharing of the love. If one person is always giving and the other is always taking it often means that one person is foregoing the things that they need to ensure that the other person has what they want. This simply isn’t fair. Even if you enjoy pleasing others, it’s important to remember the other person should also be taking steps to give to you in return.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  14:19

I am so protective of my energy levels. And here’s the question that we all need to be asking ourselves and we must learn to ask this of ourselves. Do I have the time and the energy to do that very thing that person needs me to do? Ask yourself if I do it will I still have the energy to do everything that I already had planned to do for myself and all the things that are important to me. You see time and energy are valuable resources to me and they both are in limited Supply in my life as I’m sure they are in yours. Consider this… Maybe you can squeeze more into your time, but you can’t squeeze more out of your energy, and squeezing more out of your energy is such a draining thing. It’s the worst thing. Things have a funny way of catching up. And sometimes you are setting yourself up for a big letdown by being a people pleaser. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  15:30

So we shouldn’t feel bad and we shouldn’t feel guilty for saying no, because chances are, we could feel worse. If we say yes, we’re going to feel drained, we’re going to feel less energy. And what ends up happening is we often deflect that negativity onto those people that we truly love. Those people who really matter, like our friends, our husbands and our kids, our families. Right. So now, not only are we unhappy with what we did with our time, not only are we drained of energy, we now have a negative attitude towards others, and we hate ourselves for being so easy to manipulate. It’s time to consider where do you want to spend your time? Who do you want to help? What goals are you trying to accomplish? Knowing your priorities can help you determine whether or not you have the time and the energy to devote to other things and other people. If something is zapping your energy, or taking way too much of your time, take steps to address this problem. As you practice setting those boundaries, and saying no to those things you really don’t want to do, you’ll find that you have way more time to devote to the things that are very important to you instead.

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:11

If you’re a yes person, please don’t despair. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to stop being a people pleaser. And you can learn how to balance your desire to make others happy without sacrificing your own. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  17:28

Firstly, you can establish boundaries and know when something constitutes a boundary violation. It’s important to know your limits, establish these clear boundaries, and then go and communicate those limits wherever necessary. Be clear and be very specific about what you’re willing to take on. And if it seems like someone is asking far too much from you, just let them know that it’s not within the bounce of what you’re able to take on and that you simply can’t help them. I know it can be hard to make sudden changes in your life. So you can start small. And if this is too much for your people pleasing tendencies, is perfectly acceptable to tell someone that you are only available for a specific period of time during the day. This ensures that you have control of not only what you’re willing to do, but also when you’re willing to do it. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  18:36

Changes in behavior can be difficult not only for you, but for those around you too. You may find that you not only have to retrain yourself, but you also have to work on teaching others around you to understand your limits. This may need baby steps so start by saying no to smaller requests. Try expressing your opinion about something small or ask for something that you may need. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:10

You can also start by saying no to a text request. Then work your way up to telling people no in person. Practice in different settings or situations, such as when talking to salespeople or ordering at a restaurant, or even when dealing with co-workers. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  19:33

Every time you take a small step away from being a people pleaser. You will become more confident and that will help you take back control of your life. If you start to feel overwhelmed or tempted to cave in, build your mojo with positive self talk. Remind yourself that your goals are important and that you You shouldn’t feel obligated to give away your time and energy on things that don’t bring you joy. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:07

This doesn’t mean that you’re no longer kind and thoughtful, because those are desirable qualities that contribute to building strong and lasting relationships. The key is to examine your motivations and your intentions. Don’t be a people pleaser only because you fear rejection or you want the approval of others. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  20:34

It’s okay to keep being kind, but do it on your terms. Kindness doesn’t demand attention or rewards. It simply requires a desire to make things better for another person. It’s time now for you to stop saying yes, and learn to say no in those moments that matter to you. You are worth the effort. Always have been and always will be. 

Dr Marisa Lee Naismith  21:10

Thank you so much for listening to this episode of A Voice and Beyond. I hope you enjoyed it as now is an important time for you to invest in your own self care, personal growth and education. Use every day as an opportunity to learn and to grow so you can show up feeling empowered and ready to live your best life. If you know someone who will also be inspired by this episode, please be sure to copy and paste the link and share it with them. Or share it on social media and use the #AVoiceAndBeyond. I promise you I am committed to bringing you more inspiration and conversations just like this one every week. And if you would like to help me please rate and review this podcast and cheer me on by clicking the subscribe button on Apple Podcast right now. I would also love to know what it is that you most enjoyed about this episode and what was your biggest takeaway? Please take care and I look forward to your company next time on the next episode of A Voice and Beyond.

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