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.
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 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 by finding something small to say "no" to, and 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.