Here’s some good news: Being a people pleaser isn’t a permanent trait. What’s more, it can manifest from a young age (read: It’s not your fault you have trouble saying no). 

As physician and renowned speaker Gabor Maté, M.D., bestselling author of The Myth of Normal, explains, people receive messages in early childhood that in order to be acceptable, they have to be compliant. “They have to suppress their own will, their own needs, their own perspective, and they have to serve others,” he says on the show. As a result, they feel uncomfortable saying no as they grow older.

“Nature’s agenda is that we should all develop into independent human beings with our own sense of what we want and what we don’t want, our own sense of values, our own sense of perspective on the world, our own desires,” he shares. “In other words: Nature wants to set a boundary between ourselves and other people’s will.” 

But if you don’t know how to say no, “your yeses don’t mean a thing,” says Maté. If you begrudgingly say yes to a task, you can also grow resentful, which can have physiological impacts on your body. “Furthermore, you’ll be tired afterward because you’re already tired to start with,” says Maté. “So, not saying no has impacts on you.” Consider it your sign to set good, healthy boundaries.

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