Hey People-Pleaser, Time To Take A Risk!

“What?” Katie, a pleasant, thirty-eight-year-old looked surprised.  

 PEOPLE-PLEASING IS LEARNED BEHAVIOR         “It’s true,” I answered, “People-pleasing is a learned behavior. You know what I mean. In order to feel safe and get along in the world, you learned to pretend things were okay when they were not.

Instead of being honest and sharing what you really felt and wanted, you learned to accept whatever people handed you. You learned to avoid confrontation whatever the cost.” 

“Early in life,” I continued, “it probably felt safer not to argue or stand up for yourself-- to ‘make nice.’ So you repeated that ‘get-along nicely’ behavior over and over. The problem is that without realizing it, each time you repeated it, you made changes to your brain and body until people-pleasing became automatic and ‘easy’—a way of life.” 

“Learning to people-please is like learning any other skill—riding a bike, typing, or swimming. The more you repeat the behavior, the better you become at doing it, even if the “skill” (refusing to discuss an issue, feeling like a victim, or silently blaming others) is destructive or useless.” 

“So you learned very well how to get along ‘nice and easy.’ Allowing yourself to be honest may even seem dangerous. You may be afraid to be real (though you may not allow yourself to feel the fear). Because you usually react as a non-confrontational, people-pleaser you probably believe this is who you really are.”

 YOU HAVE A FALSE SELF AND A HEALTHY BEST REAL SELF           “But Katie,” I said, “that is not the whole story. Yes, you have that make-nice-at-any-cost part of you. I call it a false self. But you are ignoring the best of who you are. The gentle, loving part of you that wants kindness and harmony, that’s the best of who you are--the real you.”

“Circumstances, experiences and choices can morph the best of anyone into an anxious people-pleaser. Fear and the need to get along can distort your thoughts and make it feel dangerous to tell people what you want.”

“Anyone may create a false self to get along--to feel safe and in control. But repeatedly acting as the false self, causes that self to seem like the real self. In fact, the false people-pleaser can become so powerful that eventually it seems impossible to be honest and let others know where you stand—to set boundaries with others.  It feels too scary to come out of hiding.”

YOU CAN LEARN TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT           “But there is good news.” I continued, “Just as you learned to hide and make nice, you can unlearn it and learn to do something different! You can learn to be honest, but kind, and say what’s on your mind. Sure, it takes effort and time, but the alternative is to stay stuck doing the same useless and hurtful things over and over.”

WHAT ABOUT IT?  ARE YOU READY FOR A CHANGE?         These four steps can take you where you want to go. 

  • ·      Step 1:  Recognize when you go into your people-pleaser self.
  • ·      Step 2:  Label what you are feeling (anger, fear, shame). Then let go of those           feelings, safely and appropriately. (There are specific techniques for this.)
  • ·      Step 3:  See the big picture (your strengths and possibilities as well as your         weaknesses). Then focus on the positive.  
  •     Step 4:  Replace the negative with the positive and take a risk.  Act on it!

Would you like to learn more about why you fall back on people-pleasing and your false self? Take a look at Become the Person You Were Meant to Be - The Choice-Cube® Method: Step by Step to Choice and Change http://amzn.to/N7PKTh . In this book, I help you understand why you are the way you are. I provide simple tools to give you choice and take the four key steps to help you change.  Copyright Dr. Beth Blevins Cujé  2012  http://www.choicecube.com.


Four Steps You Can Take Right Now To Change Your Life

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Are you feeling stuck? Do you want to make some changes? You may feel conflicted, uncertain, or unequipped to make changes. You may even have felt this way for a while. But there is a way out. It's not complicated either. If you want to make changes to your life take these four steps. They can make a world of difference. But there's a secret. The four steps won't change you.

THE SECRET TO CHANGE     Guess what will help you change... Truth and compassion * Yes, ultimately in all situations, it is not tools, techniques or steps, but truth and compassion that bring genuine change and healing, 

FOUR STEPS FOR TRUTH AND COMPASSION/CHOICE AND CHANGE  Step 1 - Body: Pay attention. Stay aware. Be an "objective observer" of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. What truth is your body trying to tell you? If you feel stressed, have some tools on hand to help you manage your stress and move on to Step 2.

Step 2 - Emotions: Don't be afraid to know the truth of what you feel. Allow yourself to feel your emotions and label them. You do not have to act on them. Emotions are signals from your body that tell you to pay attention and decide if what you are doing, or what is being done to you, is helpful or harmful. If you don't have tools to interrupt negative emotions and replace them, learn some. Then use them. Emotions can enrich your life if you know how to manage them well.

Step 3 - Mind: If you manage your stress and negative emotions it's time to look for the meaning you are attaching to the person, thing, action or problem that is upssetting you. Now is the time to look at yourself and see what needs to change within you. Be honest and patient with yourself  and others. Can you you stop focusing on something or someone outside of you that you think is the problem? Are you willing to take responsibility for your part in the problem? If so, you give yourself choice.

When you can see the problem and the meaning you attach; if you take responsibility for what you think, feel, want, and do; you can see the problem but also look for your options and strengths. When you can see both, try to seesaw between the two until you are ready to choose which one you prefer to focus on. This choice is critical because whatever you focus on will result in more of the same. Your focus will cause you to see what you are already looking for! This causes or reinforces the formation of mental and behavioral habits, healthy and harmful. 

Step 4 - Will/Desires:  Now, if you have managed your stress, negative emotions, and the meaning you attach--Steps 1 through 3--you can stop trying to avoid or control everything inappropriately. You can do something different. You can make changes and take action to resolve issues win-win--so that you and others feel fairly dealt with. You can replace the negative and act on the positive.

These the 4 Steps of the Choice-Cube Method for choice and change found in Become the Person You Were Meant to Be. In addition to the 4 Steps, this book also provides a Checklist for self-understanding and Tools for choice and change. Once you learn the Steps and Tools you can use them over and over to find immediate relief in the present and to make long-term lasting changes.

*Truth is defined here as a relatively realistic and complete picture of yourself, others, and the situation.Compassion is defined as consciousness of others’ and your own distress with a desire to alleviate it.

4 Proven Steps For Change

Hank was frustrated! He knew he should work things out with Franny, but he was so tired of arguing that he just did not want to make the effort. Trying to work things out with her seemed impossible. What about you? Has life ever seemed a battle between what you knew you should do and what you were willing to do? Have you ever felt you were losing the battle and that there was no way to resolve an issue? 

ONLY THREE CHOICES    The truth is that in every situation you have only three kinds of choices. And everything depends on the choice you make. You can try to avoid an issue. That's what Hank was doing. You can try to control it (use anger or try harder with no good results) or change and successfully resolve it.

It’s only natural to want to avoid or control an issue. Who wants to tangle with a snarling dog? But trying to avoid or control a snarling boss can lead to bigger and nastier problems. Problems start when we fail to resolve issues and get stuck trying to avoid or control them inappropriately.

Here's a important thought. With each choice we make, we program ourselves!

4 SIMPLE STEPS FOR CHANGE     If we choose to take responsibility for what we think, feel, want, and do, we begin to change the only thing we can change. . .ourselves. Let's look at the following 4 steps that can help us make important changes and solve problems.          

STEP 1:  We recognize when, instead of wanting to resolve an issue win-win, we try to avoid it (go shopping, dump on a friend, just give up) or control it (be right, no compromise).

STEP 2:  We manage our stress and express our emotions appropriately.

STEP 3:  We think more clearly now because we have dealt with out stress and negative emotions. Now, we can see the pros and cons of the situation and focus on finding a solution to the problem instead of focusing on the problem itself.

STEP 4:   We do something different and take honest, compassionate action.

THE CHOICE-CUBE METHOD CAN HELP    You may want to look at the Choice-Cube Method’s tools and 4 key steps as one way to make wise choices and changes. The method is found in my book, Become the Person You Were Meant To Be - The Choice-Cube Method:  Step by Step to Choice and Change. Click here to see inside the book.