ME MYSELF I!
Why putting yourself first can be a good thing.
Do you put other’s needs and desires before your own and find yourself going along with what everyone else wants to do so that you don’t rock the boat?
Do you struggle to say No?
Do you hear yourself say ‘yes’ before even considering your own feelings on the matter?
If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, then you’re running a People Pleasing Program. This program is negative to your self-esteem and damaging to your confidence. More importantly you may even be in danger of completely losing yourself in that role.
Getting lost in one of life’s roles can trigger a variety of problems such as anxiety, addictions, depression, phobias and sleep problems to name but a few.
Have you ever wondered why? Why the need to please?
The need for approval from others is usually borne out of fear. For example as children we have a natural need for the love and approval of our parents or significant others and if this is less than forthcoming it can leave a child feeling scared and heartbroken. As a result they try harder and harder to win approval in order to feel that they have a right to breathe and exist.
There are other reasons why the People Pleasing program can be triggered too, such as experiencing bullying. Many people bullied at school or work find themselves dealing with an emotional residue of fear and shame.
At what point does this need for approval stop?
It doesn’t. As I’ve said in earlier blogs, although we grow up chronologically and intellectually, we can get ‘stuck’ emotionally. So unless we pay conscious attention to our uncomfortable feelings and learn to become assertive we may stay stuck for a long time.
The People Pleasing program dictates that the needs and desires of others are more important than our own. In which case it will seem really hard be clear about our own boundaries.
On occasions and in a rather dramatic attempt to have clients pay more attention to their own needs, I’ve been known to get up in the middle of a session and casually prop the door wide open! It’s a rare client who challenges this odd behaviour of mine and I’m usually left squirming with discomfort for a while before asking “Is it okay that the door’s wide open?” The response is often about me and my comfort levels, rather than about their feelings or right to confidentiality. This is a good starting point to explore how it really felt to have the door wide open (it’s closed by now) and to look at their comfort levels and boundaries.
I then bang on with my mantra ‘ We Teach Others How To Treat Us We Teach Others How To Treat Us We Teach Others How To Treat Us’
The effort and energy involved in pleasing others before considering your own needs can be tiring and frustrating, because the deeper recognition of not being true to yourself can leave you feeling like a fraud. The lack of authenticity can lead to dissatisfaction with yourself, your relationships and life in general.
So how can you avoid this cycle?
One of the ways I worked on overcoming my own people pleasing program was by giving myself space, sometimes through my yoga practice or in meditation, just allowing myself a bit of time for reflection. Sometimes re-running an imaginary scene of how I would like to have handled a situation, gave me an opportunity to ‘try on’ new behaviour.
What can you do to give yourself space and time for reflection?
With time for reflection try working with the notion of filling your cup first.
Let me ask you, if your cup is full and you have absolutely everything you want, you’ve taken care of your needs and desires to the best of your ability, what do you then want?
The answer most people give is ‘for the good of others‘
It might seem selfish to put yourself first if you’re used to looking out for others but think of it in the same light as an oxygen mask in a plane, how can you help your children or others to survive, if you can’t breathe yourself!
Once we become more comfortable taking care of ourselves, we are in a better position to ‘give’ authentically and unconditionally to others.
Write down 5 things that you could do now to nurture yourself. Leave your comments below you never know they could be really helpful to someone else.
Thanks for reading.