people pleasing

Other People's Opinions: When Praise Makes You Soar and Criticism Makes You Cry

Day 7: Opinions

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What is it about other people’s opinions of us that can have us all up in our heads or coddling our hearts?

There’s a part of us that believes them.

We don’t have rock solid beliefs about ourselves and so when someone else, especially someone we admire shares their beliefs about us we pay attention and give it more weight then it’s worth.

We latch on to what they say. We make it mean something really really good about us or really really bad about us.

When they rave about how amazing we are, it feels good because for a minute we believe we are amazing.

When they criticize us and tear us down, it feels awful because we believe them. Some part of us believes that what they’re saying must be true.

What if we decided to believe what we want to believe about ourselves?

What if we decided to believe that we are amazing no matter what?

Here’s three things to keep in mind about other people’s opinions of you:

1) They are never really about you. They are about the person sharing the opinion. They have all sorts of thoughts about you. So will the next person. And the next person. Guess what? Those opinions will vary. People like what they like for their own reasons. It has nothing to do with you. You may remind them of someone that they don’t like. You may remind them of someone that they love dearly and miss. Really, it’s not about you.

2) Their opinions of you are none of your business. When you’re busy being you, you won’t have the time or desire to try and figure out what someone else is thinking about you. Why spend time trying to guess what’s in their brain? There’s no reason to want to know their opinion about you because they’re allowed to have their own thoughts. They have the right to think whatever they want to think about you. This is a beautiful thing! It means you get to form your own opinions as well. Just because!

3) Let them be wrong about you. It’s ok for others to be wrong about you. If you’re not believing their story about you, over your story about you, there’s not a problem. The problem begins when you believe what they think more then what you think. If their opinion is bothering you, ask yourself why? Is it because you agree with them? Embrace it if so. Why resist something that has some truth in it?

ADHD and Making Waves: How To Speak Up Without Rocking The Boat

Day 6: Speak Up

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There are so many times in my life that I’ve opted to keep my mouth shut, rather then speak up.

Why?

Because I didn’t want to rock the boat.

A calm lake was my cup of tea. Smooth sailing, no ripples. I didn’t want to make waves.

I often chose to stay quiet…

if a meal came out and it wasn’t how I ordered it.

when I disagreed with my husband about something

if a boss asked me to do something that I really didn’t have the bandwith to do

at one of many home parties that I attended when I really didn’t want to buy anything but felt obligated to

when I didn’t like the way my nails were done

if I disagreed with a popular opinion

during a discussion when the other person’s energy was stronger than mine

In all of these instances the action that I chose was INaction. I chose to do nothing. (Which by the way is still doing something.)

The feeling that drove my inaction was typically fear.

Fear of what the other person may think. Fear of appearing rude. Fear of losing status in the other person’s eyes. Fear of being perceived a certain way. Fear of seeming unreasonable. Fear of appearing ridiculous. Fear of rejection. Fear of sounding dumb. Fear of where the conversation may end up (Not sure where, but for sure somewhere bad!).

So much fear.

I’d often tell myself I was taking “the higher road”. Like there is such a thing.

What if there is just truth or untruth?

We’re either telling the truth or we’re not. We’re either lying or we’re not.

When we lie to ourselves so that it’s easier to lie to others, the price is high. We stop respecting ourselves.

We compromise our integrity. We hold others in higher regard than we hold ourselves. The problem with that is that it’s often a lie too.

The only way to authentically love others is to authentically love ourselves.

When we love ourselves flaws and all, and are willing to listen to what we have to say and think, and hold the space for our opinion to be one of many valuable opinions…we then open up to loving others, flaws and all, listening to what they have to say and think, and then holding the space for their thoughts to also be one of many valuable opinions in the world.

The exchange can then become honest and true and loving vs fake and false and manipulative.

It will take a bit of bravery on our part. Are you up for it? ~Shaun

Oh and ps…about that title…there’s no way to speak up and guarantee that you won’t rock someone’s boat. How someone feels is completely on them. You can’t control it at all. So speak up and trust that they will be able to take care of themselves.

If you consider yourself a people pleaser and would like to learn another way to interact with others I’d love to talke with you. When you discover who it is you want to be, how to show up and be that person, a weight is lifted. So much time and energy is wasted when we overthink how to respond, what others might think, and why they might think it. Jump on a call with me by clicking the button below and booking a free consultation. If you’re ready for change in your life let’s do it! Coaching can help get you from where you are to where you want to be. It gets you looking at what’s possible for your future vs what’s probable based on your past.


The Need To Be Needed

Day 1: People Pleasing

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I just want to help...

It sounds like a pretty thought. Until you find yourself accomodating others at your own expense.

What do I mean by that?

If you love being able to help others, but find yourself panic-stricken, stressed out, overthinking things, worrying about how you may come across, and ignoring your inner voice, you may want to dig a little deeper.

If you worry about how someone else will receive your message, or what they may think about it. You may want to dig a little bit deeper.

If you think “helping” is creating an environment where someone else is able to feel safe, secure, loved, connected, and supported. You may want to dig a little deeper. That’s an impossible goal. How people feel is ultimately up to them. It’s based on all of their past experiences and their thoughts.

You can contribute to how somone feels, but you’re never responsible for it.

Let’s say that louder for the people in the back.

You can CONTRIBUTE to how someone feels, but you’re never RESPONSIBLE for it.

That goes the other way too. Other people can contribute to how you feel, but they are never responsible for it. Only you are.

Doing a good deed and helping out can feel really good. It's when it starts to feel bad that we want to take a closer look.

When we have a strong need to be needed, we can overlook our own needs.

Feelings of resentment, anger, frustration, and anxiety can indicate that deep down you may feel like if those around you are happy, then you can be happy. But you’re pushing aside your own needs to do so.

This is an age old message that many of us learned in childhood.

As children, we may have learned that if we behaved in a certain way, we would get the love and affection from our parents that we desired.

When we were "good girls and boys" they seemed happy. When we misbehaved, they'd get angry.

Monitoring our behavior became a way of guaranteeing that we could earn their love and affection. We learned that we were responsible for how our parents felt. That we actually could make them happy.

The thought was simple "do whatever we could to keep them happy. To keep the peace."

For some of us we carry that message into our adult lives.

We believe that the main way to interact with people is to be pleasing to them.

The problem is what pleases one person will not please another person.

We all have different likes and preferences.

We can become so busy pleasing others that we forget to please ourselves.

We may not even know what it is that we like, because we've never paid attention to that. We've made it our habit to only notice what others like and follow suit.

So how might this show up?

Maybe someone's...

  • having a rough day.

  • needing a favor

  • wanting to vent about something

  • just living their life when you suddenly see a way to make things even "better"

  • figuring things out

What do you do?

You may...

  • jump in to help

  • roll up your sleeves and get to work

  • rearrange your schedule

  • ignore your preferences

  • suck it up and keep your honest opinion to yourself

Why? Because you know, they're upset. Why not just keep the peace? It's not that hard to do.

Over time “keeping the peace” can chip away at you until you are a big ole bundle of nerves.

When I dug a bit deeper, the first step for me was noticing when I felt that small familiar flutter in my chest.

It happened in situations that for many people would seem like no big deal.

With friends when they’d say:

“That doesn’t work for me, can you come earlier?” then once I’d agreed to come earlier they’d ask at the last minute “I’m running behind, will a little later work?”

With bosses if they said:

“Why couldn’t I reach you yesterday?” or “What have you been working on?”

With family when they questioned:

“Why wouldn’t you want to (fill in the blank)?” or “What do you mean that’s not how you remember it?”

It was almost never about the words that were said, but rather the way in which they were spoken.

My brain would hear the tone with which they said something first, that implied that someone was upset with me. The tone sent a message to my brain that I was in dangerous territory and had better tread carefully. Or else.

Or else what?

That is the question I began asking my brain. What is the worst that can happen here?

In some cases, there would be tension, a disagreement, conflict. All of that is uncomfortable for me. I like smooth sailing. I mean, can’t we all just get along?

When I really asked myself what am I actually afraid of here? It was a feeling. It was the discomfort of disagreement, disappoinment, anger, judgement, dislike and conflict.

It was the fear of “what if I’m not expressing myself clearly and they misunderstand?”

It felt like at all costs, I needed to keep them happy. Because if they were happy I must be doing something right. It was proof that I was doing a job well done. That I was getting that A on my paper. Hearing clearly what was requested and responding accordingly.

I think when we have adhd tendencies one of the things that can happen is we distrust ourselves. We can be unclear on expectations. It can be hard to pick up on subtle social clues, so we can become oversensitive to ALL clues. We have our antennae up for when we might be headed for trouble and we try to avoid it at all cost.

Over time, when we hold peace as the end all be all, over the truth (our truth), what’s true for us that is, the conflict that we’re trying to avoid shows up as internal conflict.

We think we’re avoiding it, but we still experience it, it’s just within ourselves and feels just as bad if not worse.

Step one is just to notice when you feel uncomfortable. Notice where you feel it first. Like I said, for me it is a little flutter in my chest. My heart skips a beat or two and I feel a little light headed. So subtle.

Once you notice it, just breathe in and exhale slowly. Try not to judge yourself or the other person. Just notice what you’re feeling and name it.

I’m feeling nervous. I’m feeling anxious. I’m feeling scared.