Have you ever gone along with something even though you didn’t actually want to do it?
Why didn’t you speak up for what you wanted? Did you go along with it because you wanted to belong? Were you afraid of hurting someone’s feelings?
What were you trying to avoid? Feeling awkward, ashamed, or guilty?
Let’s call this behavior out for what it is…it’s PEOPLE-PLEASING!
You’re so afraid of judgment that you judge yourself ahead of time.
When you judge yourself, you stop listening to yourself (aka trusting yourself), what you want. Or you start to think that others have the answers–putting everyone into a hierarchy that only exists in your mind.
In talking with people, there are usually two main reasons why we people-please:
- To avoid a feeling, and/or
- It’s the path of least resistance
Let’s be honest, no one enjoys feeling negative emotions. But emotions are only vibrations in our body and aren’t actually a problem. However, the actions/inactions we take/don’t take from certain emotions can become a problem.
Your brain thinks emotions are a problem because the amygdalae (aka your primal unevolved piece of the brain) can’t tell the difference between physical danger (e.g. being eaten by a sabertooth tiger) vs emotional danger (e.g. fear of rejection). The primal brain only senses danger and DANGER = DEATH.
We can avoid undesired feelings by taking the path of least resistance. It’s natural and completely normal. But is it really what you want? The problem though is you still feel undesired feelings–it’s an equal trade but instead of getting what you want, you don’t….which can lead to more negative feelings (e.g. shame, resentment, regret, etc.).
When you are honest with yourself, own your desires, and you’re willing to trust yourself and speak up for what you want, you may still feel negative emotions but the end result is more pleasurable. AND like any other skill, with practice, becomes easier and easier.
GOOD NEWS: You’re not broken, alone, or have to continue in this survival pattern. You don’t need to be fixed, you just get the opportunity to choose. Yes, it’s really that simple