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Archive for August, 2013

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” 

Mark Twain

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Do you put others wants and needs before your own, pleasing others before pleasing yourself? If so, the following article is for you.

5 Ways to Start Pleasing Yourself Before Pleasing Others

By Andra Brosh

 Being a people pleaser has been a chronic issue for me for years, but I think I’ve finally nailed how to stop this self-effacing behavior. When I look back I could attribute it to many things. Maybe my tendency to please others stems from being the 3rd child, and having a brother who was ready to pounce on me at any moment. Or maybe it’s connected to the approval and love I endlessly sought from my neglecting parents. My selflessness may also be rooted in my deep fear of rejection and strong desire to be accepted.

This kind of “skill”, putting others needs before your own, can develop in a variety of contexts and life circumstances, and without your awareness. However, there is usually one common denominator that will help you get to the bottom of this issue without too much digging in your past.

Your need to please others is essentially a defense against the fear of abandonment.

If you are just nice enough, accommodating enough, easy enough, quiet enough, supportive enough, agreeable enough, and available enough, then the people in your life won’t leave. Your ability to please others guarantees you a spot. Staying in their good graces, being on their good side, and acting obediently is an assurance that they won’t find a reason to discard you.

I know this sounds sad and pathetic, but it’s all in the name of love. You want and deserve to be loved, but not at the expense of yourself. This kind of love embodies an unconscious contract, and involves an exchange that never ends up being fair or even.

Being a people pleaser puts you at risk for becoming resentful, losing your sense of self, and for not being able to share your thoughts and feelings openly. You also can become a doormat by letting people walk all over you leading to a loss of self-respect and self-value. In your love relationships you will become exhausted and depleted, and you will wonder why it feels so empty.

I know it’s not pretty; I’ve been there. The good news is that there are some clear steps you can take to change.

 Here are 5 ways to start pleasing yourself instead of others:

1. Uncover your fears.

Before anything else you need to figure out what you are afraid of. Is it disappointing others? Losing love? Not being liked? Once you know what you are defending against you will be able to work through these issues, which most likely stem from your past.

2. Learn to say no.

The word no has a negative connotation most of the time, but it’s actually a way to set a boundary. Even a toddler uses the word no to differentiate his sense of self. It’s hard to say no, and sometimes we can’t, but drawing the line in the sand when we need to is a healthy practice, and it lets other people know our limits.

3. Speak up.

People pleasers tend to have a hard time expressing themselves openly and honestly. It’s scary to share your feelings when you think they will cause conflict or drive the other person away. Rocking the boat, and upsetting the status quo is a natural and healthy part of growing in your relationships. You will need to work on speaking up for yourself and taking a stand if necessary. It will feel harsh at first, but you’ll get used to it soon enough.

4. Come from a place of desire (not obligation).

When you are trying to learn how to set boundaries and say no you will be forced to really ask yourself what you want and need. This may be something you have never considered before, so it will seem selfish and weird at first. Make choices as opposed to fulfilling obligations. There are always things you have to do, but you are always choosing.

5. Know who you’re dealing with.

If you’ve been a pleaser for a while then the people in your life will be used to it. Some will automatically respect your new way of relating, but others will resist it. If there are people who simply cannot accept your limits and boundaries, then you might want to rethink these relationships. Some relationships work for a reason, but the reason isn’t always healthy.

Andra Brosh, Ph.D. is a licensed Clinical Psychologist

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“Never, never, never give up.”

Winston Churchill

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What challenges do you face? What seems overwhelming, difficult or hard to understand? What is happening in your life right now that leads you to wonder if you can make it, if you can succeed, achieve, accomplish? What are you afraid may not work out or will end as you want it to?

Maybe it’s a professional challenge or a relationship issue or a financial concern. Maybe it’s a health problem, or an addiction you fear you can’t control or perhaps a child who has gone astray. How has life suddenly turned around and served you something contrary to all your hopes and dreams? If despair, failure and quitting seem to be the options that tempt you, if you feel like you want to throw in the towel, then take 3 minutes to watch this video and see if you can keep from crying with inspiration . . .

Never Never Never Give Up

Stick with it. Look for solutions. They are there. It may not look like you planned it and may not look how you thought it would be, but if you believe there is a solution to every problem, you will find it . . .a solution that brings dignity and respect to all and makes everyone a winner. As this video shows, when winning is your commitment, you will do so in ways you may have never imagined, because COMMITMENT never, ever quits!!

AND . . . if you are in a position to walk next to someone else to the finish line, then DO IT! Your support, your love, your understanding, your belief and trust in them and their ability to handle whatever comes before them, can help that person make the journey just a little bit easier. And in the end, my friends, that makes you both champions.

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 Be Yourself pic for WoW

Everyone is different, everyone brings something unique into this world. And when a person sorts through all of their limited thinking and fears, they discover a diamond, a precious treasure. They are self-assured and confident. They realize they truly are a miracle of life. They are love. But frequently we humans lose touch with that grounding and begin to feel shaky and out of control. We question ourselves, fall victim to negativity and forget who we are. The following article describes some of the steps that will transform self-sabotaging thinking and support you to regain your true sense of self. It is a process I have used throughout my 34 years of coaching people. How does it apply to you?

4 Steps to Increasing Self-Esteem

By the staff at the Mayo Clinic

If you have low self-esteem, harness the power of your own thoughts and beliefs to change how you feel about yourself. Start with these four steps to a healthier self esteem.

STEP 1: Identify troubling conditions and situations

Think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Common triggers might include:

  • A business presentation
  • A crisis at work or home
  • A challenge with a spouse, loved one, co-worker or other close contact
  • A change in life circumstances, such as a job loss or a child leaving home

STEP 2: Become aware of thoughts and beliefs

Once you’ve identified troubling conditions or situations, pay attention to your thoughts about them. This includes your self-talk – what you tell yourself – and your interpretation of what the situation means. Your thoughts and beliefs might be positive, negative or neutral. They might be rational, based on reason or facts, or irrational, based on false ideas.

STEP 3: Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking

Your initial thoughts might not be the only possible way to view a situation – so test the accuracy of your thoughts. Ask yourself if your view is consistent with the facts and logic or whether other explanations for the situation might be plausible.

Be aware that it’s sometimes tough to recognize inaccuracies in thinking though. Most people have automatic, long-standing ways of thinking about their lives and themselves. These long-held thoughts and beliefs can feel normal and factual, but many are actually just opinions and perceptions.

Also, pay attention to thought patterns that tend to erode self-esteem:

  •  All or nothing thinking. You see things as all good or all bad. For example, “If I don’t succeed at this task, I’m a total failure.”
  •  Mental filtering. You see only negatives and dwell on them, distorting your view of a person or a situation. For example, “I make a mistake on that report and now everyone will realize I’m not up to this job.”
  •  Converting positives into negatives. You reject your achievements and other positive experiences by insisting they don’t count. For example, “I only did well on that test because it was so easy.”
  •  Jumping to negative conclusions. You reach a negative conclusion when little or no evidence supports it. For example, “My friend hasn’t replied to my email, so I must have done something to make her angry.”
  •  Mistaking feelings for facts. You confuse feelings or beliefs with facts. For example, “I feel like a failure, so I must be a failure.”
  •  Self put-downs. You undervalue yourself, put yourself down, or use self-deprecating humor. This can result from overreacting to a situation, such as making a mistake. For example, “I don’t deserve any better.”

STEP 4: Adjust your thoughts and beliefs.

Now replace negative or inaccurate thoughts with accurate, constructive thoughts. Try these strategies:

Use hopeful statements. Treat yourself with kindness and encouragement. Pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. For example, if you think your presentation isn’t going to go well, you might indeed stumble through it. Try telling yourself things such as, “Even though it’s tough, I can handle this situation.”

  •  Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes – and mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person. They are isolated moments in time. Tell yourself, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.”
  •  Avoid “should” and “must” statements. If you find that your thoughts are full of these words, you might be putting unreasonable demands on yourself – or on others. Removing these words from your thoughts can lead to more realistic expectations.
  •  Focus on the positive. Think about the good parts of your life. Remind yourself of things that have gone well recently. Consider the skills you’ve used to cope with challenging situations.
  •  Re-label upsetting thoughts. You don’t need to react negatively to negative thoughts. Instead, think of negative thoughts as signals to try new, healthy patterns. As yourself, “What can I do to make this less stressful?”
  • Encourage yourself. Give yourself encouragement for making positive changes. For example, “My presentation might not have been perfect, but my colleagues asked questions and remained engaged – which means I accomplished my goal.”

These steps may seem awkward at first, but they’ll get easier with practice.

 There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others (and oneself) with respect, kindness, and generosity.
Nathaniel Branden

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“The adventure of life is to learn. The goal of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give. The joy of life is to love.”

William Arthur Ward

sprout-28

The last two weeks my WoWs were triggered by the Trayvon Martin case, but were mainly about being willing to open our minds and hearts to understanding the subconscious beliefs and judgments we individually hold onto so tightly. Once we become aware, we can then route out the ones that may be hurting us and other people, and we can change them if we choose. To do so however, requires us to face our ever present need to be right. It takes a huge willingness to ask ourselves . . .

 Am I willing . . .

  • to risk dicovering that maybe the views I have held onto so tightly for so long are indeed only my truth, not the capital “T” Truth?
  • to risk letting go . . . to step outside of my comfort zone and grow beyond the boundaries of my box and discover new possibilities?
  • to risk the discomfort of not knowing and the confusion that accompanies change?
  • to risk facing and overcoming my fears of being wrong, being rejected, losing, failing, being hurt, making a mistake?
  • to risk tearing down the tough wall behind which I hide and show that down deep I truly care?
  • to risk finding out who I really am and live by that?
  • to risk the disapproval of others by standing up for my values?
  • to risk befriending others who don’t look, act, dress, believe or live like I do with the intent of understanding them better?
  • to risk generously giving unconditionally with no expectations for anything in return?
  • to risk a final surrender to love . . .openly, honestly, vulnerably and freely?
  • to risk what it will take to grow?

 Our ego and its incessant need to protect us, wants us to stay safe. It wants to minimize risk in all of the above areas and so it tries to hold on to the status quo by getting us to shut down our minds and our hearts. It doesn’t realize that life, living, joy, freedom and happiness only happen when we open up and are willing to grow.

 Many more people have shared their opinions and I only hope the resulting dialog will help us all to open our minds and hearts to see beyond our present opinions and feelings. They are here for your review:

Trayvon Comments

The Quieter You Become Comments

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