Episode 93: Stop Trying to be Who They Want You to be
We live in this world of humans all trying to live a good life but living in a world of humans that can be tricky to navigate especially since all the humans talk.
We get caught up in their thoughts and opinions and because we’re also human we have a terrible tendency to make their words mean something about us (and it’s not usually good).
We think we need them to approve of us for us to feel accepted and valid. We think we WANT to “please” them by saying just the “right” thing, or doing the “right” thing, or buying them the “right” gift. We hold back in our conversations because they might not like that topic or they might not approve and then what will they think of us???
We don’t share all that we want to or we reluctantly and timidly share and when they’re not as on board as we’d hoped they’d be we apologize and chastise ourselves for such a dumb comment.
We spend WAY TOO MUCH TIME wrapped in other people’s heads instead of savoring what’s in ours and if you want to cultivate QUIET CONFIDENCE, it’s gotta stop, my friends.
Now, let me tell you, I GET it. I used to be people pleaser numero uno. You want 500 pioneer bonnets made for the Pioneer Day table, you betcha. Oh, you want 500 cupcakes for the next church activity, sure, no problem. Even to the point where I interpreted “looks” exchanged by people and in my mind I would think, oh, they don’t like me – I better not hang around here anymore and I’d miss things, people, places that I really did want to go to because I believed that their opinion mattered more than my own.
Now, I didn’t really know I believed that – it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind but I operated from that stance. Even when everything in my being was screaming NO, NO, NO! I don’t want to go there, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to talk about that, I don’t wanna…I did anyway because primitive brain survival 101 says that you must be accepted by the group so that’s what I did and I hated it and it was exhausting and did the opposite of what I hoped for.
When we people please we really want to please others. We want them to accept us, to like us. We want connection and validation that we are good people, that we are worthy and worthwhile. But when we people please we get the opposite effect.
We get a lot of brain drama – I wonder what they think of me…eek!
We get disconnection because while you’re trying to please them you’re leaving you unattended – disconnecting from the true source that will give you the feelings you really need.
We also get more insecurities because we’re practicing and training our brain to look for and seek out validation which leads to passive-aggressive behaviors and a whole lotta worry.
It’s a terrible place to be in and not only that, the people you’re trying to please can’t actually like you because they don’t know the real you. When you’re always trying to be someone else, thinking other thoughts, doing things you wouldn’t normally or naturally do – you’re not being you.
Connections cannot thrive or even survive on falsehoods.
It’s made of pie crust – flaky, crumbly, and dry.
Don’t be a pie crust. Be a rock.
You know what a rock is that a pie crust isn’t?
A rock is solid. It’s sure of itself. It can be a rock placed right next to a blooming rose and it’s okay with that. Okay, I know a rock is an inanimate object but you get the analogy.
Confidence starts, grows, and thrives within YOU. It doesn’t come from others accepting you or even liking you. Confidence comes when you like you, when you accept you, when you take the time to really get to know yourself and embrace all of it – all the crazy, all the quirks, all the everything and the more you spend time with the real you, with your real thoughts, with self-acceptance the more solid you become.
The less you need others to like you. The more you can just be you and this really cool thing happens when you do this:
You attract more people that are YOUR people.
They love you just the way you all weirdness and all.
You get more connection.
You learn to validate yourself so you can also accept others just the way they are.
You get your life back, a life of quiet, certain confidence and that feels amazing.
Here’s the truth: People don’t even see the you you’re trying to be for them. They only see what they believe.
Did you catch that? They don’t and can’t see all the things you’re trying to do or be for them. You could stew and stew and stew about what you think they want from you and they can’t see any of it. They can and will only see what they choose to see.
And a huge downside with this is that when you are engaging in their opinions you sacrifice your own.
We do things all the time we don’t really want to all in hopes that if we show up the way we think they want us to then we’ll be accepted. We’ll get that smile of approval or that pat on the back.
We go to family gatherings even when we don’t want to because we think that’s what our parents want us to do. We think that if we don’t go then that makes you a bad son or daughter.
We go serve even when our heart isn’t in it because we think that’s what a good Christian does and others will see us and approve.
We let people talk about things we don’t agree with – even things like complaining or anything you’re not on board with and we don’t stop them because we’re more concerned about offending them that we’re willing to be offended.
We sacrifice our own comforts, energy, and a portion of ourselves because if we don’t we make it mean that we’re selfish and that’s not acceptable but here’s the thing we never stop to think about, are you being selfish?
Is honoring your thoughts and preferences selfish or is it honest?
You can honor yourself and your energy by allowing yourself to be honest.
You can strengthen the connection with others by inviting them to see you as your authentic self.
You can stop sacrificing yourself by being open to a conversation and you know what happens when you do that?
You talk, you learn about yourself and them, you build trust and connection. Which is what we all really want.
Remember, others don’t and can’t see all the things you do to try and be who you think they want you to be.
We don’t have access to their thoughts so we can’t know what they really want.
I may have shared this before but it’s so fitting here so I’ll share it again. We had a family event once years and years ago and I was a major people pleaser at this time and I wanted to show up doing all the right things so that they would approve of me, smile, accept – all the things. But at the time we shared holidays with both sides and that made things tricky timing-wise and food-wise and all the things. We had little little kids at the time too so just getting out of the house was a chore in and of itself.
So I knew that we couldn’t stay as long as I believed the host would want us to so in my people-pleasing mind I came up with a brilliant plan to come early and that way we would still be spending the “right” amount of time with them and we could help in any way and just that seemed like the perfect solution. So I ran myself ragged trying to make food for this house and then food for that house and then all the kids dressed and cute and put together for the gathering and I even went as far as making a handmade – like amazing, ridiculously time-consuming gift to like try and be as perfect as I could.
So imagine my deep surprise and dismay when we arrived and I received daggers. The host wouldn’t even so much as spout off a few words in my direction. They weren’t excited about the gift or our presence. They talked to my husband and smiled at my kids but not the one who was the movement behind the scenes to make it all work.
I tell you what, this is pre-coaching days and I was a hot mess. I was so hurt and deeply offended because I did everything I could think of to be what I thought they wanted and it still wasn’t enough – and it’s not that it wasn’t enough, it was that it wasn’t anything. It seemed offensive to them even.
Now, happy endings. I am a recovered people pleaser. I have no problem sharing my thoughts and being transparent. I love showing up authentic and the best part is that I feel kind, loving, and generous when they don’t see me as I hope they would because I let them be wrong about me. It’s such a beautiful feeling to love them and not need any reciprocation back like I needed all those years ago.
And the catch is that THEY, other people don’t have to change at all – in fact, in my example the hosts haven’t changed in that department but it’s okay because I don’t need them to anymore. I love them so much and I love who they are but I honor and respect me as well and when I allow myself to be seen, to be heard, to me – when I listen to me, when I listen to my inner voice that sometimes says, “no, this isn’t going to work for me” and I honor that, I create inner connection and best of all confidence.
It builds trust within yourself. My youngest called me the dog whisperer the other day because dogs like me and I love them and I’m sure it’s because they feel safe. They know that I’m not going to let any overly hyper child infringe on their personal space so they can trust me and because they trust me, they hang out with me.
What would that feel like for you to establish that kind of trust with yourself?
The kind that when you don’t want to do something hears you out. This isn’t a get out of everything always card – I know some people are worried about that- that if you give yourself the out you’ll never do anything and I want to argue that that isn’t what I’ve seen or experienced.
The truth is that when you allow yourself to be heard and seen, when you establish trust within yourself you’re more likely and able to try new things, to serve, to give because you trust that you won’t ever do anything to harm you.
When we understand why we’re prone to people please, why we seek validation from others, what we make it mean when we try to show up doing all the “right” things, we can get right to the root. We can fill our own needs ahead of time so that you can just love the humans.
It’s really hard to love the humans when you’re treating them like judges or critics who hold your happiness in their hands. When we’re in that mindset we’re not looking for connection we’re seeking permission and that’s not fun and it doesn’t promote healthy relationships.
Stop trying to be who you think they want you to be because they can’t see it anyway. They’re only ever going to be able to see you through the lens of their own perception and story. Remember, what they think isn’t about you.
I had an amazing session today with one of my clients and she said something in a way that I hadn’t even thought of before so I have to share it with you. She said that it’s all about connection. When we show up authentic we are inviting others to connect with us. But when they don’t or they can’t it’s an invitation to us, to ourselves to connect with them, to be curious about them, to lean into them – isn’t that brilliant?
It is all about connection but connecting first to your own authenticity – to your honest, genuine self and then deciding to share that vulnerability with other as a way to deepen your connection but if they’re not there, then you can lean into them where they’re at and what happens is that you still deepen the connection.
Connection is what we all want. It’s one reason we people please in the first place – to connect, to belong, to be accepted but in an unhealthy and unsustainable way. And this way, this connection method allows you to be you, and them to be them and not matter what the circumstances are the results are always connection. It’s so good you guys.
Okay, that’s where I’m calling it today. Listen, next month in the membership – which really means, next week the doors are opening and I highly encourage you to dive in and join us.
Lemme just tell you, We are talking all about living the good life, learning to have emotional energy to shine bright, to contribute, to share, to be, to really savor and love your season. I’m so excited to bring this class to you because it will hit home for each one of you, I promise!
Also, I just started doing “What’s going on Wednesdays?” Where I’m available to connect and chat and where the group can come to meet other members in a low-key no stress environment and just meet other like-minded, incredible people. So that’s a new perk in the membership too besides all the other amazingness that’s included – I’m kind of the queen of content and it’s a full-on smorgasbord of quiet confidence content. Come be a catalyst with me.
Okay, friends. Talk to you next week!