Posts Tagged 'people pleaser'

Fear of Fear

fear of fearMost of the things we avoid are avoided because we’re afraid of being afraid.

The negative outcomes that could actually occur due to speaking up in class, caring about our work product, interacting with the boss – there’s not a lot of measurable risk. But the fear… the fear can be debilitating, or at the very least, distasteful. So it’s easier to just avoid it altogether. We avoid the feeling of fear.

On the other hand, artists and leaders seek out that feeling. They push themselves to the edge, to the place where the fear lives. By feeling it, by exposing themselves to the resistance, they become more alive and do work that they’re most proud of.

It usually looks higher from up there. When we find ourselves on the edge of a precipice, looking down at the depths of the chasm below, it’s easy to think that our plan is far too risky, or our behavior too weird.

The funny thing about perspective is that most bystanders don’t see you standing on a precipice at all. They see someone doing something a little risky, or even questionable, but by no means off-the-grid nuts. You’re far more likely to go not-far-enough than you are to go too far, especially if you tend to find yourself worrying over what others think.

Internal monologue amplifies personal drama. To the outsider, neither exists. That’s why our ledge-walking rarely attracts a crowd. What’s in your head is real to you, no doubt about it, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can see the resistance you are battling. And most don’t care about it.

How deep is the water? If it’s over your head, does it really matter?

At some point, when the stakes are high enough, you will swim. And when you swim, who cares how deep the water is?

How much does it cost you to avoid the feeling of risk? Not actual risk, but the feeling that you’re at risk? What are you missing out on? Feeling risk is very different than actually putting yourself at risk. Over time, we’ve created a cultural taboo about feeling certain kinds of risk, and all that insulation from what the real world requires is getting quite expensive. It’s easy to pretend that indulging in the avoidance of the feeling of risk is free and unavoidable. It’s neither.

The fear doesn’t care, either way. The choice is to spend our time avoiding that fear or embracing it.

 

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“You Have to be Pleasant”

jobsandgatesThat was a quote from a friend of mine some time ago. So much is revealed in words.

You don’t really have to be kind or pleasant. It’s a choice, like so many others. They all have consequences. For certain desired outcomes to happen, yes, you may well need to provide a pleasant mood.

“Have to” implies it’s a chore. It’s not what you really  want (to do). Or it is, because the outcome you may get is important to you. Either way, it’s really a choice.

You probably don’t really have to “be” pleasant. You may merely choose to act pleasant.

Thus is the story of our lives. We hide behind tricky language to define our reality when it’s really about deciding  (even if it’s subconscious) to do things so that we can get what we want, whether that’s validation, a sale, friendship, sex, to satisfy a need to feel good about ourselves, or quite simply a Pavlovian effort to get our body to produce some chemicals that make us feel good.

Only I could turn a pleasant interaction into some dark, selfish act! Of course it is not so bad. These are things we’re accustomed to doing to get along in society. Little lies. Sometimes bigger lies…and sometimes really big ones. No clear lines, which means we’re always navigating on a slippery slope. It’s all tied to context and mood, which aside from being questionable morally, also makes it unreliable.

I can’t help but wonder what our world would be like if our culture was based around being more genuine with each other.

People Pleaser

Like to do things for others? Do you put their concerns and wishes ahead of your own even when it causes you grief? Even when it harms you?

You might be a people pleaser. But make no mistake, you don’t do most of it for them. You do it for yourself. Maybe it’s an insecurity that reflects a need to be liked/loved. Maybe it’s to avoid the discomfort of confrontational situations. Maybe it’s satisfying some part of you that, for whatever reason, needs to feel like you’ve made a sacrifice or done something heroic. Maybe it’s that you want to feel like people owe you. Maybe you like the power you feel when you are the reason why someone else is better off. Maybe you need it to reinforce your feeling that you’re a good person. Maybe you’ve adopted a tendency to feel guilty that you’re trying to avoid. Maybe you like playing the martyr.

The science of behavior holds that we will continue doing those things that get recognized, revered, and rewarded…even if it’s just you recognizing yourself.

Once you truly accept that it’s largely selfish on your part it ought to become easier to go ahead and BE selfish by acting more on your own behalf.



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