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Here’s some food for thought based on scientific findings: Stop bending yourself into a human pretzel!
Sometimes, when you constantly try to people-please, you end up contorting yourself into a pretzel. If this has ever happened to you, then maybe you know what I’m talking about. It often starts out rather innocuously—perhaps when someone suggests a group activity and you go along, even though you had a different idea. No big deal. Other times, people pleasing can be more insidious, like when someone is giving an opinion that you find offensive, false, or hurtful and you don’t speak up for fear of not “going with the flow.” When you constantly try to please everyone around you, you end up feeling like a chameleon—and you also end up not being true to yourself. Over time, you start to internalize these negative feelings in your body.
Here are some simple and effective ways to bring yourself back to balance.
- To thine own self be true. Shakespeare wrote, “This above all, to thine own self be true. And it must follow, as the night, the day. Thou canst not then be false to any man.” When I am true to myself—and I personally believe that I am accountable to God—then I don’t need to overcompensate or make excuses to please another person. There’s tremendous freedom in knowing that you can be accountable to yourself. Self-awareness is a super-power. When you know better, you can do better.
- Identify your key values and goals. Ask yourself: Are YOU the hero or heroine of YOUR life? Or have you become a secondary character of your own story by trying to please everyone else simply to fit into what you believe they want or need you to be? If you find yourself adrift, then you need to figure out how to bring the focus back to yourself by identifying your key values and priorities. This decision enables you to start taking small steps that are aligned with your core beliefs, desires, and goals. To “allow your dreams to become your reality,” you must first know what those dreams and goals are.
- Find kindred connections with people who share your values and whose authenticity and actions you respect. Seeking positive role models and getting encouragement and peer support from others means you can spend more time on the couch eating pretzels, instead of becoming one!
I’m sending you strength and love,