Do you remember the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes? The fable centers on a proud king convinced by charlatan tailors to publicly model nonexistent clothes. The tailors also persuaded the people of the kingdom to applaud his selection with copious compliments – until, a small boy innocently called out the obvious, “The king is naked!” What was the secret weapon that so effectively manipulated the adults but wielded no power whatsoever over the child? It is the power of the human ego. The tailors began their deception by weaving a foundational lie, “Only those who are truly worthy of their position have the ability to see our magnificent creations.” You see, the tailors had preyed upon the insecurity that every adult faces – it is the fear that we are unworthy of our position. And it is the exact same reason that the boy was immune to this level of coercion. A child is not concerned with his worth, instead, he simply calls out what his eyes witness. Most successful business people at some point in time will experience a sense that they are unworthy of their success.
Do you regret saying ‘yes’ after you have said it? You may not regret it immediately, but later on – you wonder why you committed to something that you are not even remotely interested in doing. Have you found yourself saying, “Why didn’t I just say NO?” It is possible to say ‘no’ in a creative way. First, however, you must keep in mind that ‘no’ is not a four letter word. It does not mean that you are hateful and mean for saying it. ‘No’ just means ‘no’. It does not mean anything else! So with that understanding let’s talk about writing your own scripts for saying ‘no’.
A people-pleaser is frustrated by their lack of personal autonomy. In other words, they feel overwhelmed by the desire to please and they purposely deny their own needs. It is more comfortable for a people pleaser to experience personal discomfort rather than causing anyone else to be unhappy. As a matter-of-fact, one friend even told me that she secretly wishes other people would straight-out tell her what they want. You see, she can’t handle the ambiguity and the guessing games about what it takes to make someone happy. She would prefer a handbook that outlines what they want so she doesn’t have to guess! The following quiz will help you to take a look at where people-pleasing is strongest in your life. You will not mark every answer “yes” – and that is a very good thing! When you have taken the quiz, print out a new copy for someone who knows you and let them take it on your behalf. They will answer the questions with you in mind and answer according to how they believe you may answer based on their perception of you. Take a close look at where you are similar in your responses but most importantly, notice where you are different. You see, you may actually be stronger in some areas than you imagine. Conversely, your friend may be aware of some blindspots that you don’t quite see.
Have you ever found yourself doing something that you really do not want to do – just to make someone else happy? Did you relinquish a dream because someone else whined that if you dared to try, then you wouldn’t be able to take care of their needs? Have you accepted second best to please an authority figure? People pleasers will often abdicate their own common sense and acquiesce to another person’s desires. And they will do it even though the outcome is negative – just to avoid escalating the situation! There are two things to remember: (1) your own intuition and experience are usually the best informer of your decision-making, and (2) you can learn creative negotiation skills – you just need to trust yourself. If you trust yourself enough, you will be more assertive in asking for what you want. Why is this a good thing? It is good, because you will be free to pursue your own unique destiny! And you will do it unencumbered by the dictates of the insensitive users who have taken advantage of your desire to please them.
Fighting in your marriage is not necessarily a bad thing – just as long as you fight fair! How you argue and how you conclude your arguments, will determine if you succeeded in stating your case or if you are destroying your relationship. Chances are you have done it both ways: you have done it right and you have done it wrong. Keep in mind that you do not have the right to abuse your spouse or diminish their feelings. If you can maintain control over your emotions in the heat of the moment, then you will be able to create the framework for moving beyond the disagreements that are common with marriage. Arguments happen. No two people are the same, and given enough time, your differences will surface! It does not mean that you are incompatible. Arguments can create an enormous amount of tension, but that tension is only an indication that something is changing. Don’t be intimidated by disagreements, even if you have been exposed to violent examples of fighting in the past. Your relationship is governed by you – and you have the capacity to make it into something productive. Is it uncomfortable? Absolutely! Does it have to be destructive? No way. Don’t be vengeful or vindictive and remain focused on parting as friends when it is over. The following ideas will help you implement a proactive strategy for thriving rather than merely surviving.
Relationship sabotage comes from one place: insecurity. It manifests as jealousy, gossip, fighting, and unforgiveness. If you see your relationships falling apart repeatedly, then it is possible that you are the one sabotaging your own success. This applies to relationships in business, family, marriage, neighbors, and friendships. Take a look at the major complaint that you have in your relationships. What is the one thing that you find yourself saying over and over again? Do you find yourself saying, ”They don’t really love me,” or “They are going to betray me,” or “They are unfair with me.” Notice that your expectancy concerning the relationship is centered around what you want to receive. Your expectations are self-centered rather than “other-centered.” Your ultimate goal should be focused on being relationship centered. In other words, what is the healthy choice for the benefit of the relationship? What does the other person need from the relationship? What would a healthy relationship look like? A successful relationship depends solely on overcoming your insecurity and contributing to the relationship rather than taking from it. You do have something to offer! Make a plan to avoid the following pitfalls and overcome the symptoms of insecurity and incorporate healthy patterns of communicating!
Missing the mark?
Do you see a pattern developing? You are so close to success and your dream is just within reach as you strain to reach the delicious fruit of success, and then ‘poof’, it disappears without explanation! Why does this keep happening to you? Is it a cosmic curse or does someone ‘have it in’ for you? Since you are the common denominator in each situation, then chances are, you are the likely cause of this phenomenon! Yes, you. Now, pay attention. You are a great person and you should be having overwhelming success. Your business should be thriving and you should have great relationships. Not so much? Then let’s lay out a strategy that captures the causes and sets a new course for your future. Think of yourself as the skipper of your own yacht rather than a passenger on a cruise ship. The maps are in front of you and you alone, must chart the course and oversee the journey to your destination.
Willpower is great for increasing your perseverance with a task – it is not so great at keeping you from habits. Habits and addictions are formed because they fulfill our need for a reward under stressful conditions – in other words, they actually serve a purpose! Their purpose is to improve our lives, even if it is momentarily. Habits and addictions are tough to break for three primary reasons. First of all, habits are imbedded due to the brain’s response to dopamine. Next, most treatments don’t address the underlying faulty thought processes that keep them intact. Finally, relapses are considered the ultimate tragedy and they are the primary cause for discontinuing any treatment plan. A plan that anticipates these three areas will have the necessary ingredients for stepping into a greater level of freedom.
Integrity can be seen in the lives of those who adhere to consistent and incorruptible values. It is more than honesty, which is simply being truthful. An honest person, says, “I cheated on my taxes.” A person with integrity would not cheat on their taxes in the first place! Integrity is defined by how a person operates when they are in private. Henry Ford said, “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” They key question here is: who are you when no one is looking? A person of integrity does the right thing for their own sense of self, rather than for the approval of an audience. And quite often, the choice for integrity comes with a personal cost. Integrity is fashioned in the hidden place of a personal metamorphosis just like the butterfly chrysalis. It is a transformative process and requires cooperation in order for it to have an effect. The chrysalis is not a season of growth, rather, it is a time of change and transformation. Personal growth may occur with ease by simply reading a book, taking a class, or asking a friend for wisdom. Integrity, on the other hand, requires personal transformation. It occurs in the hidden recesses of your character and it is an uncomfortable process of breaking down and reshaping your identity – much like the metamorphosis of the butterfly in the cocoon.
Are You Offended?
The most mature people I know are rarely offended. Although, looking at the world around me, sometimes I think it is popular to be thin-skinned and easily offended. And there are so many things in this world to be offended by! Listen to the news or simply talk to your neighbors. Better yet, talk with someone who has wounded you in the past, and you will find that you are exceptionally prone to being offended, once again. You see, previous wounding leaves us raw and emotionally vulnerable with an expectation that we are going to be hurt. Again. The problem is, however, that only immature people are easily offended. Mature people are confident and do not take everything personally. Abraham Lincoln said, “We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.”