How to grow past “people-pleasing”

“I know what I’m thinking is wrong! I wish I wasn’t thinking it at all! It makes me feel so angry and I know if I were to say it out loud, everyone here is going to hate me!”

“That is the essence of the Placating pattern”

This was part of an interaction I had with the master hypnotist Captain Scott McFall, while taking an advanced NLP and sailing course in Florida. I’ve learned over the years that Scott is very skilled at provoking a person into maturing through their problems. But it was at this moment, when I was forced to realize that the thought and behavior patterns that were as natural to me as breathing, were holding me back.

You really don’t know that you don’t know what you don’t know. And I certainly never appreciated how much this placating pattern was stopping me from seeing reality properly and causing so much suffering in the process. It was getting in the way of my ability to form real connections with people, but also it was stopping me from taking the actions necessary for my own well being and success.

Virginia Satir discovered that people have 4 coping stances: the blamer, the placater, the computer and the distracter… These are patterns of behavior that prevent a person from leveling, accepting themselves and responding usefully to life.

Although I have been guilty of all 4 coping stances, placating was my Achilles heel. I had mixed it up with my values of caring for and helping others. I had used these values to justify my low self-esteem, believing that other people’s problems were more important than my own - that other people’s feelings were more important than my own. And then martyred myself to do whatever was in my capacity to fulfill what I believed were the needs and wants of others.

Sometimes, this kind of pattern is colloquially referred to as “people-pleasing”. Of course, it’s ok to please people, but you must also be able to say truths that may not please people. So allow me to break down some of the inner workings of this kind of thinking from the perspective of a recently recovered “please-aholic”:

  • There used to be a time when I never felt safe to tell anyone what I was thinking. Not unless I waited to the point of being either really angry, really threatened (or someone else was being threatened), or I had researched it, tested it thoroughly, and/or been certified in it. I still only ever want to say something if I think it will be useful to someone, but now, I include myself in the category of “someone”.

  • I would work really hard at shutting down any trace of anger in myself so that I wouldn’t accidentally say something in anger that might offend someone. I would believe I had released the anger, but it would secretly fester as resentment that I would work to also subdue and hide… then it would slowly build and sometimes explode, surprising (and confusing) everybody that I was upset at all. Now I can recognize when something bothers me and create more sociable ways to express myself, proactively working towards solutions as needed.

  • I would sometimes have thoughts that I knew were petty, childish or that just weren’t in agreement with how people thought and would internally work to try and correct them by myself instead of voicing them out loud. I wanted to avoid criticism and I associated it with feelings of rejection. I believed there were parts of me that needed to be repressed but I was missing out on the wisdom that can only come from receiving external feedback and letting others correct my mistakes. Now I strive to have the humility to accept and seek out the opinions of others, especially when I’m struggling. I like to joke that “only an idiot thinks they know everything”.

  • I believed that other people benefited from me sacrificing myself and so I had a compulsion to do so - meaning I experienced both pleasure and pain from the same behavior. I believed that most people would feel they were suffering by comparison if they were to perceive I was doing better than them somehow. I believed others wanted me to be mediocre so they would feel better by comparison. This would mean I would compulsively sacrifice opportunities to advance my career, to appear in public, to take care of my health or to “shine” in any way. Now I believe that other people can be as inspired by my success as I am by theirs and I feel motivated to join the group of confident, self-accepting and caring people who are also successful in their health and career. This new belief that I deserve to be successful allows me to visualize and work towards a much happier and inclusive future.

Now, just like the countless people who’ve used hypnosis to lose weight, quit smoking and change their lives can tell you: Knowing about your problem is not the same as solving it!

If you find that you’re getting stuck in making progress towards your goal, then seek out external feedback from a real person that knows what they’re doing! Be accountable!

When I was finally forced to level and get the feedback I had been so afraid of, I was amazed by how safe it made me feel. And when the fear of criticism fell away (a fear I didn’t even realize was there), well suddenly I had way more energy to take the actions I had been procrastinating before! My life is continuing to open up so much now that I’ve freed myself from these binding unconscious patterns.

If you’re ready to free yourself like I did, then Call 289 219 1759 and book your FREE Hypnotic Screening with Hypnosis Niagara today.

Find out what hypnosis can do for you!

If you would like to book a potentially life-changing Sailing and Advanced NLP voyage with Scott McFall on beautiful Tampa Bay, then call 1 239 322 4586


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