I am enjoying reviewing some of the Non Violent Communication work that I have done in the past. Today, I wanted to share this helpful insight from “Being Genuine” by Thomas D’Ansembourg.
As children so many of us take on the role of pleasers with our parents and teachers and other people. This is a strategy that worked somewhat well: We got attention, received praise and felt good about ourselves when the other person appreciated what we did for them. It was one way to get our needs met and to feel good.
Each time mother said “You are a sweetheart for doing that” or a teacher said “You are one of my best students” when you did well in tests, this behavior was reinforced.
And so the belief came about that, in order to get what we want in life, we have to please others. They will give us what we need… and we will feel more in control and secure.
We focused on the external rather than building our own inner resources to get our needs met. You can find out more about what I am referring to, by reading this earlier post about our needs
However, when we are pleasers, we are never really sure if we are “doing the right thing” for the other person. We begin to distrust others reactions and doubt our own qualities or skills.
The other person becomes a judge and critic about to pass judgment on if we are doing it right. And of course, if we aren’t doing it right, then we must be wrong.
Can you see how this undermines our self esteem, confidence and sense of being…
We lose touch with our authentic selves because we are relying on the approval, validation and love from others.
Lets be genuine, not nice!
To be genuine we must put aside our mask of accommodation and pleasing. Instead of thinking of ways to be nice we must come from our authentic heart and soul.
This entails and change in our attention. Before we can reveal our authentic selves to others, we must pay attention to what is going on inside of us. When we shift this attention away from other people we can discover who we are outside of the roles that we play, such as sister, spouse, colleague, friend etc.
To be authentic we must also become open to feeling.
This can be a tough step on this journey to authenticity. When we believe our survival is dependent on pleasing others, we put other people’s wants in front of 0ur own. We start to tune into other people, and dismiss our own feeling and desires. Our own feelings get lost, and many of us end up not feeling very much at all.
Yet, to be authentic we must also open up to what we are feeling and take responsibility for it.
When we rely on others to feel good, we not only lose touch with our genuine feelings, but we also tend to blame others for “making us feel bad”. By taking responsibility for all of our emotions, we find freedom to be our genuine selves.
Take a moment to ask yourself these questions.
- Am I expressing the truth of who I am and what I want … or am I accommodating others?
- Am I smothering the truth in a mask of niceness?
If the answer is, “but I have no other choice!” Or “I don’t want to upset the other person!” Then you are reinforcing this deep seated belief and fear within you.
We always have a choice to take into account our own needs and the needs of others. As adults we must acknowledge that being authentic and real, doesn’t mean we will be abandoned and unloved as we might have believed at a tender young age.
It takes real courage to face the truth that we are not being truthful to ourselves or the others. The ego mind does not want to be confronted with this!
Yet, it is one of the most empowering steps we can take on the journey towards truth.