People living with bipolar need to take charge of their own personal power to self-validate––and NOT seek validation from others by people pleasing.
In order to make positive changes, we need to really recognize and identify where our behaviors don’t serve us. If we don’t acquire the self-awareness and desire to change these ways, we will perpetuate them unconsciously––where they foster unhappiness, invalidation and negativity. This Taking Yourself On series is about identifying, addressing, and transforming the ways of being that don’t serve us, while cultivating new, effective ways of being that create confidence, happiness and freedom.
Today, we take our own people pleasing tendencies on. We have to recognize that focusing on authentically liking ourselves helps us more than inauthentically trying to gain others’ approval or validation. This is so important. When we find acceptance, approval and self-love, it makes it easier to stop behaviors that seek outside validation from others. This is accomplished by changing our mental dialogue.
To overcome people pleasing tendencies, we really have to stop prioritizing “do they like me” over “do I like myself.” Sometimes we can be too focused on what others think about us that we overlook the importance of focusing on what we think of ourselves. People pleasing gives others the power to be invalidating, and it creates reactionary behaviors, dependent on their actions––not stemming from ourselves. People living with mental illness need to maintain our own personal power to validate ourselves. This is one of the goals of taking yourself on and of positive change to self, to acquire our power to control validation of self. And people pleasing, in particular, is one negative ineffective coping skill that leads to invalidation, not validation. For this reason, it needs to be stopped so new effective ways of being can be cultivated in its place.
For all the right reasons, we tend to, at times, endear ourselves to others. We can put their needs first, we can ignore our own needs, or we can compromise ourselves to make others happy or pleased. A lot of the time, this can be so second nature–– we don’t even realize we are doing it. Again, self-awareness sets us free. We can be the same generous, giving people without it coming from a people pleasing perspective. And I know, as a recovered people pleaser, I often found myself in situations I didn’t want to be because I had a hard time meeting my needs, asserting myself, saying no, and maintaining boundaries (because I didn’t know them then).
Creating effective ways of being is like creating new systems to replace ways that aren’t serving our highest good. It can take developing a handful of new behaviors to replace the one ineffective coping skill, but the behaviors combined help to have a solid new strategy to deal with the inclination to default to people pleasing behaviors. First and foremost, to have success in changing any behaviors, it starts with commitment and determination. You must be committed to the results of positive change because it doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to be free of what doesn’t serve you, you must stay committed and determined until the very moment you achieve the results. The results don’t come easy, but they do come.
Taking on people
pleasing tendencies starts with self-awareness. Self awareness is when we take
the time to objectively observe and challenge our own actions. You have see it
to stop it. Change takes growth and growth takes courage, but the good thing
about that is you build up your courage in the process, win, win! Boundaries
helps too and building assertion skills, the best way to say no without guilt,
feeling bad or defaulting to people pleasing. When we come from a perspective
of meeting our needs, maintaining our happiness and serving our highest good,
our behaviors will start to align with this perspective. People pleasing
tendencies fall out of this because people pleasing is about outside validation
and other people’s opinions. People pleasing is not true to self, what’s true
to self is being free of people pleasing tendencies for good. And you can’t be
free of it until you take it on.
Debbie Jacobs is an advocate, writer and healing specialist living in Alexandria, Virginia. She lived most of her adult life with a diagnosis of depression, anxiety and bipolar and speaks out on how self-improvement is life improvement and believes we all can live happy lives just by making positive change to ourselves. Her influences are Louise Hay, Napoleon Hill, Les Brown and Tony Robbins. She does positivity life coaching and is in the process of writing her first book on her healing process of accomplishing positive thinking, positive effective coping skills and healthy self-esteem, what she calls “freedom and happiness.” She shares her work to motivate, inspire and help others make positive change to themselves for their freedom and happiness too.
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