Pretty please…?

Have you ever heard of the term “people-pleasing”?

You know…those people who just do things for others just to keep them happy and to avoid conflict?

People-pleasing may sound like a good idea. Unfortunately, however, it can result in being very destructive to your personal growth and prevent you from evolving into the individual that you were meant to be.

As we grow older, we make friends and we start to look up to peers that we respect. We form a good relationship with those people and we do our best to keep conflict to a minimum. After all, we are taught that it is not nice to hurt other people’s feelings and we are taught to be compassionate and supportive of each other.

There’s nothing wrong with that as we all yearn for that sense of community and belonging.

Unfortunately…that can pose a problem. For some (if not most people), their friendliness can become a little bit overextended to the point where others see it as an opportunity to take advantage of that person. We all have needs that want (and need) to be fulfilled and if taking advantage of an individual’s kindness and generosity is the path of least resistance, then that is what we will do to ensure our survival.

Now, people-pleasers do have good intentions: they want to help others, support them in a time of need and want to make them feel good. In the process of doing that, however, they give away their power and their own needs are sacrificed as a result. That can leave them feeling undervalued and underappreciated. It’s possible that other people don’t deliberately set out to take advantage of others as they themselves are unaware of their own intentions (or how they form them). I understand that there are exceptions, as there are people out there who intentionally prey on others whom they see as weak and incapable of fending for themselves.

I used to be a people-pleaser. I wanted people to like me…I wanted people to feel good and I didn’t want any enemies (plus I hated feeling like an asshole for not helping someone). I hated conflict and confrontation (and I still do). I felt that people-pleasing was a viable means of getting myself through life and getting rewarded at the end. I thought I was on easy street: make people happy, I get rewarded. Now, I am a friendly person because it is a big part of who I am, so I can’t just merely turn it off on a whim. But it is what I did with my friendliness that started to cause me problems.

It got to a point where I was turning into a “yes”-man. I never said no, I never turned people down and I never asserted myself. I was a pushover…a complete pushover. I didn’t want to hurt others nor their feelings because I was so immersed in the notion that just because I was friendly, I always (always) had to support others. I didn’t want to rock the boat nor offend others.

That all turned out to be a grave mistake because in a way, I was giving my power away to others by sacrificing and neglecting my own needs. As the years rolled on, I started getting worse and worse and worse. I attached my self-worth to what others thought about me which then caused me to buckle and fade in the throes of criticism and rejection.

This may sound like a small thing, but it is really important to consider as to how not being assertive and standing up for your own worth can be damaging to your physical, emotional and mental health and well-being. I hear a lot about mental health and mental illness. Ever wonder how that all starts? I bet you anything that someone’s illness starts off small and, left unchecked, manifests into something very destructive. Is it any wonder why people get depressed? Why people go on shooting sprees? Why kids commit suicide because of being bullied or their parents not listening to them when they want to discuss their issues?

Is it any wonder why people go absolutely crazy (and even turn to murder or suicide) because they don’t feel wanted or appreciated?

As you can see, being too much of a people-pleaser can lead to disastrous results.

So what can you do? What can we do about it?

First off, know that you can change and can develop more choices that can serve you well.

Second – you matter. You are valuable. You have potential. You have needs, too! You have your own life and your own priorities and responsibilities to tend to.

Third – you are not responsible for the thoughts, feelings and actions of other individuals around you…even if it is your own family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc). You are only responsible for you. If people get offended by your assertiveness, that is their problem, not yours! They choose to be offended, not you choosing to offend them…

We always go on about acting like adults and taking responsibility for our lives and actions. So tell me, how is sacrificing your own needs, self-worth and value for the “good” of others the “grownup” thing to do? How can you achieve a goal….while working against it? If you sacrifice your own needs, health and well-being, how are you going to be there to help other people?

People will always frame you (i.e. put you into a box of their own convenience) with unrealistic expectations of they think you should be…and the second you step outside of that frame, you are then seen as a bad person. You are not a bad person…you are just evolving into the person that you were meant to be. Never let others change you into something that you are not. You are not doing anyone any favours by just merely pleasing them and getting the shaft in the end.

There really is no sense in serving the (unrealistic) expectations of others, only to have them stroll off into the sunset with their needs being fulfilled while leaving you in the gutter feeling worthless, undervalued, underappreciated and forgotten.

Respect is a two-way street.

What are you doing today to grow into the person that you were meant to be…?

Expect the Unexpected

 

Some people discover their gifts during their childhood.

Some people discover their gifts during their teen years or adulthood.

Some people discover their their gifts and then sweep them back under the rug.

And some never discover their gifts at all – and end up being buried with their gifts on top of them…

A gift is a big thing. A gift is something that you have within you that, in a way, is meant to be shared with the world. It’s interesting as to how we’ve been so conditioned to follow the system and ignore our true potential. What’s even stranger is that I have heard on all of these daytime talk shows (not that I watch TV) that “we are all capable of so much more” – and yet we still struggle with ourselves.

So, how do you discover your gifts and what you are truly made out of?

One way is to go through a struggle or an ordeal of some kind (I’m not saying to voluntarily do this). People learn from harsh experiences and that experience helps them see life from a different perspective. Then, they may discover where their true capability lies.

Another way is by trying something new – something that you have never tried before. You’ve never tried it before, therefore, you do not know what to expect. You never know what you will discover…

But most ways that people discover their gifts is completely by accident. They find out about them by playing around, having fun and most of all- living in the moment. Living in the moment – isn’t that what children do best? Your gifts are born in the PRESENT moment and within that moment, a lot of magic happens. It’s magical because you allowed it to happen and it is magical because it is completely unexpected. As the old expression goes, “Expect the unexpected.”

Your gifts can come in many forms – it can be a special ability that you have, a quality that you have, an emotion that you can express very well or you can make things happen that borderline on the miraculous. Everybody delivers their own gifts in their own way.

Your gifts are so powerful to the point where I don’t understand as to why one would not want to discover them. One good thing about them is that they give you a reason for living and seriously break up the monotony of life.

So what can you do? What is waiting within you…ready to come out?

“What Should I be when I grow up?”

“What’s really underneath the mask of the Broken Generation?”

Ever had that question when you were a kid? I know people who are my age and older who are still asking themselves that question…

As you were growing up, you fantasized wildly as to what you wanted to be, whether it was an astronaut, a detective or a firefighter. I myself had always dreamed of being a wood carver, only because I saw a cartoon of a guy carving wood into these beautiful shapes and works of art. I envisioned myself doing that one day…

Then of course, along the way, that dream faded as I became molded into dreaming and going after jobs that everyone else was doing. I think the worst job I ever had was a paper delivery boy. Sure I got some fresh air, but the job just wasn’t for me anymore. I remember seeing a commercial by the DeVry Institute to illustrate (at the time) that the tech industry was booming that is where all of the jobs were at. If you weren’t educated in that department, you were at a loss. Quite the scare tactic at the time, I must say…

So why do our dreams fade in order to “grow up and get a real job”? Why is it that so few people are going after what they really want? Well, there is fear involved: fear of failure, fear of making a mistake, fear of success, etc.

Wait a minute…did I say fear of success?

Yes I did say that.

Everyday we seem to be getting more and more programmed to be fearful little robots to serve as cogs in this big machine we call society. Keep your head down, do the work, don’t ask questions, get paid and go home. Instead of becoming more free, all we are becoming  is more stressed, more fearful, more anxious and more depressed. Is this the life that we envisioned?

All of the above usually signify some sort of a disconnect from our true identity as an individual. When you think about what you really want to do with your life (if you know what you want to do with your life), how do you feel? Excited? Invigorated? Now, hold on to that image. Do your feelings get stronger as a result?

Now disconnect yourself from it and think about something you’d rather not be doing. How do you feel then? Angry? Depressed? Frustrated? Or in extreme cases, suicidal?

What happens when you disconnect one of your appliances? It ceases to function, correct? What happens when you disconnect yourself from your dreams? YOU cease to function, correct?

Look at what I’m doing? I’m engaging in a very unusual and unconventional profession. Yes, there is a chance that I won’t make it. Yes, there is a chance that certain individuals will stop loving me. But does that stop me? Not really…

What I do makes me feel good and I feel that I can contribute to making the difference on this planet that will really set us free. I started doing this because I was curious to find out what was really inside of me. I got sick and tired of being a cog and I got sick and tired of the status quo. And I wanted to empower people to take control of their own lives. That is what really fires me up to do what I do.

You’ll never see me in the newspaper.

You’ll never see me on television.

You’ll never see me on a huge billboard.

You’ll never see me in the mainstream.

Because I don’t desire fame. I desire to help and heal.

What should you be when you grow up? Try asking this question instead: How do you want to feel right NOW?

Because it’s not about “growing up”. It’s about growing within…

Are you ready?

What’s really inside you? What are you really capable of?

What’s waiting for you?

Keep the change,

Shawn Bent