By heatherferreiracole, Aug 21 2014 03:45PM
There is an exercise that you can do where you sit, relax and then start writing with your non-dominant hand all the characteristics that you believe you possess. At the beginning you will find that you are listing them in your head but after a few minutes it is amazing what spontaneously springs out onto the page. So I was sitting doing this exercise one day and I had started very nicely with my “kind, considerate…etc. etc.” and as I relaxed off I got into the less “positive” aspects of myself, most of which I knew, but there was one particular word which completely sidelined me, so much so that if someone else had been in the room I would have said they had surely written it because it certainly couldn’t have come from me!
The very simple and innocent word was ‘pleasing’.
Pleasing?? Pleasing?! Are you kidding me? What was I? Some kind of 1950s housewife? An Ornament? A member of a Harem?
My girl-power aspect was in uproar, my independent woman was outraged! You might as well have started banding around submissive, powerless, helpless…Grrrrr.
Pleasing, pleasing, pleasing, no matter how many times I said it, there was nothing in my world that was positive about being pleasing. A full-blown war had erupted inside myself; "Eject the pleasing aspect immediately!" A rage fueled by me - against me, yes I see the irony. But when I feel utter indignation about something I have a tendency to be temporarily less than rational about how I react! However I am aware enough to realize that to have such a reaction to a simple word usually means that maybe, just maybe, something to do with that word is way out of balance in your system and that the denial glasses are starting to defog.
There is always a reason why you originally chose to put an aspect of behaviour in place, and then there is usually a secondary reason, if you can find the secondary reason – the hidden benefits – and take responsibility for those, then you can start to release the behaviour. Usually, the behaviour will be the manipulation that you can’t see in order to get the hidden benefits you want. And usually the denial glasses will start to defog when the hidden benefits no longer outweigh the sacrifices you have to endure through actioning the behaviour of choice.
For me personally I had decided one day very early on in my life that by pleasing others I could in fact have a much simpler, pain freer life. When we are born our needs and survival are dependent solely on the person looking after us. We are not born able to feed ourselves or even move away from danger if it approaches; we are the ultimate depiction of vulnerability, unable to meet any one of our needs without the help of someone who we have absolutely no control over. It takes the human being years before we are able to fend for ourselves, we are incredibly complex beings and one of our strongest gifts in our survival of difficult situations is our mind. The problem with that is that before we can consciously choose how we live, we have already subconsciously set up a myriad of ways of relating to others that has served us in our quest for survival. The games we play can take numerous forms but my game of choice was to simply put myself on a back burner to please those “in charge”, and if I could be pleasing enough then I would not only survive but maybe thrive.
However as I looked within myself into pleasing I saw the self-hatred that sat in that aspect of myself. In order to be pleasing, how much of myself had I chosen to give up? How much self-sacrifice had I voluntarily submitted to day after day? To put myself behind everyone else, to look after them first and me – some other day that never seemed to come round, because I never made it come round. No wonder I hated myself.
When you do inner child work it can be interesting to see that you still have a part of you that is a small child that needs to be looked after. I look at my daughters who are probably around the age I imagine my inner child to be, and I look at who they are and what they fight for and if I gave them the same amount of “later, another time, that’s ok I’m sure we’ll do it another day” that I gave to myself, then the temper tantrums I would be getting back would be huge.
But the key to “anti-pleasing” isn’t about not caring what anyone thinks, because very often that can actually be coming from a place of subconsciously proving how deserving you are of rejection/abandonment/isolation or low self-esteem. The idea is to love yourself so much that you put yourself in front of the need to be seen, liked, loved or approved of and that you are ultimately willing to put yourself out in the world like that. And it is an incredibly hard thing for a person to achieve because it requires the Truth to be present in everything we do and say.
But unfortunately that is not the only step, it is not just about being brave enough not to care – or more accurately changing our perspective from focusing on other people’s happiness to focusing on our own - but it is also about stepping into taking full responsibility for our Truth and losing all our grapplings around expectations and control and letting go of the future and allowing the world to adjust accordingly. Quite simply the Truth will never be able to shine through when we are embroiled in our fear of the consequences. But the rewards for your courage in themselves are great, because when you are on the path of Truth, of living life openly, honestly and authentically, then you are walking into a self-fulfilling prophecy where you are working for you in every way and life is reflecting that right back at you.