How to stop the need to fit in
<<Wanting to be accepted. Longing to feel welcome.
Trying to fit in however it feels right. Saying yes all the time. Being as ‘nice’ as you should be.
Jumping through every hoop , saying all the ‘right’ things.
And yet, all your efforts still aren’t good enough.
You’re sick of trying to fit in.
You just want to feel like you belong just the way you truly are.
I have been struggling many years with my people pleasing ways, and now that I am not doing that anymore this question seem to pop in my head.I am sure that if you are a people-pleaser (PP) you can totally relate to this. You see, people with people-pleasing ways are extremely good at reading people, especially at reading their perceptions on things and on them. You can quickly notice if someone does not like what you say, do or how you dress. We become experts in reading micro-expressions and deciphering ways of behaviour.
But what happens when you read all those signals, you are actively being yourself and someone you care about does not like or respect you because of that? This is especially difficult when you are I guess on the road to recovery from your PP ways. Clearly you will still be you and just accept that there are certain aspects of your personality that some people in your life do not like. It is easier said that done.
The main struggle for PPs is not to adapt in order to be liked. We feel a lot of shame too. We pride ourselves in being able to fit in with everybody, just adapting our ways and replies to the next person that comes in, not saying much when you don’t really agree and maybe saying too much of what you believe will be positively received. This kind of behaviour is not only exhausting, but it is actually useless.
I had a group of people in my life, let’s call them Team A that were very important to me. I also have several other groups of people that loved me to bits and respected me for who I am (all imperfections included) and yet, the fact that team A hated my guts was driving me insane. I have been working on my PP ways but with this group I was not doing very well in that regard. This is a group of people that you would expect to be closer to you in your life, and yet they barely knew me or showed (even to this date) any interest in doing so. They seemed to take pleasure in putting not very nice labels to my personality, I got many underhanded comments, snarky jokes and pure and open judgement against who I was based on very little real information about me. Yet, I was still trying, being extra nicer, biting my tongue trying to ,still, be nice. It was all for nothing. Not only Team A did not liked me, they soon stopped respecting me at all. When they didn’t make fun of me, they simply ignored me. It had to stop, and it did. The minute I let go of the result of their dislike I started to feel free from their judgement and feel myself again.
I guess the hard part for PP is to just letting them dislike you. Period. And letting go to the need of controlling other people’s perceptions of who we are. It was exhausting. Now I just behave as I feel it is natural to me. It takes effort to ignore the signals you get when someone is not happy with what you say or do, but it just feels right.
So how do we get to that grounded place where we can stand tall for who we are?
TAKE A STEP BACK
I have managed to go through life not caring much about what people thought about me or so I thought. Until people I cared about just didn’t and openly expressed it. I have heard and felt a lot of things on my path; some were consciously sent my way and some others unconsciously sent. I guess I got a bit of the usual, to be told that my body was’t slim enough, that my personality wasn’t charming enough, that saying no was simply unacceptable, that taking time to take care of my needs was selfish … I am sure that you can relate to this.
Even though we all know these things are untrue and even though we may not agree with them, it may still bother us. Why? Because these kind of things are unsolicited ways that people have to creep into your mind and belief system and polluting your self-perception with their own ideas.
I guess the important thing here is to know what is the belief of the other person and to distinguish it from your own beliefs.
In order to to this, you have to know what are your beliefs and you need to question everything. Even though this is overwhelming at the beginning I believe it is a big part of the whole mindfulness philosophy. You see, many times when I meditate, I try to relax and to leave the mind in peace. But, how many of you really achieve that? Well, in my case a lot of my personal junk comes in to the rescue of my peaceful thoughts. And it is in these moments when you get to see what you are really made of, inside. I try to observe what kind of thoughts, old beliefs and harmful ideas are flying inside my head. And to every harmful thought you find you should say to yourself a big “NO, that’s not true” . You will start to notice you get the same response when others try to push their belief system onto you. The reason for this is quite simple, by the time this happens you are more grounded and able to discern the junk from whet you really believe in.
WE ARE ALL A REFLECTION OF HOW WE TREAT OURSELVES.
Choices are always available to us. It really does not matter what has happened to you in your life, how unfortunate you have been or what misfortunes you had to go through. How you deal with these life events is what really defines you as a person, not the event in itself. Often times, when you try to improve yourself, either physically, financially, or spiritually, you may encounter people that will react negatively to these changes. It may be because the changes affects them directly and now things will change for them or in your relationship with them; other times they have to readjust the way they see you. It is usually in these cases that some people’s insecurities will creep out and that is why they may react badly or try to sabotage your efforts to be better. It is easier to do that than to look inside themselves and ask: why do I feel this?
As you see, it is a choice. It hurts to take responsibility for your life but at least in doing so, something will change.
Many people that mistreat others don’t think they are superior to them. In fact, the reason for this is often because they are threatened by you in some way, shape, or form. With the exception of clinical narcissists or psychopaths, this is always done because of someone’s own insecurities.
OTHER PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH THEIR OWN MENTAL ORDEALS
Many times, people will not behave in a nice way. But I guess it is important to find a balance and discern if this is something worth bearing or not from that person. Often times a few things you don’t like about a person are just part of life and it should not matter much. I believe that when we throw into the mix things like differences in ‘fundamental values’ or any kind of abuse or bullying then we are talking about something else. For PP it is hard to stay grounded and express what we really like to do or what we think, but when you start doing that many of the problems with some difficult people simply disappear.
It is important to recognise that some people don’t possess the ability to take that step back and see themselves, fully, which makes them live in a constant state of fear and pain. This makes them feel separate from life instead of being part of life.
I guess once you understand this about these people, you can stop reacting to their negativity and start feeling compassion for them. This does not mean that you have to let people treat you badly, healthy boundaries should always be set according to what makes you feel loved and respected.
What are your thoughts about people pleasing ? What other ways do you know to deal with situations like these? Comment on teh comment section below!