I used to be a people pleaser.
If I wanted to belong somewhere, to belong to a certain group or community I went into people pleasing mode. Oftentimes it meant I was dimming my light or changing myself to be accepted in the group. It wasn’t fulfilling. It kept me small. I thought pleasing others meant it would not be alone. I did not know that just pleasing others in order to belong would bring more loneliness than actually being alone.
"Care about what other people think and you will always be their prisoner." Lao Tzu
I was not always in people pleasing mode. If I needed to stand up for something I believed in strongly I would. And not care about any havoc I created ;-)
If I wanted to belong somehow and somewhere though, if I wanted or felt I needed to belong to a certain group or community I went into people pleasing mode. As an HSP and empath that was quite easy for me. I can pick up on energies and emotions quickly and then just respond how people would like me to respond.
That was my strategy to be liked. To belong.
The first time this pattern got challenged and was literally shoved into my face was at a month long leadership training with Lufthansa. The psychologist saw immediately that this was my biggest challenge as a leader. (side note: I have had the amazing opportunity to take many leadership and self development trainings at Lufthansa which have helped me shed layers and see through my patterns and work on myself in many ways. I am forever grateful for these incredible opportunities and that this company saw the value of these trainings for their employees.)
And he made me work on it relentlessly. All main exercises for me were centered around that issue. I failed. I negated it. I hated it. I tried again. I cried so much. I felt desperate. I felt lost. I started to question so many things. I felt raw, vulnerable. I worked through some deep shit. It was an intense time and I was on my own. There also wasn't any meditations, breath work, somatic experience, Osho meditations, dance or anything to embody it or live out your emotions through the body. I had to do that myself. And I did.
On my first flight as “the boss” I obviously got confronted with exactly this issue.
It was a three day tour and this one person just kept triggering this issue. At first the old pattern held strong. I was swaying. But this person really brought out the big guns (doing everything wrong that one could possibly do wrong as a flight attendant) and at one point I stepped into my power. I had the talk, gave the feedback, wrote the feedback, gave it to her supervisor.
I faced the fear of “not being liked anymore”.
It took me weeks to process it. To accept the feeling of not being liked. Of not being everybody's darling. I needed to allow this to integrate. To make peace with it.
And more and more of these situations (in way smaller forms) appeared. With each one of them I learned. I grew. I shed the layers of a pattern that wasn’t serving me at all. And after I had learned in my work life, the challenges started in my personal life. Again, not always easy.
Knowing that I could loose friends. That I could be left out. That there would be major clashes in my family. All of this happened.
It was okay though. It wasn’t the end of the world as my pattern had me believing. It didn’t end my life. It didn’t leave me lost and alone. (Maybe just a few moments but only temporarily) It made me stronger. It made me more authentic. It allowed me to be true and vulnerable. It allowed me to speak my truth. And to shine my light.
It showed me that I do not need to please anybody to belong. And if I do, then it is not a place where I would want to belong to in the first place.
I realized that I only want to belong to places and people where I can be authentic. If there is a need to please someone, if that is what the others expect of me, I walk. I take my leave. That is not me anymore. It doesn’t serve me any longer. It is a story, a pattern of the past.
“Beware of compromising your integrity in order to belong.”
Oftentimes it meant I was dimming my light or changing myself to be accepted in the group. It wasn’t fulfilling. It kept me small. It restricted my power, my light, my growth, my abundance. Making yourself small bears to high a cost.
So I urge you: Stand tall! Be you! Fully! Shine your light! Don't be afraid that your light could blind others! They can put on sunglasses or move back into the shadows if they can't take it. You shine, baby!
Do not be afraid to shine! And if you don’t know how, I am here. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I know what you are going through. I have been there. I went through it. I can help you go through it, too. Just send me a message.