I got an e-mail in from one of my clients asking this question, “How do I let go of the destructive need to please others over myself?” She says some examples of this. She says, “When I was in high school, I secured a part in the play, and then my friends got kicked out of the play. And so I walked out with them. In going to college, I wanted to go to Stanford. My dad didn’t know Stanford. He wanted me to go to MIT. So I chose MIT just to please my father.”
She said also, “In work, I choose jobs that are not very lucrative because it’s easy for me to be over-qualified, and liked as a consequence.” And then she said, “I rented this house, because my mom thought that would be the good place for me to rent. And then not only did I not like the house, but on top of that, I spent my own money maintaining the house that I rented. How do I get out of this vicious cycle, Matthew?”
Well, it begins with what I call the game-changing formula. And that game-changing formula will change the whole game in your life. Start by gaining awareness. When you have awareness of something, it makes you more flexible. Flexibility leads to new options, and new options can lead to power.
What I would want for this client is to begin to notice that there is some hidden benefit or value that you are trying to gain out of making these choices and decisions. And I would imagine that the hidden value, that thing that you’re trying to gain, is manipulating others into believing that they should like you.
I’d like you to consider that you have a mistaken understanding that people don’t like you, that you don’t fit in. And I’d like you to just begin to look at this little thought: what has it cost you, accidentally believing that you don’t fit in? Accidentally thinking that people don’t like you? What has been the negative consequence of this throughout your entire life?
I want you to look back at yourself when you were five to ten, then in your teens, then in your 20’s and 30’s and 40’s and so on. What has this mistaken understanding cost you? You have been accidentally believing that you don’t fit in, that people don’t like you. None of it is the truth.
I’d like you to also take a look at how much it’s done for you. For my client, obviously, she’s gone to MIT, for example. So that was an accomplishment that she have created for herself. I imagine that you’ve also gained a lot from this mistaken thought that people don’t like you.
Begin to just be aware of it. And when you do, new things will open up. You’ll become flexible. And as soon as you start to get flexible, new options will arise, and those new options will literally create power for you.