Question: Dear Luise: I am not an honest person because I really hate to say something that another person doesn’t want to hear. I want to be open with my husband but I find myself telling him what I think he wants to hear to avoid any kind of conflict. I get along with others well because of this, but I am not being very real in many cases. How do I conquer this flaw? Melanie
Answer: Dear Melanie: I am a past-president of the People Pleasers Club so I know exactly what you are talking about. I’m no longer a club member but it took a lot of hard work.
We learn this behavior from our role models and from The School of Hard Knocks. Somewhere we learned that being as invisible as possible promotes survival. We don’t make waves and we are liked for that. What does it matter if we aren’t authentic and have no integrity, right? Wrong. It matters to us. We know.
I‘ve always felt that it’s a sign of increased awareness when we notice something we do that used to make sense and no longer does. I see it as a step up the ladder of life that creates room for growth.
Start out by asking for your husband’s help. Tell him that this is a long-standing problem and you are very uncomfortable with how it makes you feel. Let him know that you are afraid to speak up and disgusted when you don’t. Enlist his support. The very best place to face up to this is in a safe space.
Start a diary, if you like to express yourself that way, and keep track of when you “told it how it was”. No blatantly or unkindly, but clearly. Write about how your felt and how the situation was resolved. Keep track of your wins.
Watch others and see how often you meet up with a fellow “pleaser”. Learn from observing what doesn’t work for them. It’s often easier when it’s someone else playing your part and you can look on from a distance.
You are definitely on the right track to be concerned. Good for you. Blessings, Luise