We develop many mechanisms in our arsenal to get our needs met. We compensate in ways for so long and they become so ingrained that we don’t even know they’re operating anymore.
Let me break down how I think we develop these. We’re born wanting and needing a two main things-love and belonging. We need to know that we’ll be taken care of and we need to know that there’s a place for us in the world. These needs are where acceptance, shame, connection, manipulation, and community all stem from.
Sounds about right, huh?
The way the world actually works in all cases is that we’re going to eventually be disappointed with these two needs. It’s a fact of life. Just about the time we’re past being a toddler the times we’ve not gotten those are immeasurable.
So the mind does what it was meant to do, it tries to figure out why. Why am I not getting what I need, what’s wrong with me, and how can I contort who I am to get what I desperately need?
When children are at that developmental stage where the world is all about them they also think that when their caregivers aren’t able to fulfill their every needs and desires they begin to make up that it comes from some flaw they possess. They simply believe that’s what’s making others not want to provide love or make them belong.
That’s where the skill of resourcefulness comes in. We’re creative in our ways of trying to close the gap on the deficiencies in our lives. We start to adjust our behaviors and bring online special techniques. We perform, act cute, detach, please, trade favors, conform to certain standards, etc etc.
We alter ourselves so that the world sees us in certain ways.
We do this an in attempt to close the gap, and it works pretty well, but not completely. Because it only works somewhat and not all the way we also have to learn to settle for suboptimal fulfillment. I better just take what I can get. Another thing that follows up into adulthood.
These special techniques and coping mechanisms become habitual and engrained to such an extent that at a certain point we lose control over them. They wreak havoc in our lives. We say and do things that cause us to feel like we’re settling and we create transactions all over in our lives to get love and belonging. The only way we’ll get what we need it to “pay” for it.
One of the most famous of these characters is the people pleaser. That entity will do all kinds of things for all kinds of people in order to gain something for themselves. Also known as the “Yes Man” or “Yes Woman”. And these people pleasers are they’re great! You can almost get them to do anything and in some instances you actually can.
The contracts in the lives of the people pleaser are often leveraged and when markers are called in they end up disappointing others from their failure to provide what’s been promised or they run ragged to fulfill their agreements. In the end they often don’t get what they want anyway.
They have blurry boundaries since they’re auto reply to every request is “yes” and they’re used to compromising what’s important to them.
Peace of mind becomes a figment of the imagination since they’ve conscripted their lives to the service of the people they’re seeking love and acceptance from.
This story is many of ours and it should be addressed so we can gain back some of our life and time. When dealt with we can also focus on what’s important to us rather than always what’s important to others.
Do you find it hard to say no or feel like you always say yes?
What will happen if you disappoint others?
Where in your life do you see that you need boundaries?