If you’ve ever played hide and seek you can relate to the feeling of hiding and being afraid of discovery. You experienced it as you crouched in a closet trying to hide from the one seeking you. Your heart was racing as you sat, waiting, terrified of being found. It is this fear that kept us quiet and hiding. When we Comply in relationships, it is a form of hiding who we are. Focusing on someone else and their ideas could make it easier for us to never be at fault. By focusing on others and complying all the time we might be avoiding Unconfutable feelings around our thoughts about our shortcomings we see as faults.
Fear is a huge motivator for hiding and building the habit of complying. But, what is it we fear? We fear looking stupid, not being liked, being ridiculed, and we fear failing. This generates high anxiety and we unconsciously choose to focus the blame on others to continue hiding. Even knowing all this, we are not motivated to change because it would be too uncomfortable. I would like to suggest it is the hiding that we should be afraid of, not our faults.
By being present and acknowledging why we are choosing unconsciously to be “other focused” instead of hiding and complying, we can learn to be Decisive. Instead of being the child that is hiding, we can take on the role of the Seeker and be decisive. Like a child seeking the person hiding as they determinedly search looking in every closet under every bed and not afraid but actually excited. You too can look forward to the end goal of finding decisiveness and enjoy the steps you will need to take to generate decisiveness as a behavior that you experience on a regular.
One step you can take as you begin to be decisive is identifying when you are complying and ask yourself, “What do I really want to say and why am I not saying it?” Another question you could ask is, “What is the worst that could happen?”
Becoming clear on your motives is a key component when it comes to showing up decisively. Being decisive is not permission to be bossy or bitchy; when we choose such behaviors, it is because we think we have to prove, justify, or explain. Allow yourself to feel new emotions, get things wrong, and be misunderstood. Deciding to believe that your unique input is as important as anyone else’s and expressing it in a respectful and dignified manner will generate emotions of self-confidence and provide the encouragement you need to keep growing.
Working towards the awareness of wanting to be more decisive is an attempt that is not only healthy for you emotionally, but physically as well. Cultivating a Leading Lady behavior like Decisiveness can bring your soul peace, however, maintaining the balance can be tricky. Holding space for my clients as they walk this tightrope is what I do. Ready to grow and change your relationships? Let’s get on a discovery call today and show you some clarity.
Can you remember a time when you have experienced self-discovery either as an adult or a child, and how accomplished you felt that you figured it out? When we try to control others’ lives we are taking away their self-discovery process. This will not only diminish their experience but yours in turn.
Gaining Self-Awareness of what we can control helps us keep and have loving relationships with people in our lives. When we begin to think such thoughts as, “I have to do this, or it won’t be done correctly” or “this is the right way to do it,” we might not be giving others the space to develop skills, grow in confidence or simply show we believe they are capable. Asking yourself, “does it have to be done” and “is there another way to do this?” or “can I give it to someone else?” may help you learn—over time—to let things go.
Cultivating a life of self-awareness is a wonderful Leading lady behavior that you can exchange for the co-dependent behaviors of wanting to control everything. Many are unaware when they are portraying control behaviors as they proclaim that it is not themselves but others who are trying to control things.
Since it is a behavior we easily identify in others and don’t see it in ourselves it can be a tricky one to detect. Having a sense of control in our lives is something I think we humans gravitate toward. The truth is that everything outside of you—when it comes to everyday life— is out of your control. A question worth asking yourself when you are feeling out of control might be, “what is my part in this, and how do I want to respond to it.”
Being human, we not only desire a sense of control but also answers. Telling someone how to do simple tasks or wanting them to do it your way and becoming angry because they don’t, may indicate you are trying to control the situation.
Behaving passive-aggressively is another kind of controlling behavior. Asking a loved one the question,” Why don’t you love me,” or saying, “you don’t love me anymore,” or even, “you’re not mad at me are you?” are leading questions with hidden undertones. Indirect questions like these are a way for co-dependents to manipulate the relationship. It’s not necessarily on purpose but more to do with the fact we are insecure, and so we look for validation outside of ourselves.
Controlling behavior can look like nagging, thinking you have the answers, and passive-aggressive speaking. Look for these in your day to day living and become aware of how you respond in situations, how you talk to yourself, and the effort you give. Holding space for yourself will help you as you grow in letting go of control and embracing your own Self-Awareness.
Creating Self-Awareness and allowing yourself to observe your own behavior can be disheartening at first, but as you hold compassion for yourself it will slowly become liberating. Remember, you are your own worst critic. If any of the examples I explored in this blog resonates with you, schedule your discovery coach call. It’s a great way to see what coaching with me is all about. Here is the link to get started and discover what is possible. https://angeladryden.com/contact-angela/
People-pleasing in its most simple form is agreeing with others when you don’t really agree, saying yes when you want to say no, and apologizing when you did nothing wrong. So, if we know people-pleasing is not a healthy behavior to build long-term relationships, because you’ll lose yourself when doing it, then why do we do it?
One reason why we do it is that we don’t want confrontation. This most likely started at a very young age. Maybe hearing the words “be a good kid,” or “go apologize, you hurt their feelings” could have created the crux to unhealthy relationships, as we didn’t learn how to give others space to express their emotions.
Even though avoiding confrontation might seem like a way to fix things, suppressing emotions, like anger can make it fester inside and grow, until it erupts. As a Life Coach, and one that loves working with Co-Dependent ladies, this behavior can be tackled by uncovering why you don’t want someone to be upset. After you have done that, then you can begin exploring what emotion you need to meet for yourself, so you can be present while others express themselves.
Transforming the behavior as a People Pleaser to a Peace Maker is quite the journey. Practicing the communication skill Listening will be the most effective tool during this process. There won’t be any magical moment where you just stop reacting and thinks are all songs and posies wherever you go. The truth is you will struggle, you will want to slip back into old behaviors, and it will take a tremendous amount of patience and growth on your part. Becoming a peacemaker could mean you are going it alone with little to no support around you.
I believe the answer could be as simple as Listening. It would be hard to actually pinpoint when as a society we began to put so much emphasis on the need to have people always agree with one another, yet at the same time, hold the opinion that anyone can do as they please. One group is asking for acceptance and tolerance, the other group is asking for the same thing but maybe in a different way. Yet neither side is understanding because they aren’t really listening.
Developing this behavior happens when you interact in situations that you might have avoided before. You don’t engage because you have the answers, you engage in the conversation because you are seeking the answers. Choosing to hold space for someone can generate peace within from the awareness that you are creating more compassionate and true relationships. Learning what unconditional love could feel like as you disagree with someone and end the conversation by saying, “I enjoyed hearing how you see it, thank you”.
Respect for yourself and treating others with dignity is an important part of being a peacemaker. Be aware that people misunderstand others’ intent quite a lot. Instead of saying, “I didn’t mean that, I am sorry,” you could say, “I can see you’re upset, and you disagree with me, would you share how you see it?” Being honest sometimes seems like a lost art form but knowing you don’t need to People Please and can show up in a respectful manner as a Peacemaker, instead, means being your true, authentic self.
Having poor Boundaries is a behavior that Co-Dependents can portray. One way this behavior can manifest is as communication issues. I want to explore how being clear about yourself and coming from a place of integrity can make all the difference when forming clear boundaries.
The definition of Integrity is doing what you believe to be right no matter what others think or say, or if others will ever see or witness it. When I think of Integrity, I think of being true to yourself, and knowing what you Value. To discover what you truly value based on Integrity explore all areas of your life, including your relationships with family, in your career and community, and spiritual self.
Creating a boundary when you are unclear about what you value in your life can show up as making demands or stating ultimatums. Finding yourself holding different expectations for individuals in your life can wreak havoc on all your relationships, including the one with yourself.
One example of holding a value for yourself is being open to interacting with people that see things differently than you, without expecting them to be like you. Having this value, you might listen when you don’t agree, ask questions, and remain curious while being open to seeing it a different way. You stay in the room, engage in the conversation and maybe you don’t agree, but you appreciate them sharing their perspective. There are no boundary violations as you are showing up with Integrity; integrity for holding your boundary and integrity for respecting their opinion. If you find yourself reacting in spiteful ways as you are wanting to persuade or prove your point, you might need to reword this value and find what resonates with you.
Deciding not to engage with those who see things differently as you because you know yourself well creates a clear boundary based on what you value. This could mean you value your time and only engage in conversation with relationships that matter to you. If someone you disagree with enters a room and they engage in conversation you don’t agree with, you can excuse yourself. That is a clear boundary and you are coming from a place of self-integrity.
If you are open to engaging with one person and not others based on a judgment, you might be engaging in making exceptions; return to what you value. This is something I explore when coaching clients. Just be aware that doing this can blur your boundaries causing you to pull back and feel as though a boundary was violated. Understand that values can change as you grow in your own self-awareness.
Baby steps are key to your personal growth. Start with values that resonate with you. Do not force a value thinking it is what you should believe based on others’ perceptions. Forcing a value is not coming from a place of Integrity; it might be based on socially acceptable norms. That will not create Leading Lady Behaviors; a Leading Lady leads, even if it’s on her own path. As your coach, I can help you find clarity in your values as it comes from a place of Integrity. Ready to grow in Integrity? Reach out, and let’s get your Coaching session scheduled.
Have you experienced moments in a relationship when you wish it was just easier, finding yourself fighting to feel better? The Motivational Triad has three components to it: seek pleasure, avoid pain, and conserve energy. I want to offer what this looks like and how being aware of this process could aid you as you work towards transforming co-dependent behaviors into Leading Lady behaviors.
Let’s explore the first corner of the triad and look at the Motivational need to avoid pain. Our limbic and sympathetic nervous systems have a negative bias that can if we allow it, dictate our every move. It was designed to keep us alive; designed to keep us safe by wiring us to avoid all pain, whether it be physical or mental. By utilizing our Parasympathetic nervous system and prefrontal cortex we can decide what is a life-threatening danger and what might be our fears that are stopping us.
The next corner of the tripod is seeking pleasure. When you reach for the remote control, scroll through social media, grab that glass of wine or box of cookies we might be engaging in this. This is a way that one can use a “socially acceptable action” to avoid pain and conserve energy at the same time. We justify our actions by telling ourselves everyone else does it, too. This concept is one that can keep us from many experiences since the initial reaction to change from our routine can generate emotions of fear and anxiety, which leads us to avoiding pain.
Taking an evening walk, reading a book, studying a new language, or working a side hustle to earn some extra income are all examples of activities that expend energy instead of conserving it. When we avoid pain by seeking pleasure, such as sitting down to watch Netflix because our brain tells us we deserve to relax, we are conserving energy, but not getting anything done. This conservation of energy was historically essential to the human race, but now we must battle the Motivational triad on a daily basis.
For example, your loved one wants to watch a Netflix show, but you offer to go for a walk because you are trying to hold healthier habits. They say no, and they might even offer in return to have you sit and watch TV with them. You know they are wanting to sit because you understand the Motivational Triad. There is nothing you did or didn’t do; it is their limbic system doing its job. If you wanted to go for a walk and made it a goal to do that, when you use their actions as being your reason to not walk, you are engaging in a co-dependent behavior. You can choose to go for a walk, and they can watch tv. It doesn’t have to mean that someone is mad, doesn’t love you, or any such thing. It all depends on how you want to see it; allowing your loved one to see it their way and giving yourself permission to accomplish your goal of walking.
When we realize that the reward of an accomplishment would not generate such an uplifting emotion if we didn’t know what struggle felt like, we find ways to let go then rise up. It is only through knowing the struggle that we truly appreciate the reward. With this awareness, we are taking the steps to become a Leading Lady.
When we perform an action, we are doing it to meet an emotional need whether conscious or unconscious. Have you ever asked yourself how the action became a behavior? Repeated action becomes a habit, habit becomes the behavior.
The habit will stick based on how well that need was met from taking that action. Thus, forming a behavior. Meeting our emotional needs is what we are wired to do; if the action didn’t meet the need, we will try a different route. I want to explore how creating awareness around our needs could be the way to transform a Co-Dependent Behavior into a Leading Lady behavior.
First, to identify the need, ask yourself these questions, “What is the Emotional need I am trying to meet?” and “Is it short term, instant gratification relief I want, or do I want to see long term gain toward Leading Lady behavior?”
Short term is thinking that something outside of us, some external “person, place, or thing,” is going to meet our emotional needs. For short term emotional needs; think instant gratification. Some short-term needs could be wanting to feel acceptance from others through justification, proving our points, criticizing others, or validation. Co-Dependent behaviors are ways we show up to meet the short-term emotional need.
There are also long-term emotional needs. Actions we take to meet these needs may seem counterproductive, at first, but do provide the most gain in the long-term. These needs relate more to finding your purpose, learning self-appreciation, and feeling valuable and complete.
It is through taking the actions that meet the emotional need that we receive “rewards” which soothe (or bolster) our ego. Co-Dependent behavior, such as justifying our actions to others, exposing someone’s faults, and the need to prove we are right is a product of the short-term actions we take to meet the need.
Becoming aware of these needs will help you to create stronger and more vibrant relationships. Showing up and meeting your own needs for the long term with nothing to prove to anyone versus wanting the person, place, or thing to meet your needs can provide a long-lasting inner peace.
A great place to explore how you are doing in meeting your emotional needs is becoming aware of when something “triggers you.” Feeling triggered can be a perfect awareness tool by providing an opportunity for you to say, “I feel triggered, so what emotional need am I wanting to be met?”
Here is a “sneaky” thought we can encounter when transforming from Co-dependent to Leading Lady: we might feel triggered and because we want the ego boost and to feel better, we quickly change our thinking and create new thoughts to generate a more desirable feeling. We want to change the thought because we don’t like how it makes us feel. This is where I want to offer that you receive the original thought—all the ugliness of it—hold it, and digest what this trigger is trying to tell you. Then release it when you have accepted it. This step is important and part of the process to find your authentic self.
Have patience with yourself and realize that as a human we are perfectly imperfect. Living above the line by choosing the long-term gain versus the short-term gratification is forming Leading Lady behaviors, generating peace within and comfort when in stormy waters.