Why making other people happy could be bad for your health.
Are you known as the ‘go to’ person when friends and family need something? The reliable one; willing to drop everything and ‘lend a hand’ at a moment’s notice?
Perhaps you identify as a healer, but struggle with the ethics of charging for your services…convinced you’re not ‘in it for the money’, even though you can’t pay the rent? While it might seem noble on the surface, the act of selflessly sacrificing your own needs in a bid to win brownie points can be a sign of something far more insidious (and toxic!) than a benevolent nature.
We like to think our willingness to crawl out of sickbeds to prove ourselves to the boss or grin and bear people stomping all over our boundaries, is based on good intentions. But what is it ‘they’ say about the road to Hell being paved with those?
The Road to Hell
There’s a fine line between a generous heart and a compulsion to people-please in order to be liked. One will ensure you don’t burn yourself out from a place of pure, unconditional love – note the word, ‘unconditional’ – for yourself. Meaning, that it doesn’t come with the proviso that you please everyone around you, in order to earn that love. And the other? Well, that’s the path paved with those ‘good intentions’ that are actually driven by your unconscious mind, which is hard-wired and programmed by your childhood experiences with one singular objective. Your survival. Your unconscious mind controls around 95% of everything you say and do. Including what you manifest as your lived experience.
Whereas the consciously experienced ‘decision-making process’, only accounts for about 5% of the choices you make and actions you take. Our brains take in 11 billion bits of data per second, but only 400 bits are processed at a conscious level. The UNCONSCIOUSLY driven compulsion to people-please is a trauma response. Consciously, people-pleasers tell themselves they do it because they’re ‘good’. Unconsciously, they don’t believe themselves worthy of love, hence must ‘work’ to earn it.
When stuck in ‘People-Pleasing Syndrome’, our road to Hell manifests as long-term health issues, pain, anxiety, stress, depression; ultimately created by such an insatiable desire to be deemed worthy that you’ll sacrifice your own wellbeing, in order to PROVE your value to ‘the pack’. As humans, we must be accepted by the tribe, lest they leave us to perish and a predator gobbles us up. The need to belong is an innate human drive. Tales from a reformed, chronic people-pleaser.
I understand the desire to be liked. I was a people-pleaser for much of my life; experiencing suffocating guilt around charging for my healing services and saying, “No” to demands on my time (reasonable or otherwise), which eventually saw me succumb to a plethora of health issues. Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, gut issues, and an immune system that was so depleted, the slightest sniffle took me out for weeks on end. By age 42, I was bankrupt and on the brink of a complete mental and physical breakdown.
I decided in order to continue ‘doing it all’ for my partner and three young children, I’d have to quit trying to work my way through my pain and go on a disability pension.
The universe had other plans, however, leading me to an Integrative GP who, after listening to my extensive shopping list of health complications, proceeded to gently enquire as to what my childhood was like.
Suddenly, all the dysfunction our family had swept under the proverbial rug, along with unstoppable tears of grief came flooding out like a tsunami. When I finished, she looked at me with compassion and said quietly, “You have PTSD.” Everything changed at that moment. Now, after resolving the wounds of my past, I run a global Healing Institute, training practitioners to facilitate the specialist complex trauma healing method known as STARR – StoryTeller Alchemy Rapid Recoding. And I hold my boundaries (and say NO!) like a BOSS!
If you’ve been feeling like a family doormat, I invite you to book a free, confidential consultation with one of our trauma-trained practitioners. We hold a safe space for you to heal through your past stories of pain because we know when you change your story, you change your internal state and that is how you change your life.
Bron Lea is a complex trauma specialist, soul alchemist, and Founder and Creator of STARR Collective Institute of Healing®️ and STARR Method™️. She presents the unique series, “A Bite With Bron – The Truth About Trauma Healing”, on Spiritual Events Directory every Monday morning at 9.30 am AEST.