people_pleaser“What movie would you like to see?”

I am easy – you choose.

“What do you fancy doing this week-end?”

Happy to go with the flow

“Please can you collect my mother from the airport?”

Of course – no problem

At what point does behaviour go from being generous and kind to that of a ‘people pleaser’? The latter of which is psychologically unhealthy and in fact quite boring.

If any of the points below resonate with you then you could be falling into the people-pleasing category and it is time to change.

  • You try and be who you think someone wants you to be
  • You always back down from arguments
  • You avoid speaking up when you don’t agree with something
  • You find it hard to say no and will go out of your way to accommodate people even when it ends up doing damage to your own situation and affects you negatively.
  • You avoid conflict and getting angry.
  • You find it hard to take the initiative or make the first move
  • You always try and be nice rather than expressing how you really feel in case you upset the other person.
  • You always put others first and take little time for yourself
  • You stretch yourself financially as a result of your desire to please
  • People take advantage of your kindness
  • You have a lot of one-sided relationships in which the other party seems to gain more than you

Most people who are people pleasers act this way because they want to be liked, and usually, they want to be respected as well. However, the reality is often the opposite, in that people lose respect for them being so giving as they are seen as pushovers, doormats and having no backbone.

As psychologist Harriet Braiker says ‘– to please is a disease – and in excess, it can become an addiction that eventually results in you neglecting your own needs and wants, and ironically losing the respect of the people you are trying to please.’

Contrary to what many might believe when it comes to successful dating, it certainly is not being someone who pleases the other person and agrees with everything they say and do. Nor is it thinking that they will like you more if you go with the flow and don’t come across as too challenging or demanding.

As human beings, we like a challenge in most areas of our lives as it gives us a sense of achievement, and relationships are no different. If something comes too easily it somehow loses the appeal and we wonder if we could have done better. You never want to be with someone, who just because you are a pleaser, wonders if they should have strived higher.

If this blog resonates with you as being a pleaser then you are definitely putting yourself in an inferior role to other people and it is time to break this pattern of behaviour. Happy, successful and lasting relationships are built on equality and respect.

Your starting point is to practice being more assertive as you need to improve your self-esteem and to become more independent in your thinking which will ultimately lead to a greater feeling of self-respect and confidence.

Changing Behaviour:

A powerful way to change behaviour is to collect evidence that the new behaviour works. If you have always acted in a people-pleasing way you will not have collated any evidence to suggest that it is ok to not be that way.

Think about the last few times you engaged in people-pleasing behaviour, either on a date or just in normal day to day communication with friends, family, peers or colleagues. Write down each event and how you could have responded from the perspective of putting yourself first. Notice how you feel while doing this exercise.

The first part of any behavioural change is acknowledging what it is you want to change and then committing to making the change. Start small, change is only scary because people try and do too much too quickly.

Begin by identifying one pattern of behaviour that you would like to change. For example, if you always find yourself doing what others want, force yourself to suggest something you want to do and see what happens. By disproving your own hypothesis that you have to please others in order to be liked you can then start to be more confident in your assertiveness of saying what you want.

Once you see positive results in one type of behaviour, you will automatically want to change the other aspects of people-pleasing. This does not mean you are going to turn into a selfish, uncaring unlikeable person. It will mean that you correct the balance of power in your relationships and when people are with you they will know the real you, they will respect you and like you for the fact you are true to yourself and stand up for what you believe in.

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I believe there is nothing more heart warming than giving your time unconditionally to someone or something you hold close to your heart. 

This week is Volunteering week and I wanted to share what volunteering I do and why I believe this act of giving is so good for our health – both physically and mentally. 

I love all animals – but I especially love dogs for all the magical characteristics they display and their ability to always love us no matter what – they never have mood swings, hold grudges, gossip, judge – they just give and want to be close to us. Therapy dogs are becoming more and more a part of support now for both the elderly, in schools to help calm exam anxiety as well as for people suffering from mental health. 

Unless I am away, I go every Tuesday to Rescue Remedies Dog Rescue where I am a volunteer dog walker. Through this, I have met the most amazing group of people from all walks of life who all have their own motivations for wanting to volunteer – but we all share two values – kindness and compassion and of course our love for dogs.

Some fellow walkers have told me that they started volunteering to help with their mental health challenges like anxiety and depression, one walker used to come with her autistic child as the dogs calmed him. Others started for physical health reasons as they wanted to walk more and felt it was a shared benefit to get fit and to give so they not only improved their physical health, but also their emotional health. Others had arthritis which improved significantly with the number of hours walked. 

I had many mixed emotions when I first started 3 years ago as it was agonising to see all these innocent dogs behind bars for crimes they have never committed. Each one waiting and hoping that every new face was coming to take them to their forever home. I had to develop my emotional strength to help block out the pain of what suffering can look like and to always remain calm to help reassure the dog that I was a friend, as well as my physical strength to cope with some of the stronger dogs. 

It was my husband who reframed the emotional aspect for me,  as he said they are in a much better place now than they had been before they were rescued – one of warmth, good food and the best veterinary care as well as being love and walked by the many volunteers. Sadly, so many dogs who are living in homes aren’t walked or walked enough.

Each time I arrive, and I am greeted with that huge excited canine smile, I truly believe my heart gets that little bit bigger as I know I am making a small difference to some dogs lives and if we can all make small differences, together we will make a big one.

If you give of your time I would love to hear who or what you hold dear and if you don’t, then I encourage you to try and you too will also feel your heart getting bigger. Even if it is just for an hour a month, that hour will make a difference.

Enjoy the magical gift of giving x

Every now and again we have the opportunity to see the world through different eyes. Mine has been the last 2 weeks through our new puppy.

One of the key skills you learn as a coach is curiosity and the power of perspective. We all see the world in a certain way but coaching reminds us that there are many ways to see the same situation.

The power of curiosity is about stepping back and just observing through eyes different to your own – a puppy’s or a young child are great perspectives to try, as everything is new and exciting – without judgment or history. It is the rawness of this perspective that excites me as it is for the very first time when there is no previous experience or awareness.

What perspective do you tend to find yourself mostly in? What opportunities do you think might be available to you if you approached your life with a puppy’s eyes?

I was inspired to write this blog after watching X-factor. Now I know a lot of you have watched X-factor many times but I have to admit this is the first year I have really got into it. All I can say is that I am humbled by the bravery and passion of the contestants, and surprised that I actually like Simon Cowell.

We live in a society of prejudice where we judge others by what we see, what they wear, where they come from, what accent they have – but do we ever really know their story and who they really are? If we did would we change our minds?

Every week when I come into London I love to walk with my earphones on and just observe all around me as I wonder who they really are. Where they grew up, what their parents were like – if they even knew their parents – what their dreams are.

I am sure there are few that can say they never watched Susan Boyle auditioning for the X-factor. I went on to buy two of her albums as well as reading her biography as I really was moved by here bravery and the power of her voice.

If you didn’t see her then maybe you saw Paul Potts, the mobile phone salesman from Wales or you saw the latest audition in Wembley where a mother was entered by her 12 year old son who believed in her. Simon Cowell’s comment was that it was like she had swallowed someone else who just sang out with a voice so strong – it took a 12 year old boy to see what no others had seen. Never forget the impact you have on your children and how much they love and believe in you – they are your biggest fans and you never know you might just find yourself entered on a talent show.

One of the biggest reasons people look for a life coach is to build their confidence. A coach can’t make you confident, all we do is see the brave person inside. We champion and support you so you feel able to truly connect with your inner strength and believe that you are ok just as you are.

Sometimes all we need is for someone else to believe in us and tell us it is ok. I find it so humbling to see these awkward shy people up on stage in front of thousands (something I don’t think I could do) and when they open their mouths, we are not only silenced by what comes out, but emotionally moved as we realise we are all connected on the inside. That is the magic of music – there is no discrimination – just melody.

Next time you see someone who you have a negative view on – take a moment to wonder what their story is and how you would feel if they started to sing for you…

 

If we knew what lay around the corner would we behave differently? Would we say the thing we wanted to but our stubborn pride or sense of principle stopped us?

Would we say sorry or would we forgive?

Would we make that change we had been thinking about but were too scared to or thought we could put off until another day? Would we call that person we had been avoiding? Would we get our house in order so there was no mess for others to sort out?

If you had been a passenger on MH370 or MH17 what would you have done differently if you had known there was going to be no hello?

I wrote a blog a few years ago about the Fragility of Life – we really do walk a fine line each day so make sure you don’t have any regrets…

Thinking of all those who said good-bye but never got the chance to say hello again.

When I first moved to London and joined the world of commuting someone told me that those who walk up escalators go after life and those who stand wait for life to come to them…

Being someone who always thought they went after life – I was never going to stand on an escalator after hearing that. No matter how hard my heart was beating I would never let it show as I glided up the moving steps feeling virtuous over my fellow commuters who were waiting for life.

It was only the other day – almost 20 years later – that I decided to stand on the escalator and watch who walked, and who stood to see if there really was anything in this statement. I noticed two things: – the walkers always looked stressed and in a rush and those standing were either looking at phones, listening to music (or both), eating (yes lots do eat on the escalator) or talking or laughing with someone. So are they really waiting for life to come to them, or are they just the patient, calmer ones actually being in the moment? Is this really how we measure success and ambition in our society – by the speed at which we move along, versus those who take time to enjoy the journey?

Maybe as we get older we move from the left side of the escalator to the right side and it is about taking time to notice what is around us and not just being focused on getting to the top as quickly as possible.

So do you walk or stand on an escalator?

I have had bloggers block for a year now and have been waiting for inspiration to get me going again – well I got it last week in Mallorca on my bike…

In April 2010 I found myself standing in the rain holding my new pink Kent Velo Girls (KVG) cycling shirt looking at these tough English ladies heading out for their Friday ride and I wondered how I would cope with my thin fair weather blood – little did I know then about the impact and collective power of determined women as I joined forces and became one of the ‘pink ladies’.

Being strong has nothing to do with the thickness

of your blood ~ it is about the strength of your self-belief.

In May 2014 I found myself on a plane heading to the sunny island of Mallorca with 4 other pink ladies, having never done more then 2 days consecutive cycling and a maximum one off distance of 100miles (after three years of encouragement from the KVG). I was happy with regular social weekly rides of 50km’s chatting and never thinking I could do more. I was blissfully unaware of what lay ahead and was planning a relaxing blend of sun, sea and social cycling.

It was on the first night that it started to dawn on me as to what the next 5 days were going to look like. I felt that sense of panic rising that I wasn’t able to do such things – I wasn’t strong enough, wasn’t fit enough, wasn’t tough enough – how could I compete with these women who had done so many events and achieved such distances. I realised then that the Universe was communicating with me in another way. I hadn’t seen its messages when it had been telling me to stop playing small and so now it was going about it via another avenue – my physical ability.

At the age of 42, same age as my mother was when she got cancer and only ended up having 5 years left, I was shown that I have years ahead and have only just had a sneak preview of what I am capable of.

So 5 days, 5 women, average age of 52, over 500km of cycling and over 7000m of climbing with 22 hours in the saddle was my flashing billboard that life is only just really starting.

For anyone who thinks your 40’s is the start of being middle aged, this is a message to all of you reading this that life really only does begin at 40….

This blog is dedicated to all the amazing women in the Kent Velo Girls club who have achieved and are still achieving their impressiveness and potential. You are all tough and strong and a total inspiration. Thank you Bee Gregorie for having a dream to get women out there pedalling and it is not just the pedals we turn when we get on our bikes – it is our minds and self belief too.

http://www.kentvelogirls.co.uk

 

To watch the news or not to watch the news – THAT is the question.

I don’t know about you, but I am starting to feel quite drained these days when I watch the news and read the paper. It is filled with economic and social doom and gloom and I always wonder what makes news?

If we had a policy that the news had to be an equal distribution of positive and negative news what do you think that would be like?

The news companies will say bad news sells but why can’t good news be equally profitable? Why can’t we be told about the success stories of certain breeding projects instead of just how the ice caps are melting and the threat to the polar bears existence?

For every social uprising and associated war, why can’t be we told about equality and where society and governments are working well together?

For every dark economic forecast, why can’t we be given a positive message of how to make the most of these tough times and to think smarter about money. This could pave the way for much better future money management and financial security.

If we received more encouraging and positive messages from the media we would all have a more positive outlook on life and this energy would flow through all aspects of society.

One of the reasons why I believe holidays are so relaxing is because we take a break from what is going on around us – a big piece of that is the news. We get to be away from the constant barrage of negative messages.

So – to watch the news or not? I guess everything in moderation.

Unless you live under a rock or have zero interest in the Olympics you will definitely have been talking about Oscar Pistorius and like most people, be asking the question – ‘what happened?’

How does a young South African, who became the first paralympian to compete in an able-bodied race in the 2012 Olympics, go from being a national hero to standing in a dock with his head hung low accused of murdering his beautiful girlfriend? Is this another case of just a jealous guy with a dark side who can’t control his temper or really a tragic accident? 

We have now seen so many sporting stars who we think are special because of what they have achieved in the sporting arena, only to discover the real truth behind the likes of Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong and now The Blade Runner.

Do we ever really know anyone? When someone is beautiful or has acting or sporting talent, why do we put them on some sort of pedestal to be admired with the belief that they are not capable of any wrongdoing?

Is Oscar really just a very angry man who had a tough upbringing and had to always compensate for the loss of his lower limbs or could this event have happened to anyone?

If he is found guilty of murder then how do we feel about him? Does it take away all that we thought was impressive and brave or do we see him as two separate halves – the man who ran before us or the murderer? The fact that even the Hollywood Oscars are being overshadowed by this case shows just how affected the world is by seeing someone go from hero to villain.

It doesn’t sit well when you find out something that you thought was – isn’t. How can we ever be sure who someone really is and should we try to know them or should we keep a distance and focus on what they do – not who they are?

There is no escaping the array of red roses, hearts, chocolates and the endless emails and adverts suggesting what to give your loved one on the 14th February.

Love it or hate it – Valentines Day comes around every year and our attitude towards it depends very much on our personal circumstances. I thought this month, rather than focus on how many roses you may or may not get, use the date to look at who you are in relationships.

One of my key drivers for wanting to coach women was seeing too many not knowing their self worth, especially in their relationships. I am a firm believer that relationships are about equality – not measured in income, but in respect.

I find it sad that many women lose themselves in relationships. This happens as a result of not being true to ourselves as to what we want, and trying to change to suit the other person, as we think this will make them happy. The opposite is what actually creates strong relationships – being honest and authentic, and most importantly brave enough to know your worth and to not change to suit another, but to only improve as a result of being in that relationship.

One and one at the very least needs to add up to two. Relationships require constant effort and energy to keep them alive and thriving so why enter into a life long commitment that isn’t going to enhance your life?

The March edition of Psychologies magazine highlights some key points, which I thought, were worth sharing when it comes to being in a relationship. So whether you are married, in a long term relationship or single, think about the points below and if you don’t have anyone to buy you flowers on the big heart love day then buy your own – at least you will get exactly what you want and see it as a gift of love to yourself.

You don’t need another to complete you if you remember the following:

  1. Be Authentic – don’t pretend to be someone else.
  2. Bring romance to your friendships – enjoy your friends more so the focus isn’t just on your relationship.
  3. Bring friendship to your romances – take the pressure off by just having fun as you would with any friend.
  4. Meditate/pray – what ever your belief system, by spending time alone or in prayer you will discover that you have enough love within you and you don’t need to look for it in another.
  5. Forgive – don’t bring baggage from the past into the present as it is only destructive and prevents you from moving forward to the happiness you deserve.

A friend once said to me – ‘be true to yourself and you will have the happiness you deserve’. I have never forgotten those words as it was only when I was happy in myself that I started honouring my self worth and that was when I met my husband. Love really is out there for all of us to have and to hold.