The need to please, perform, perfect and prove is pervasive among women. Some of us are driven by the fear of failure; for others, it’s an underlying angst about what other people might think. Either way, trying to fit the mold of who we think we’re supposed to be makes life feel like a constant hustle for worthiness. It’s exhausting, overwhelming and unfulfilling.
Our struggles to feel worthy are fueled by common underlying themes:
- Not feeling enough — I’m not smart, skinny, talented, rich enough.
- Not measuring up to our high standards — I should be doing this. I need to attend that event. I feel guilty about missing miss my daughter’s dance recital because of a critical work meeting.
- Disconnecting from our personal values – I don’t feel like myself. I’ve morphed into someone else and I just feel like I’m on a treadmill, disconnected from what I want to be doing.
Famed psychiatrist Carl Jung called the dark side of our personality the “shadow personality.” It’s the part of ourselves we want to hide from the world because we perceive the behavior, emotion or thought to be socially unacceptable; it’s not worthy of love, acceptance or belonging. As a result, we change our behaviors and ourselves as a way to fit-in, fearful we won’t be accepted or acknowledged for who we truly are.
We can break free of the feelings of shame and vulnerability and conquer the need to please everyone in four steps.
- Elevate Awareness – Become aware when those voices in our heads send negative messages. Pause and ask – How true is that? Get curious as to how you feel and why you might be feeling the way you do.
- Accept Imperfections – Give yourself permission to be human and treat yourself as you would a good friend, practicing self-compassion, self-acceptance and forgiveness.
- Reframe Situations – Try to look at what’s happening in a different light. Ask yourself, what might be another interpretation?
- Trust the Process– Imagine what it would be like if you were to release expectations of perfect outcomes and appreciate that every life experience is an opportunity to learn? What if you were to believe you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be?
When we relieve ourselves of the pressure to perform and please, we learn how to enjoy the journey rather than fixate on the outcome. Becoming comfortable in our own skin, we gain the confidence to lead authentic lives, no longer afraid to be seen for who we truly are – perfectly, imperfect.
Alison Deutsch and Wendy Van Besien are Certified Professional Coaches who have each experienced significant transitions, multiple times. Utilizing research-proven assessments, tools and practices Wendy and Alison help women overcome the stress, fear, and uncertainty that occur around making big changes.