Tag Archives: love-driven communication

Love-Driven Communication – Wanting to Be Liked

This post is an extract from my book Love-Driven Communication – How to Create Deep Connections that Last which is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

The Craving for Approval

It’s no secret that deep down inside, everyone wants to be liked, befriended, beloved, appreciated, popular – whatever you want to call it. Everyone enjoys having friends and acquaintances who genuinely care about you. That’s a perfectly normal desire, but it’s truly amazing how many folks set out to obtain that goal by “looking for friends in all the wrong places” or by putting into action plans which are often self-destructive. This chapter addresses the whys and wherefores of being liked on your own healthy terms.

Many children learn at a tender age all to well to become a “people pleaser”. That label and behavior remains with many individuals throughout their entire life. It’s a lonely choice to make, and trust me, it is a choice. One of the main problems with being willing to do anything to be accepted and please everyone else is that much of the time, you do or say things contrary to what you’d really prefer. When you do everything short of bending over backward to get on someone’s good side, it eventually will come back to haunt you. Years and years of following this self-sabotaging and destructive habit leads to toxic feelings such as resentment (of self and others, most of the time), losing all self-respect, and getting a reputation for being a “pushover” which many people are, unfortunately, all to willing to use to their own advantage. Due to any or all of these elements, being a constant people pleaser manifests in the almost inevitable result of cultivating weak or even poor relationships and practically no self esteem.

When you constantly seek outside approval and are willing to do nearly anything to obtain it, you’ll find yourself feeling empty and invalidated. In other words, you’re questing after a prize that will never bring you a complete sense of satisfaction. Knowing who you are and valuing what you have to offer as a friend, family member, employee, neighbor or colleague is much healthier. This is not to say that you should never compromise your own agenda to be of service to someone else. I’m merely suggesting that you use your best discernment as to when and how often to do that. If you have no energy left for yourself and your own agenda, then you’ll always feel drained and under-appreciated. Knowing how to draw healthy boundaries and firmly say “no” when that’s what you most want to do is an excellent skill to cultivate.

Just think about it. You’ve undoubtedly known someone who could be categorized as a sycophant; in other words, a person who is always willing to be the “yes” person even when they’d rather say “no,” or who doles out flattery and insincere compliments in a desperate bid to be liked and accepted. Carrying on conversations with people who have taken on such a choice is at best stressful, challenging and exhausting. If you fall into the habit of cow-towing to everyone else’s needs and wants, you begin to lose sight of your true identity and personality, and may well totally forget how great it feels to be your genuine self. Being a people please naturally places you in the role of follower, never the leader. Others see you as “spineless” and weak, one who is easily manipulated. So the addictive people pleaser never has an authentic sense of being liked simply for themselves.

People pleasers walk on eggshells around others for fear of being excluded from activities, groups, or someone’s circle of friends. They live in constant fear of rejection and begin to feel invisible, in time. The destruction of self-confidence in one’s abilities is another natural out-picturing in the life of a people pleaser. This goes hand in hand with a nagging continuous fear of failure. I’m sure you are beginning to get the picture, but let’s take a look at some examples of how others tend to perceive the perpetual people pleasure.

EXAMPLE: Penny is an attractive woman who has a kind heart and a great sense of humor. Ever since she was a little girl, her mother reinforced the thought to her that, “Being attractive and funny is not enough in this world. You need to be willing to sacrifice your wants and desires for those of others to feel useful and make friends.” Even though this was first drummed into her head at the impressionable age of 5, today at age 35, Penny still relinquishes her own needs and desires in favor of those around her.

People in her circle of influence like Penny, but from a distance. They can often be heard saying things behind her back to one another such as, “I don’t understand why Penny volunteers for all the grunt work on every committee, but thank God she does! I certainly didn’t want to do all that hard work!” followed by gales of laughter. Or perhaps, “Gee, Penny really has a lot going for her, but she seems oblivious to it. She’s obviously intelligent enough to be a leader, but if she’s content to always buckle under and follow, I guess that’s her fate.”

You can begin to get more of a grip on how and why people often develop only a surface level, polite or even worse, tolerant type of connection with someone like Penny. She is known as such an easily manipulated “soft touch” that people see no reason to truly get to know or admire any strong traits her people pleasing ways keep well hidden. Therefore those in Penny’s circle because of her own willingness to give, give, give all the time almost have no choice other than to limit their ability to like and accept her. If she can learn to like, and eventually love and respect herself and stand up for what she really wants to do instead of always giving her power away to others, she can step up and either attract new like-minded friends, or perhaps even gain a newfound respect and regard from those in her former circle. However it’s up to Penny – no one can make these changes….except Penny. It’s a shift that must begin from within.

The Only Way to Go is Up!

If you are a people pleaser, or care about someone who is, it’s time to recognize that behavior only serves to dig a deep emotional hole that no amount of success can ever cover, let alone fill. Not until the pattern is broken when healthy self-respecting boundaries and self-love are put into practice will this issue be on the way to resolution.

When people pleasers do achieve any modicum of success, others probably perceive its because they got their accolade, award or recognition out of pity or a sense of obligation, rather than because of their talents and abilities. Others automatically categorize “serial people pleasers” as “brown-nosers” who will do virtually anything to be accepted. Respect is nowhere to be seen in that equation.

Remember when I wrote in the beginning of this chapter that being a people pleaser is a choice? I meant it, and it’s true. It is not a sentence that has been thrust upon you or anyone else. You’re the only one who creates a sense of imprisonment to that behavior. By exercising your free will choice, standing up for yourself and clearly expressing your opinions and preferences, you can begin to climb out of the hole dug by years of people pleasing. Some more great news is that you can do this in a non-confrontational manner. Take baby steps and notice how good it feels to honestly voice your true feelings. Here are some possible scenarios – maybe you can adapt some of them to fit your own particular situation(s):

Example 1: Several group members are sitting around having coffee, taking a break from decorating a rental hall for an upcoming event for their organization. Bruce, a natural leader, suggests, “Hey, I have a great idea! Let’s all go grab a bite to eat and relax – we’ve earned it!”
Joyce frowns slightly, and says, “That’s sounds like fun, but who’s going to finish the decorating? After all, our event is tomorrow night.”

Everyone in the group automatically turns their head to look at Stanley, their resident people pleaser, who usually buckles under peer pressure in his desperate attempts to be accepted. However Stanley recently read this book, and has become empowered enough to try a new tactic. He coolly smiles while under the gaze of the group at large, and quietly says, “How about this? If we all pitch in and give it our best effort for the next 30 minutes, we can be done, and still have time to go out for dinner. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I want to get a good night’s sleep and be well rested for the fundraiser tomorrow.”

The group is stunned, but when they see that he’s serious, they agree, and everyone pitches in, completing the decorating, going on to have an enjoyable communal meal and some fun socializing. To top it off, they are all beginning to realize that Stanley looks a bit taller or something – his newfound confidence is very attractive. After all, he didn’t get defensive as he sometimes did in the past, suffering in the role of a victim or martyr – he simply offered a plausible solution which made all of them feel good about doing their part. “Maybe Stanley should chair our next fundraiser,” is heard upon the lips of more than one of his fellow committee members.

The scenario given is ideal, to be sure. It may not work out that perfectly in Stanley’s real world. The most important point for him and everyone else to take note of is that he has at long last taken a stand and refused to succumb to peer pressure; refusing to quietly dissolve into his old non-self-respecting role of people pleaser extraordinaire. Baby steps, but powerful ones.

Example 2: Sarah is a college student who maintains a 5.0 GPA. She’s attractive, but doesn’t know just how stunning she is, because Sarah has lived her life in the shadow of being a people pleaser above all else. Her roommate Debbie went to high school with Sarah. Debbie is promiscuous and generally popular with male and female students, typically Sarah stays in her dorm room studying while everyone else parties. Not only that, Debbie often cajoles Sarah into doing her term papers and other homework with lame promises of introducing her to a “really cool guy” at some undetermined time in the nonexistent future. This has gone on and been repeated often, and deep inside, Sarah has begun to hate Debbie, but she’s afraid to speak up and put the bullying and false promises behind her.

Should Sarah: A) write a really rotten paper for Debbie’s next assignment and let her risk failing the course? B) Short-sheet Debbie’s bed and claim she has no idea what happened? Or C) Calmly insist that Debbie sit down so they can have a serious talk, where she lets her know clearly that she’s never going to cover for her again, letting the chips fall where they may. Perhaps even telling Debbie she’s already made plans to get a new roommate?

Well, that’s definitely a no-brainer. C is the best choice, of course. Many people pleasers might secretly dream of getting revenge on those who have taken advantage of them, but when they take a serious look at the facts, that they themselves are the ones who have agreed to keep people pleasing, no one else held a gun to their head to force them into it – then that’s where a new sense of power begins to dawn. Remember again, taking a stand for yourself can be done in a calm, confident manner which will take you out of the victim category, and put you in the much more empowered “driver’s seat” of your life. Ready, set, go!

This post is an extract from my book Love-Driven Communication – How to Create Deep Connections that Last which is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Love-Driven Communication – How to Get Things Done and Resolve Problems with Love

This post is an extract from my book Love-Driven Communication – How to Create Deep Connections that Last which is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Successful Solution Oriented Cooperation

There are many times in life when a joint or group effort will prove to be your most prudent choice in effectively getting things done. Therefore it’s crucial to develop excellent communication skills that work well when you find yourself in a time of need. For example, a natural disaster might take part of the roof off of your house, or your car might die in the middle of nowhere. Of course there are contractors and emergency road side services to help with such matters, but sometimes, people within your circle of influence have expertise and advice they can offer on these and other matters. It’s a good idea to at least be willing to seek them out when you know you could use a helping hand, and to be able to do so graciously. So this part of the book is geared toward helping you find ways to get things done, even in difficult situations.

It’s important to approach any potential helpers with the intention of building a good, solid rapport. Know that by seeking others’ help you are putting into motion a reciprocal relationship so that they know they can rely upon you when they need to call on you for advice in the future. Allow yourself to see others as being very capable and solution oriented. There are times in everyone’s life when you need to be willing to accept assistance; it’s much easier if you don’t create false feelings of guilt about not being able to do it all yourself or feeling that you’re the only one who can do things correctly. Keep an open, positive communication with the others involved; starting out by having a brainstorming session to find possible solutions would be a great place to begin.

Organize Your Team of Experts

It’s good to know what each team member’s strengths are, before tackling the problem. Align yourselves as being skilled, intelligent and focused upon coming up with the best possible solution. When you know someone in your circle of influence has mastery with any part of the challenge, definitely call them on board ASAP. It’s a good idea to tell them, “I’m asking for your help here because I know this is right up your alley. I want to put the best people available to work on this, and you’re right at the top of my list for the ____________ aspect of this situation.” (Fill in the blank with whatever assignment for which you feel they’ll be a perfect fit)

If you don’t know specifically what each team member’s strong suit is, then start out by telling them as much about the problem as you know, right up front. After you’ve done that, you might say, “I’m not sure if you personally handle this particular type of issue, but I trust and value your judgment, and would love to hear any suggestions or referrals you might be willing to share.”

Aim to achieve global agreement from all team members, so that you all stay focused on the ultimate goal of a positive solution to the problem. If you find that various team members disagree as to the best pathway to reach the resolution, then hear everyone out, but defer to your own best judgment as well as to the most qualified person’s input for each aspect of the challenge. Think of yourself as the CEO or commanding officer of the project. Put your best people to work on the various facets of the issue, and just check in periodically to make sure all components are flowing smoothly in the same direction – a successful solution!

You can appeal to the values and integrity of everyone involved. For example, “I know you all want the best case scenario to be our final outcome here. I really appreciate everyone’s efforts and talents, and just know that I’m counting on you to contribute your top skills and insights. Also know that I will gladly return the favor whenever you might need me to reciprocate with any problems you meet down the road.”

Keep the Love Flowing

Instead of approaching the problem with animosity and unhappiness, consider trying to “love it into dissolution.” What I mean is, create a united front among your team members so that the focus is on the positive outcome and the opportunity to work together and cohesively unite everyone’s unique talents to make sure the best solution is the one you all co-create.

Example #1: This is an example of something in your personal life that many, if not most people, have to deal with at some point. Let’s say you just bought a great used car that you really love, but the same week you buy it, it has some major mechanical problems that were not disclosed to you by the seller. Obviously, your first course of action might be to contact the seller and see if they’re willing to make things right. If you bought it from an individual as opposed to a dealer, however, you may find little or no cooperation from that recourse. So your next step would be to call any excellent auto mechanics you know in your circle of influence. If there are none, then don’t hesitate to call up a few local friends and ask, “Hey, could you please recommend an honest, reliable local mechanic that you really trust? Here’s what I need…” and then briefly describe the problem you’re having. Someone in your circle is bound to have had mechanical problems with a vehicle at some point and time in recent history. Once you get the proper mechanic lined up, another team member could be asked to follow you to the repair shop and give you a ride home after dropping off your car. See? Team work! You loved the car when you bought it, remember? Used cars often have issues, which you most likely were aware of when you bought it. However if this is a car you’ve always wanted, keep loving it, rather than getting mad at the vehicle itself. That’s self-defeating, and will always make you resent the car, which doesn’t do you any good. Perhaps resolve to love the car and take much better care of it than any of its previous owners – an example of love in action!

Example # 2: As for staying in a loving frame of mind and heart with those on your team, that’s a key factor as well. Should you discover that Joe is unwilling to work cooperatively with Abby on an engineering issue for your project to design a prototype for your fantastic new invention, invite them to discuss their differences openly, with you as an objective moderator. Stay in that viewpoint of love as you listen. Mirror back what you hear them saying, because if they are having a personality conflict rather than disagreeing with one another’s approach, for example, hearing you say, “Okay, what I’m hearing Abby saying is that she believes the design needs to be streamlined because ______________” (whatever it is that she’s made her point about). “That sounds great to me, but I’m not the engineering expert. Joe – what merits do you think Abby’s suggestion has, and what additional input could you share so that the prototype winds up meeting our ultimate goals?”

Playing a diplomatic “referee” is one way of keeping everyone laser-focused on the solution, and hopefully, appreciative of everyone else’s contribution without allowing ego or personality conflicts to cause the whole thing to self-destruct.

And Speaking of Personalities…

Once you’ve made up your mind to dislike something about one of your team members, it’s going to be that much harder to continue to work with them successfully. Your abject disapproval of them will taint the entire project, and very likely spread through the ranks of your team members like wildfire. Therefore, if you resolve to dislike the conflicting situation rather than the person, things can get back on track and stay there much more easily. In other words, do your best to stay in a loving framework as you consciously choose to like the person, and simply dislike the situation that has created conflict or rancor in some way. Again, having a brainstorming meeting is always a good solution, and you may need to put on your “referee’s hat” or assume the “objective counselor” role in order to keep the peace but it’s better to have everyone concerned air any issues that they have right up front, rather than to allow them to fester and become toxic to both the team members and the project itself.

Example: You’re in charge of orchestrating a 50th wedding anniversary for your grandparents; the big event will take place in two weeks. You enlist the assistance of two of your siblings, and three of your cousins. Betty and Terri have a history of disagreeing just for the sake of each one wanting to be right and have the final say-so. You wisely put Betty on the decorating committee, since that’s something she loves and at which she excels, and you put Terri in charge of the catering, since she is the resident family “foodie” and has arranged great catering for past events.

At your brainstorm meeting the first week in, everyone presents their current stage of planning and progress that’s been made. When Terri brings up the fact that the catering company she’s hired is now demanding an additional $200, Betty laughs and makes a derogatory comment: “Oh, who didn’t see something like this coming? Way to go, Terri!”

Instead of letting the potential verbal free-for-all escalate, you lovingly step in and calmly ask Terri if she has a written estimate from the caterers, and if so, what their reasoning is for now demanding a much higher fee. If it’s because she has created some last minute add-ons that your committee votes upon and deems unnecessary, just say, “Well, that would have been great, but we simply don’t have the budget, Terri. Would you like me to call the caterers, or go see them with you and make sure we stay with the original plan and fee?” or, if the add-ons are something everyone feels will make the party that much more of a success, you can see if all six of you on the committee are willing to approach a few family members and raise the additional $200, knowing that if at least ten people contribute $20, you’ll be fine. Do whatever is most diplomatic, but choose to be the loving leader from whom everyone else can take their cue.

Avoid the Blame Game

Do your best to remember that whatever happens, it’s not about blaming anyone else. The final ideal outcome is the solution, so be a good cheerleader as well as a good leader; help everyone stay focused upon the prize, or the future best case scenario, rather than getting bushwhacked by petty differences which can escalate into a major derailing of your true goal. Just as negativity and toxicity are contagious and destructive, setting the example of always staying loving, upbeat and positive is also an easy attitude to foster and catch; and it’s one that will help you all create the best solution in the most expedient manner. Refuse to let negative feelings even get a toehold, because when they do, they essentially snowball until the whole endeavor has been thrown off-track. Encourage everyone to respect one another, and listen objectively during the brainstorming sessions, and you’ll get to that perfect result much more harmoniously and effectively!

This post is an extract from my book Love-Driven Communication – How to Create Deep Connections that Last which is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.