My coaching and therapy clients often express the desire to lead an honest and authentic life. Many are successful, busy and dynamic go-getters. They are also exhausted, frustrated and suffer regular bouts of self-loathing, conflict and anger. Many are people pleasers and believe that they are truly engaging in honest and real relationships. But they are not. They are engaging in acts of self-deception where their "true self," the part of them that holds their real wishes and desires is held hostage by the part of them that wants to please, or in simple language, be NICE.
This pattern is problematic, and you need to know why. Because it makes you unhappy, and stressed! Your precious time and energy is spent wishing you could undo something, say what you mean, get what you need, say no, speak your mind -- you get the picture. Is that all too familiar "disease to please" and "nice-itis" sabotaging your life?
Your relationships may be suffering because you aren't being honest. You've created an identity that you imagine people want, when in reality, they want the real you. When you say YES, when you really want to say NO, or you don't share your real feelings or disappointment about something, you deprive yourself and them of an honest interaction.
What's behind this behavior? Fear and identity are big drivers. You may fear hurting someone's feelings. But if you withhold honesty, you deprive them of an opportunity to grow and learn, or have a different experience. You've saved yourself some temporary, in-the-moment discomfort, but now you hate yourself. You're tired of your "nice" identity because it creates stress, it makes you cranky and creates more conflicts in your relationships when you have to spend energy trying to "fix" things. But mostly, it just doesn't get you what you want! The takeaway message is that you're not avoiding conflict and tension, you're creating it.Read More
Kimberly Seelbrede, LCSW is a New York City Psychotherapist + Consultant who splits her time between Manhattan and Santa Fe, providing online therapy to individuals and couples. With extensive training and experience, she provides psychological consultation, psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and executive coaching to a range of clients including VIP's + high-profile clients. As a women's emotional health + relationship expert, her specialties include: anxiety, depression, trauma resolution, addictions, relationship, intimacy and sexual concerns, health + autoimmune issues, loss + grief and women's mentoring. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, meditation, travel and really good key lime pie. She lives with her husband, psychologist, scholar and mindfulness expert John Chambers Christopher. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal websites KimSeelbrede.com, Santa Fe Integrative Psychotherapy or Well+Being Blog.