People Pleasing – Lying About the Truth

Several years ago, I taught a class where the students had to read a mission statement at the last class.   One student had to miss, so he asked me to read his statement for him.   I had a momentary intuition of “This is not mine to do.  He should ask another student.”

Rather than honor that intuition, I slipped into the default of “Don’t be selfish.  Just do it.”

Through the need to please, I effectively persuaded myself to say yes when I wanted to say no.  I lied about the truth.

I received this student’s statement via email.  Then I forgot to read it in class.

Once I realized I had forgotten, I confessed my error to him.   Fortunately, my “sacred inadequacy” led to a beautiful conversation about boundaries and the faulty powers of people pleasing.

The ego has a dossier of phrases to support people pleasing.   At the speed of light, we move from a genuine “No thank you,” to “This person will feel hurt if I say no.  Don’t be a baby.  It won’t kill you to say yes.”

Ego strategies like guilt, fear, the inability to tolerate someone’s disappointment, and the need to be Wonder Woman/Superman topple our truthfulness.   We may think our inauthentic yes is a show of strength or kindness.  But often our misplaced yes is the wounded self seeking approval and belonging. 

Being who others need you to be; doing what is not yours to do; saying yes when you mean no. These behaviors chip away at your experience of worthiness.  Not only do you dishonor your own worth when you act in-authentically; you also say to others, “I do not honor you enough to be truthful; I do not think well enough of you to be who I am.”

Are there any inauthentic yeses in your life?

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