Loss = Over Compensation?
I was recently told that when we suffer a significant loss
that we’ll often over-compensate for others to protect
ourselves from losing again.
What does this look like? If I want to protect myself from
further loss, I may try to keep someone safe, like I did with
my mom when growing up.
I over-compensated for my dad who did the opposite of
keeping us safe, because he didn’t know how to nurture
us and emotionally connect.
Instead, I try to take over-responsibility for my mom. She is
now 72 years old, and I try to play the hero and rescue her
from “bad choices,” like what she eats and drinks to help her
not have knee and back pain.
How is this related to the cost of not being you?
Who Am I?
When I’m worried about controlling another human being’s
choices, I get to avoid looking at my own stuff. I don’t really
get to know myself so that I CAN BE MYSELF.
Who am I after all? Am I just a chameleon who takes on the
pain and suffering of those around me? Do I even know
myself and what I want? Do I deserve to have desires separate
As people pleasers, this is a common response to how we relate
to others. We get on their side of the street. Our intentions are
good. We want them to FEEL safe, free, important, loved….
If We Keep Them Happy, They’ll Stay
And we want this so badly because as long as we
keep them happy, we think they will stay with us. We try
to do everything right. It provides insurance of their
What’s the cost to us? The cost is our own happiness, dreams,
and fulfillment. And people pleasing is a short-term fix and
We won’t take action on our desires because we don’t have
enough energy left for that. We are so busy protecting ourselves
from further loss and disappointment.
It takes a lot of energy to wear a mask and minimize the
collateral damage that can harm others’ tender hearts. The
sacrifice is our own heart.
Ironically, we think by protecting others, we are helping
ourselves and guarding our heart. But just like a business owner
who seldom takes risks to be successful, it’s a self-deceived
“safety” that is quite dangerous to our well-being.
The result? We feel hurt, taken advantage of, like a doormat.
We don’t ask others to step up and take responsibility because
we feel responsible for their feelings and success.
Time For a Self-Assessment
What is one thing you really want in life? Is it a certain kind of career
where you really showcase your talents and help others?
Is it a harmonious, loving relationship with someone who treats
you like a Queen? Is it having supreme health where you have
tons of energy to travel to many cultures?
Are you pursuing it? If not, why not? What are you afraid to lose
if you should have it? Often, we’re afraid to lose love, to lose
attention, to lose sympathy.
But is that really true? Will you lose anything if you become you?
Side note: Being authentic is not an excuse to be unkind.
If someone doesn’t love us when we’re being our authentic self,
then maybe someone else is a better match for us. This includes
friends and lovers.
If it’s our children or other family members, then it’s time we learn
to set boundaries with them if they want to remain in close
relationship with us. We can always love others from a distance,
unless we live with them.
It’s Not Noble to TRY to Be Everything to Everybody
If we live with someone who’s not honoring our right to
honor ourselves (and the relationship is very important to us),
then we MUST figure out how to be US. It’s a non-negotiable
step 1 to truly being happy and fulfilled.
You DESERVE to be you. It’s not noble to try to be everything to
everybody. And it hurts them too because they don’t get to
realize their potential, or even try to be their best.
If you want to continue this type of conversation, join me
and Morgan Higdon for our upcoming class on how people
pleasing shows up in your romantic life and what you need
to do to start living and loving fully, aka feeling free to be YOU.
And if that’s not your area of concern, don’t fear. The concepts
can apply to ALL relationships.