If someone was to take a step back and to look at their life, they may see that they have the tendency to please others. Therefore, instead of paying attention to their own needs and acting as an individual, they will act as though they are merely an extension of others.
After having behaved in this way for as long as they can remember, they could be at the point where they have well and truly had enough. As a result of this, they could look into what they can do to finally assert themselves.
A Different Reality
Over the years, they could have come into contact with people who have asserted themselves, and this may have left a big mark on their psyche. But, even if this hasn’t taken place; they have most likely watched films where they have been exposed to people that are like this.
In either of these cases, they would have watched other human beings behave in a certain way. Still, they may have believed that these people had something that they themselves didn’t have, and may still believe that this is the case.
So, as they have been living in a way that doesn’t match up with who they are, their life is also unlikely to be a reflection of who they are. This doesn’t mean that they will necessarily live a ‘bad’ life; what it means is that it won’t be a life that makes their heart sing.
If they were to think about what they do for a living, they may see that this is something that they didn’t consciously choose to do. Perhaps someone else suggested they do it or it was simply something that they were good at.
A Lack of Fire
But although how they are living will have caused them a lot of frustration and they are now looking for a way to move forward, they may find that a big part of them is reluctant to change. Further, they may also find it hard to muster the energy that they need to change their life.
Consciously, they will want to move forward, then, but it will be as though they haven’t got what it takes to move forward. In fact, they may start to wonder if they are missing something.
One Step Further
In addition to this, it could be a challenge for them to get in touch with their true needs and feelings. Thus, although pleasing others won’t be fulfilling, at least they will have a clear idea about how to behave.
If they were able to connect to one of their true needs or feelings and to behave in a different way, they may find that they are filled with anxiety and even fear. What should feel comfortable, listening to themselves, is then going to feel uncomfortable.
If they don’t feel edgy, they could end up being consumed with guilt and shame. Once again, they will be doing the right thing but it will be as if they are doing something wrong.
Taking all this into account, they will look like one person on the outside but on the inside, there will be more than one person. There will be the part of them that wants to change and there will be another part of them that wants their life to carry on as normal.
To understand why their life is the way that it is and why they find it so hard to act like an individual, it will be necessary to take a closer look at what took place during their early years. This was probably a time in their life when they didn’t receive the care that they needed in order to separate from their mother.
Their father might not have been around during this time and if he was, he most likely wouldn’t have been emotionally available. Without their father’s input, they wouldn’t have received the support that they needed to emotionally separate from their mother and to slowly individuate.
The Fall Out
Along with this neglect, this may have also been a time in their life when they experienced abuse. Therefore, their sense of self wouldn’t have been able to develop; they would have stayed in an undeveloped state.
To handle what was going on and the pain they were in, they would have had to disconnect from their body and to develop a false-self. Their main priority would have been to please their caregivers, not to fulfil their own needs and to express themselves.
What would have played a part in their desire to separate from their mother and to assert themselves would have been their fight instinct/aggression, and this part of them would have been split-off. It would have been clear that it wasn’t safe for them to express themselves, so this part of them would have had to have been disowned.
With this part of them out of the way, they wouldn’t have had the desire to express their true-self. The years would have passed, with them going from a child to an adult, but they would have continued to live on the surface of themselves and to believe that their survival is based on pleasing others.
Now that they are an adult, they will need to reconnect to their fight instinct/aggression, so that they have the energy that they need to start the individuation process. If this part of them is not on board, it is unlikely that this will take place.
To reintegrate this part of their being, there will be layers and layers of trauma for them to work through. Not only will this allow them to reconnect to this part of them, it will also allow them to connect to their body, where their true-self will be found, and to express this part of them.
If one can relate to this, and they are ready to change their life, they may need to reach out for external support. This is something that can be provided by the assistance of a therapist or healer.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.