Do You Have the Disease to Please?

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Doctor Neha: Hi and welcome. Today I have a special guest who is willing to ask his communication questions, so that all of you can learn. That’s how brave he is. So I first want to say thank you, Naushad, for being a brave soul. Thank you so much. It’s so good to see your face. I knew Naushad back when I was in San Francisco, so it’s been a few years. When I contacted him and asked, “Do you have some communication questions, anything that you’d like to talk about?” He said, “Sure.” So what’s been on your mind?

Naushad: I’ve been going through a lot of change and transformation over the last year. A lot of things have changed in my life in terms of work and where I’m living and relationships. You know, I went through a pretty big break up a little over a year ago. So, I’m really questioning myself in terms of what do I want in life and what my purpose is. I’ve been doing some soul searching in that regard and having to go outside of my comfort zone. So that’s what’s happening in the last year.

Doctor Neha: Wow. So, what do you think is most top of mind that you want to work on? What aspect of all of that change would you like to start with first?

Naushad: Digging down into some of the underlying beliefs I have about myself. For example, one of the insecurities I have is, “Am I good enough?” One thing I’m thinking about is in terms of how I approach my life and my work on a day-to-day basis. I look back on when I was younger, in my teens and my early twenties, I was really trying to prove myself to people. Along those lines I see myself as a people pleaser. I want to help others because I want people like me, but I’m digging down deeper. It may be because I don’t think I’m good enough.

Doctor Neha: You’ve got a lot of wisdom here. So this idea of wanting to please other people—should we explore that? Let’s start there. When is it that you noticed yourself giving up what you value or what you believe in, to turn yourself into a pretzel to please someone else? Give me one example.

Naushad: It can be something as simple as one of my friends asking for my time or even not at work when someone asks me for my time when I’ve been out a lot or many going on in the day or in the upcoming week, they’re basically asking a favor of me.

Doctor Neha: You typically say what I typically say, “Yes.” You’re going to say yes. I’m going to say yes. And one of the most important things for you to know is your yes means nothing if you don’t have a no. If you don’t know how to say no, you’re yes actually doesn’t mean anything.

Naushad: I think I have a little bit more awareness about this now. For a long time, it was just like a gut response. “OK, yes, I’m going to do that project or I’m going to take that client for you even when it’s during my lunch break or because I need to or I want to. I want to make you happy.” So I’m going to take that hour out of my day and work with your client and sub for you when you have something else going on.

Doctor Neha: What did you want when you said yes and you were going to give up that time. Maybe not even consciously, but subconsciously. What did you want for having done something for them?

Naushad: I think I wanted my colleague or friend to not to like me to like be more.

Doctor Neha: What’s happened after you do that over and over again?

Naushad: There’s a sense of feeling tired or burned out. Sometimes at the end of the day, one thing I’ve been more aware of is that sometimes at the end of the day I’m wishing or thinking, There are all these other things that I wanted to do for me. For example, having a little bit more time to read in the East Bay or having a little bit more time to make my own dinner.

Doctor Neha: You’re exhausted now. You’re too exhausted because you did all this stuff for everybody else. All right, so Naushad, since you are a single and available and lots of women watching this that are going to like the news that you had a big breakup a year ago, I want you to tell me how this shows up in a relationship for you.

Naushad: Well, right now in my relationships with friends and family, it’s maybe giving more of my time or maybe I agree to do something or a certain activity where for me I don’t feel a hell yes, I want to do this, but it’s like, OK wait, maybe I want to go do that right now, but I don’t know. So I will just say yes because I want to please them.

Doctor Neha: Because you want to avoid the conflict, right? You’re trying to avoid conflict. Except this is the deal: Let’s say I’m the one asking you for something and you want to make sure you keep the peace between me and you. The conflict doesn’t go away between you and me. What happens is you take the conflict away from between you and me because you say yes to me. So I think, Great, awesome. Now I’m so glad you’ll take that client, or do this thing for me, whatever it is—and then you swallow the conflict. You’re saying, “I’ll live with the conflict inside of me so I don’t have to deal with it between you and me.”

Naushad: Yeah.

Doctor Neha: I want to make sure that everybody listening knows the conflict doesn’t go away. You’ve agreed to internalize it rather than acknowledge it between us. So the answer to that is learning to lean into conflict and learning to feel confident there. Once you do that, and it’s between me and you, the conflict will never have to go back inside you. Now, take it over to love. How does this look in love?

Naushad: Well, I don’t have any recent examples.

Doctor Neha: That’s all right. I’m sure you have patterns in your life.

Naushad: Looking back my tendency is to place more importance on another person, a higher importance than on myself. So whether it is doing an errand for someone or going out of my way to make something, I have the tendency to put someone I love on really high importance. I’m not thinking about what it is that I need in that moment. A non-romantic example is in my relationship with my brother.

Doctor Neha: Hold on before we leave [romantic] relationships. That means you’re going to date very strong women. Is that true?

Naushad: Yes, that’s true.

Doctor Neha: If that’s true, these very strong women have come into your life for your soul to grow and learn how to stand up for Naushad. And when you don’t, that experience of you caving in will each time be a contributing factor to why things don’t work out in the end. Does that make sense to you?

Naushad: Yes, that makes sense.

Doctor Neha: Eventually you’ll develop a resentment or you’ll start feeling that the relationship is uneven—or they may not feel like there’s enough of a challenge or an uneven balance of power because you’re giving up your power in the name of trying to please someone else. My guess is that where you’re going to be happy would be in a relationship where there’s a similar feeling of personal power together, where you’re both riding at the same level. It’s not always going to be equal, but for the most part it would. What you’re doing now is you’re giving away your personal power each time you make that choice. Does that make sense?

Naushad: I think that makes a lot of sense.

Doctor Neha: All right, what are your takeaways so far?

Naushad: The first thing is that just because you avoid conflict in the short term doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to avoid any internal conflicts.

Doctor Neha: In fact they’re going to grow.

Naushad: So that’s the biggest thing for me. I’ve been conflict avoidant for most of my life. I don’t want to make someone upset right now or I don’t want to make them unhappy because I want them to like me. But then I’m kind of hiding or not showing what I’m truly feeling.

Doctor Neha: By the way, you’re not going to like you when you look in the mirror. You’re really worried about other people not liking you. But the truth is when you look at the man in the mirror and think to yourself, Why did I say yes? Why didn’t I say anything?, you lose respect with yourself when you do not stand up for you. Does that make sense?

Naushad: Yes.

Doctor Neha:  I know some of you watching right now have this issue as well: you give up yourself in the face of another person. Now, it’s to compromise and to know how to give in a relationship. But you’ve got to look at why you’re doing what you’re doing and when you are doing it. If it’s to avoid conflict with somebody else, remember, all you’re doing is swallowing that conflict inside you. Unresolved conflict inside you is a time bomb ticking away. If you don’t resolve it, it will show up in your body some other way. I’ve seen it in my patients as heart attack, strokes, pneumonia. Your body in the end has to express that which you don’t express yourself. So thank you, Naushad, for being an amazing guest.

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