Elephant Spotting: When Being Honest Gets You Further Than Being Nice

"Thank you. You really frustrate me at times but ultimately help me". That's a text I got from client a little while ago after a session at my Cognitive Hypnotherapy practice in Leighton Buzzard.

David Bird Cognitive Hypnotherapy Leighton Buzzard, People Pleasing, Being Honest, Lying

Now, a couple of years ago, that would've hurt on some level. I may have laughed it off. But it would've stung. I used to have an overwhelming need to be liked. And I know we all like to be liked. Who doesn't? But this was a must. Like I became phobic about not.

They say the problem with people-pleasing is you can't please everyone. Well, needing to be liked was a great motivator to be nice. It made me a pleasant person to almost everyone I met casually. But it also made me resentful.

I said yes when I meant no. And although I rationalised it back then, looking back, it made me quite two-faced at times.

As a therapist, I've learnt I don't serve the people I work with at all by playing the nice guy. And that doesn't mean we don't have great rapport. That our exchanges aren't kind and understanding. Or that we never laugh. Far from it. But it does mean being able to say the hard thing.

None of us truly want to hear the difficult truth when we do. Even if we ask for it. It hurts. And the more it hurts, the more our brain fights it. It's a natural reaction to get angry, defensive, or even flat-out deny any truth in what's being said - even if we've thought precisely the same thing ourselves. But sometimes that's exactly what we need to hear.

Especially if things need to change.

People who are honest and consistent - who live their values - tend to be respected more. And for good reason. We all need that friend who bursts our bubble. Because it's a bubble. It's going to burst anyway. Surely it's better if the pin-prick is from someone you trust who has your best interests at heart.

If there's an elephant in the room, there's really no point in pretending there isn't. But sometimes only one of you sees it. And although it may be awkward to point out exactly why things have become a bit claustrophobic and rancid of late, it tends to work out better for everyone in the long run.

(Even the proverbial elephant).

(Struggling with people-pleasing or asserting yourself? Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Leighton Buzzard can help you. Get in touch to learn how).