The premise of Siobhan’s strategy is that if you want to attract your ideal student, then you need to know who you are and what you do best in order to create offerings and materials that will appeal to your target market. It all makes a ton of sense. The idea of knowing ourselves more deeply is also very yogic. I love that!
It got me thinking about how over the past decade of teaching yoga I’ve really changed how I view myself as a yoga student, person and teacher. I spent most of my life up until the point of my Yoga Teacher Training trying to please everyone around me.
My therapist calls this tendency “people pleasing” – where we want everyone to love us, so we act in ways that attempt to accomplish this. Our actions revolve around getting others to like us, instead of coming from deep within ourselves as a natural response to the wants and needs of our life. When acting from this intention, it becomes really easy to get disconnected from ourselves – after all, with this modus operandi we aren’t connecting to our own self at all. We are acting and connecting to our perception of what others want, need and expect of us.
People pleasing, in my experience, leads to a few things:
- Confusion about ourselves, who we are, and what we need.
- Disconnection from our true Self (our soul) – each time we choose to act based on what we think someone else wants, the further away we get from knowing ourselves and supporting our own needs. Then one day, we no longer know who we are or what we need. We’ve become strangers to ourselves. We lose our ability to be authentic.
- Resentment & Discomfort – the more time we spend disconnected from ourselves, the more discomfort we feel on the inside. This dissonance leads us to become anxious, frustrated and ultimately resentful.
- Exhaustion – not taking care of our needs and always trying to please everyone else takes a lot of energy!
Although my people pleasing tendencies have reduced significantly, it turns out that for me old habits die hard 😛 In a conversation with a sweet soul yesterday, I realized that every once in a while my want to be loved still comes up and gets acted upon in strange ways. In my case, I did not take responsibility for decisions that were mine to make. I tried to come across as a “good person” by being all easy going about things… and in this case it caused someone else stress and confusion about our roles in the relationship. Causing this person stress and confusion was not at all my intention, although ironically when acting from this place of people pleasing we aren’t acting from our intentions, but from this needs to be loved (or liked) at all costs.
The most common ways I see the People Pleaser manifest is not taking responsibility and making choices (I have this t-shirt), or avoiding conversations and situations for fear that we will be disliked, and teachers doubting their abilities in worry or fear that their students won’t like what they are teaching.
It’s interesting what we will do to feel loved. The need to be loved is a very valid need – one that needs to be fulfilled.
The question is, how can we get our needs met in a healthy way that allows us to stay connected with who we really are? How can we find love as our authentic selves?
The very first step is you have to know who you are. Thankfully Yoga and Ayurveda (to list a few among many options) are really helpful for this. They offer a myriad of techniques, tools and inquiries that can help us figure this out.
In my experience, there’s a sense of relief and contentment that is really grounding once we are able to acknowledge and be who we really are.
Once we know who we are, then it becomes natural to act from our heart-minds, which comes from a connection to our deepest self. It can take time to cultivate this habit (like any other), however is well worth the investment. While we are working on it, compassion, patience and breathing is really helpful!
My hope in writing this month’s newsletter is to inspire you to connect deep within, and then trust the loving light in you.
Wishing everyone a gentle transition into the fall <3
Om Shantih and Prema (universal peace & love),
Mona L. Warner, ERYT500 & CYA-E-RYT500