Working Mindfully With Anxiety: Anxiety Symptoms As Health-Seeking Signals – Part One

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Therapeutic Life Coach and Organizational Consultant at ChainFree Living Coaching and Consulting Services
Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed psychotherapist, therapeutic life coach, educator, and author specializing in emotional healing and living authentically as one's true self. She is the founder of ChainFree Living (http://chainfreeliving.com), an online hub offering free resources and community peer-support to people who wish to consciously experience their innate wholeness. Her book, 'You Are Already Whole: On Discovering and Being Your True Self', will be published in 2017.
Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

What Those Anxious Feelings May Be Trying To Tell You – And Why It’s Important To Listen (Part One of a Two Part Series)

What if anxiety is more than a clinical disorder to be treated, but serves as a barometer of our overall mental and emotional well being? This article focuses on anxiety as a ‘health-seeking signal’ inviting us to reconnect with the truest parts of ourselves that have been neglected or repressed. Included is a recent example from my work as a licensed Psychotherapist illustrating how anxiety at times acts as an important messenger inviting us to heal psycho-emotional wounds sustained in childhood and adolescence, if only we are able and willing to tune in and listen.

-Article by Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA, MFT

What Is Anxiety?

Clinical signs of anxiety
Clinical signs of anxiety

Anxiety is commonly believed to be an automatic, ‘built-in’ response to perceived threats, and is often referred to as our ‘fight-or-flight arousal’, or ‘fight or flight response’ as a species. Therefore, it stands to reason that children who grew up in chaotic, possibly traumatic home environments where their fight or flight (arousal) response was frequently activated are susceptible to developing various kinds of anxiety disorders even prior to the onset of adulthood. Hence, it is a concern that physicians and psychiatrists whose patients report feeling anxious typically prescribe anti-anxiety medication but do not always recommend that their patient also see a qualified Mental Health professional to explore the possible root cause(s) of the anxiety as well as to identify possible additional or alternative (i.e., non-prescription) treatments.

Signs And Symptoms Of Anxiety

Although anxiety can take on many forms, the below are signs and symptoms commonly associated with this behavioral health disorder:

  • Excessive Worry and Rumination
  • Irritability / Anger
  • Sleep Disturbance / Insomnia
  • Poor Concentration / Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle Tension / Mysterious Aches and Pains
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Blood Pressure Spikes
  • Increased Heart Rate
  • Heart Palpitations / Chest Pain / ‘Panic Attacks’

Psychotherapy As A Means Of Successfully Treating Anxiety Disorders

What if anxiety was not always something to be avoided and/or medicated away, but was instead something it would benefit us to be curious about? One way that I invite my clients to explore this possibility is to ask them to tune into their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations the next time they notice they are feeling anxious. What is happening right then in the moment? Was there a possible ‘trigger’ initiating the anxious sensations? As the following Case Study illustrates, this simple exercise can provide surprising insights regarding what a person’s anxiety ‘signals’ might be trying to convey.

The Wisdom Of Anxiety: A Case Study

Journaling when anxious can be helpful
Journalling when anxious can be helpful

I once had a client (whom I will call ‘Jeremy – not his actual name) share with me in session that he had recently felt extremely anxious when he entered a hotel lobby on a business trip. He attributed this to what he thought was the ‘Generalized Anxiety Disorder’ (GAD) he had been diagnosed with by his family doctor years before, prior to beginning his psychotherapeutic work with me. I suggested early on in therapy that he begin keeping an ‘Awareness Journal’ and to write in this journal whenever he was feeling particularly anxious. During one such onset of extreme symptoms that occurred during a business trip, Jeremy realized while writing in his journal that he had started to feel anxious when he saw a certain type of old-fashioned couch in the hotel lobby he had just walked into. Upon further reflection in his Awareness Journal, Jeremy suddenly realized that the retro-style couch looked nearly identical in style and in color to a couch that was in the living room of the home he had lived in as a child. Needless to say, this gave us much to explore in this and future sessions as he began to remember and share traumatic events from childhood that up until then he had unknowingly repressed.

Over time, the chronic, ‘generalized’ anxiety Jeremy had been suffering from for years receded as he continued to work diligently in psychotherapy to reconnect with the wounded, ‘lost’ parts of himself he had unknowingly disconnected from during childhood while growing up in a chaotic, unpredictable, alcoholic family system. He eventually chose to stop taking his anti-anxiety medication under the supervision of a physician and is able to self-manage any anxious sensations that arise via deep breathing exercises and Mindfulness Meditation practices I introduced him to in therapy, along with Somatic-Psychology techniques (for more information on the use and efficacy of Somatic-Psychology in the treatment and healing of trauma refer to Bessel van der Kolk’s book The Body Keeps The Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma). Jeremy also continues to self-reflect in his Awareness Journal, which has become a critical aspect of his ongoing psycho-emotional healing and growth. (Note: Details of specific client cases have been changed to protect privacy).

Anxiety and Psychotropic Medication

lossy-page1-303px-Prescription_medication_being_dispensed.tiffWhile taking psychotropic medication to minimize symptoms is a personal choice, and in some cases is medically advisable, there are other effective interventions that a person can pursue, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Family Systems work (as discussed in the above case study); deep breathing exercises; yoga; daily physical exercise; holistic / body-oriented therapies (such as Hakomi Therapy and The Feldenkrais Method); Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction; accupuncture; massage; medical cannabis (now supported by research); and homeopathic remedies as prescribed by a Naturopathic doctor,

Recent research also confirms that Mindfulness Meditation can be highly effective in addressing anxiety symptoms. Mindfulness is a practice that involves being fully engaged in whatever is going on around you. “It is simply the act of paying attention to whatever you are experiencing, as you experience it”, explains Kate Hanley, author of A Year of Daily Calm: A Guided Journal for Creating Tranquility Every Day. “By choosing to turn your attention away from the everyday chatter of the mind and on to what your body is doing, you give the mind just enough to focus on that it can quiet down.” In 2013 researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center published a study that confirmed that Mindfulness Meditation reduces anxiety at a neural level.

Working Mindfully With Anxiety

As the above brief discussion illustrates, there may be far more to anxiety than meets the eye. While it is understandable why anyone experiencing anxiety would want relief from these extremely uncomfortable symptoms, it may be that the symptoms themselves are pointing to possible solutions to those who are willing to explore their anxiety via mindfully cultivating an attitude of acceptance, curiosity, and patience. Journalling, painting, and other forms of creative expression, as well as psychotherapy and/or sharing in a support group, may offer a means of discovering the wisdom that anxiety has to offer.

A Special Note of Caution: It is recommended that a person experiencing frequent anxiety symptoms get a complete physical to rule out disorders like Graves (Thyroid) Disease, hormonal imbalances, and other medical conditions that can cause extreme and/or chronic anxiety.

Read Part Two to learn more about Anxiety, Addiction, Self-Medication, and Mindfulness Meditation and also access free resources:

http://chainfreeliving.com/2016/06/08/working-mindfully-anxiety-part-two/

Take my free brief quiz, ‘Are You Living As Your True Self?’ (hiding our real selves behind a mask can also cause us to feel anxious).

Ten Strategies For Discovering and Being Your True Self

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Therapeutic Life Coach and Organizational Consultant at ChainFree Living Coaching and Consulting Services
Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed psychotherapist, therapeutic life coach, educator, and author specializing in emotional healing and living authentically as one's true self. She is the founder of ChainFree Living (http://chainfreeliving.com), an online hub offering free resources and community peer-support to people who wish to consciously experience their innate wholeness. Her book, 'You Are Already Whole: On Discovering and Being Your True Self', will be published in 2017.
Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Article By Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA, MFT

If you find yourself continuing to act out old patterns and roles that no longer serve you, this is more than likely interfering with your ability to create mutually rewarding, respectful, and reciprocal relationships. Below are my ten strategies for getting in touch with your true self so as to create an integrity-based and emotionally rewarding life.

The True Self Lost In Childhood

Although living as one’s true self in an emotionally honest manner might seem like a natural and easy thing to do, those of us who grew up in a family system that did not support our uninhibited and natural expressions may have gradually disconnected from the truth of who we were, i.e., our core essence, so as to be accepted by those we were dependent upon to meet our most basic and fundamental needs. As described by various experts specializing in dysfunctional family systems, it is often the case that children who grew up in these types of chaotic, unstable environments find some semblance of identity and emotional security by taking on one or more family roles, such as ‘the hero’, ‘the scapegoat’, ‘the rebel’, ‘the caretaker’, or ‘the clown’. But in unconsciously disconnecting from our true self in order to emotionally survive, we may later find ourselves as adults people-pleasing others and hiding behind a facade, with no idea how to express and live our truth.

The Truth Doesn’t Care If You Like It Or Not

“The Truth doesn’t care about consequences. It’s concerned with the Truth. It doesn’t care if you’re liked or not liked. You won’t always be liked for it, and sometimes you will be disliked for it. As long as you’re acting in the world based on what you like or don’t like, or what others like or don’t like, you’re not in the realm of Truth. Truth insists that we not only be truthful, but that we act truthfully. It’s not enough just to know the Truth. You have to be it – to act it, and to do it.”~ Adyashanti

(From ‘The Impact of Awakening’)

Are You Hiding Behind A Mask?If I were to ask you right now, “In what situations, or around which people, do you feel most yourself, and most creative, free, and alive”, what would be your answer? Alternatively, if I were to ask you, “In what situations, or around which people, do you not feel like your real, authentic self and/or less than who and what you sense or believe yourself to be?,” how might you respond? Contemplating these questions can be provocative, to say the least, and there may be no obvious or easy answers at first. In addition to considering these questions, you might also like to to answer a few questions included in a brief quiz I created that will help you determine if you are hiding behind a mask and/or struggle to live as your true self.

How To Live and Speak Your Truth

If you feel ready to shed anything about yourself that feels false and fearlessly live from a place of emotional honesty, personal integrity (inspired by your principles and values), and a direct knowledge of Self, the ten strategies I designed to assist my psychotherapy and coaching clients will aid you in this courageous quest. If you are not already seeing a competent therapist, counselor, or coach who can support you in your efforts, you might consider engaging such services before implementing the strategies listed below.

My Ten Strategies For Discovering and Being Your True Self 

  1. Recognize You Have A True Self Nature: Each of us enters the world possessing an innate, core, true self. Each one of us is an ‘original model’, and as such we all have unique gifts to offer to the world.
  2. Remember And Reflect On When You Felt Happiest As A Child: Think back to when you were young. When did you feel most free, happy, and alive? Take a few minutes after reflecting on what caused you to feel joyful in your youth, going back to your earliest conscious memory. Then write about the people, places, things, and activities that brought you the greatest joy while you were growing up. This simple ‘remembering and reflection’ exercise can put us deeply in touch with the innocent purity of our original true self nature.
  3. Make A Commitment To Recover And Reconnect With The Joyful, Innately Pure, Authentic Essence Within: In a certain sense, recognizing and consciously reclaiming our own unique, true self nature is a paradoxical process of finding and embracing what we never really lost. It is an excavation project, of sorts, i.e., it is a process of uncovering, discovering, recovering, and consciously reclaiming who (and what) we in fact have always been, and will always be – That which is most true, honest, expansive, and alive within ourselves, yet constant and unchanging.
  4. Make A Decision To Release All That Feels False And No Longer Serves You: Becoming authentic and emotionally honest requires that we be willing to release the parts of ourselves that we were conditioned to become by the various social systems we have been immersed in like a fish swimming in the sea, from our family-of-origin to the cultural and social systems we currently identify with, and everything in between. Ask yourself if you feel ready to begin doing that. If not, I encourage you to explore what might be inhibiting you from living an emotionally honest and authentic life. Change is never easy. It’s never too late to “get real”!
  5. The Process Of Letting Go: I often ask my clients who are engaged in a process of true self recovery and reclamation, “Is this (person, place, thing, behavior, situation) serving you at the highest level today?” Whatever is not serving us at the highest level is more than likely not serving others in our life at the highest level either, regardless of how it may seem. It ultimately serves no one when we allow ourselves to remain small, diminish our internal light, and hide our truth from others (and perhaps even from ourselves.)
  6. The Only Way Out Is Through: It is often during this process of letting go of all that now feels false that long-buried emotions unconsciously repressed in childhood may surface, resulting in our possibly becoming sad, anxious, angry, and even genuinely depressed. At times such as this it is imperative that a person feel he or she is not alone in the valiant task of facing any painful feelings and memories that may arise head on, versus avoiding the challenging, difficult work of genuine transformational growth; therefore, this is a time when the help of a trusted therapist, counselor, transformational life coach, and/or a psychoeducational peer-support group can prove to be invaluable to a person engaged in the task of reclaiming and authentically embodying his or her true self.
  7. It’s Okay To Experience And Release Old, Pent-Up Feelings From Childhood: It is also not uncommon for a person whose true self nature was shamed and dismissed in childhood to find they are experiencing feelings of intense anger, even rage, during this critical transformational time of inner self-exploration and excavation. This can especially surprise those who strived to be ‘nice’ their entire lives to avoid upsetting others and risking conflict. I like to remind my clients during such times that the word ‘courage’ includes the word ‘rage’, and successful passage through the dark night of the soul is ultimately brought about by processing these more difficult feelings and emotions that society labels as ‘negative’. Those who were victims of neglect and/or other forms of abuse in childhood are especially prone to finding themselves overwhelmed with these darker, extremely intense feelings; thus, working with a licensed psychotherapeutic professional and/or abuse recovery network such as Adult Survivors of Child Abuse can be especially critical during this phase of recovery, healing, and growth.
  8. Pay Attention To Your Dreams: I have also learned from both personal and professional experience that this is a time to pay attention to one’s active imagination, dreams, and fantasies, as suggested by the great Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, for these signs and symbols emanating from deep within our unconscious invariably reveal important keys to a given individual’s growth, including acting as an inner wise guide, when one understands how to begin to interpret the personal and universal symbols contained therein. A book that I often recommend to clients for such creative dream work is Jeremy Taylor’s Dream Work: Techniques for Discovering the Creative Power in Dreams.
  9. Release The Limiting Views Of Others: This is also a time when a person might report to their therapist, transformational life coach, or support network that they are feeling increasingly uncomfortable around family members, colleagues, and friends if those relationships were dependent on their being a certain way -A way that now no longer feels authentic, embodied, or emotionally true. This is especially the case when one has knowingly or unknowingly been playing out a particular role within a given relationship and/or system (e.g., hero, rescuer, ‘black sheep’, enabler) and/or been an unwitting recipient of another’s psychological projections (a process whereby humans defend themselves against their own unpleasant impulses by denying their existence while attributing them to others). At some point you may have no choice other than to make it clear that you are no longer willing to distort or hide your true self in order to protect the feelings of others, and that you simply will not accept being manipulated into living out old, familiar role(s) in the dysfunctional system’s ‘script’ (typically one’s family-of-origin) so that the status quo can be maintained.
  10. You’re Not Obligated To Play By Other People’s Rules: If it wasn’t clear before, once you commit to live your life authentically it will quickly become evident that every system has it’s ‘rules’, be it a family system, a work system, a political system, etc. This is a good time to remember that whatever the system can’t change, control, and/or accept, it will attempt to diminish, label, reject, and even (in extreme cases) ‘eject’. And this is why I see each and every person who is engaged in a sincere process of true self recovery and reclamation as being heroic, for it is no easy task to realize the truth of who and what one is while attempting to maintain relationships with others who may be demanding we “change back” (whether overtly or covertly) so that they might feel more comfortable, in control, and secure.

Living As Your True Self

As illustrated in the above ten strategies, remaining committed to an ongoing transformational process designed to further our personal and professional growth, enhance our relationships, and increase our overall sense of confidence and well being is not always a simple or enjoyable task, especially in the beginning. And yet, those who decide to do what it takes to live from a place of emotional integrity and fearless honesty invariably discover that it is worth the effort required, for it is by courageously committing to recovering the ‘lost child’ within that we are able to become the true self we were always destined to be. And what could be better than that?

A Book About Wholeness…

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What if we were to embrace all of our emotions as welcomed guests, recognizing them for what they are: Wise guides that seek to lead us toward the experience of genuine transformation,’true self’ liberation, and a felt-sense awareness of our innate wholeness?

In her book, You Are Already Whole: On Discovering and Being Your True Self, Rebecca C. Mandeville, a licensed psychotherapist and transformational life coach, shares the unique 11-step pathway she created to assist her clients in their efforts to heal and transform at a deep, core (root) level. To embark upon this pathway, we are challenged to expand beyond the commonly held view that emotions are either ‘positive’ or ‘negative’, instead re-envisioning even our most painful feelings and sensations as being health-seeking signals emanating from an infinite intelligence that innately lives within us all; signals that, if paid attention to and mindfully followed, will eventually lead us toward the experience of emotional freedom and sustained well being that is grounded in a direct knowledge of the true self.

 This Book May Be Especially Helpful For People Who:
  • Feel ‘imprisoned’ in an old family role (e.g., ‘scapegoat’; ‘hero’; ‘clown’; ‘caretaker’; ‘rebel’)
  • Grew up in a distressed family environment
  • Feel they must hide their real self behind a mask at times
  • Struggle with depression, anxiety, addiction, and/or codependency 
  • Repeatedly find themselves in unhealthy, ‘toxic’ love relationships
  • Have difficulty asserting themselves and setting appropriate boundaries
  • Consider themselves to be a ‘highly sensitive person’ (HSP)  
  • Are on a spiritual path and/or participate in a 12-Step program

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I appreciate your interest in remaining informed.

Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA

Visit Rebecca at her ChainFree Living website to learn more about how you can live in an authentic, emotionally honest, energized, and enlivened manner beginning today, as well as access free resources, including an online support forum and community bookstore.

Are You Hiding Your True Self?  TAKE THIS BRIEF QUIZ

 

Ten Tips To Help You Stop Being A People-Pleaser and Start Taking Care Of Yourself

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Therapeutic Life Coach and Organizational Consultant at ChainFree Living Coaching and Consulting Services
Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed psychotherapist, therapeutic life coach, educator, and author specializing in emotional healing and living authentically as one's true self. She is the founder of ChainFree Living (http://chainfreeliving.com), an online hub offering free resources and community peer-support to people who wish to consciously experience their innate wholeness. Her book, 'You Are Already Whole: On Discovering and Being Your True Self', will be published in 2017.
Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

If you’re a people-pleaser, you likely avoid conflict as much as possible in your interactions with others, and will deny your own truth in an attempt to make those you feel dependent upon and/or care about comfortable. But in reality chronic people-pleasing serves no one in the end… Article by Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA

Are You A People-Pleaser?

People-pleasers (also referred to at times as ‘codependents’) seek validation from others that they are acceptable and worthy of being liked or loved, and can be so ‘other’ focused that they often have no idea what they really feel, think, want, or need. People-pleasers are typically individuals who learned early on in life that their true self expressions were not acceptable, and that their self-worth must be extracted from those around them in a never-ending quest to feel okay, accepted, liked, and loved.

If you’re a people-pleaser, you likely avoid conflict as much as possible in your interactions with others, and will deny your own truth in an attempt to make those you feel dependent upon and/or care about comfortable. You’ll do anything you can to ‘keep the peace’, even if that means abandoning yourself by repressing your own preferences, thoughts, and needs, which in turn deprives you of the ability to negotiate on matters important to you, whether personal or professional. In fact, you may be so focused on tending to the wants and needs of those around you that you have lost touch with who you really are at the most basic, fundamental level, to the point where you might be feeling depleted, angry, and exhausted much of the time without ever realizing it is because of your chronic people-pleasing ways.

Why People-Pleasing Serves No One In The End

Get ready for a good hard dose of reality: Subservient, ingratiating behavior that results in your feeling like a doormat isn’t really helpful to anyone, ever, no matter how much you may like to believe it is. By surrendering control to others and abandoning yourself, you are allowing yourself to live a lie – And lies serve no one in the end. And remember, you also may be attempting to control others via your people-pleasing ways by making them dependent on you. A healthy adult relationship requires that the two people involved create a relational environment that is reciprocal, truthful, respectful, and interdependent. Hiding our true selves and pretending we are something other than what and who we actually are is ultimately dishonest and far more damaging to a relationship than voicing a truth that might result in heated discussion or out-and-out conflict.

My Ten Tips To Help You Start Taking Care Of Yourself And Stop People-Pleasing Others

Although it takes courage to practice new behaviors, people who live authentically find that the freedom they experience in being themselves makes risking conflict worth it. Below are some tried and true methods to help you stop people-pleasing others so that you can live a happier, more emotionally honest and fulfilled life:

  1. Recognize that you may have learned early in life that your self-worth depends on what others think of you (adults who grew up in abusive environments are especially likely to believe this).
  2. Acknowledge that your self-worth does not belong in the hands of others – Nobody should have that much power over what you think and how you feel about yourself.
  3. Decide that you will no longer play the ‘People-Pleasing Game’; it will take time, dedication, and commitment, but it is possible to change.
  4. Check in with yourself during interactions with others, especially when communicating with those that you tend to people-please the most. Focus on what feels true and right for you during these conversations, even if you are not yet ready to risk conflict by expressing a differing view, feeling, or need. Write your thoughts and feelings down in a journal after such difficult or uncomfortable interactions. Get to know yourself and become curious about what you really feel and think.
  5. Determining your values, identifying your priorities, and defining your beliefs are three of the most effective ways to build a strong foundation from which to speak your truth when communicating with others. Take time to be with yourself and even write down your priorities in life and what is most important to you. This will help you to develop your ability to agree or disagree and say “no” or “yes” (and mean it), no matter what the situation is.
  6. “My decision is final”. Once you determine your values and better understand what is best and most right for you, plan on saying “My decision is final” if you anticipate that rejecting or denying a request will not be well received. Role-play with your significant other or a trusted friend, if needed, so you can get used to saying this one simple phrase. These four words will go a long way to ensure that any doors that might allow you to be manipulated by others, especially people who were able to take advantage of you in the past, are firmly closed and will save you much grief down the road.
  7. Use empathic reflection when asserting yourself with others, including recognized ‘authority figures’. Here’s an example from my own life: I recently saw a doctor for a minor physical complaint. His recommended intervention was unacceptable to me for various reasons. My response was to say, “I understand why you might be recommending that, and if I were in your shoes I imagine I would too. But that route is not one I wish to go down. My decision is final.” After saying this and dialoguing a bit more, we went on to find a remedy that we both felt comfortable with, and the treatment was ultimately successful.
  8. Choose your battles: If you sense or suspect that your honest expressions are going to result in a conflict that you just don’t feel ready or equipped to deal with, it’s okay to acknowledge the truth to yourself and choose not to express it. Some things matter more than others. Talk to a trusted friend, journal your thoughts and feelings, or consider seeing a licensed Psychotherapist, Counselor, or Transformational Life Coach to help you sort out what really matters most to you and what doesn’t. Remember, some people will not be able to hear or compassionately receive, much less respect, your truth if they find it personally or professionally inconvenient or threatening. Remember, not everyone is looking for honest, reciprocal relationships or interactions; such people may even attempt to judge, shame, or blame you for speaking your truth – Or even try to convince you that your truth is a lie.
  9. Don’t explain yourself in an attempt to justify your position. This is a real trap that people-pleasing types fall into repeatedly. You’re entitled to have your own thoughts, feelings, experiences, needs, and preferences, just like everybody else. The fact that some people in your life don’t agree with you or respect your truth doesn’t make them right. Trust yourself and your perceptions.Sometimes our “gut feelings’ can tell us far more about a person or a situation than anything that is being overtly presented to us.
  10. Remember the power of choice: Adults who learned to people-please in childhood are often genuinely unaware that they have the ability to choose how they will conduct themselves in a relationship. If you are tired of feeling like a door-mat, then maybe it is time to get up off of the floor.

It’s Never Too Late To Cultivate Authentic Relationships And Start Caring For Yourself

Living in a truthful, emotionally honest manner requires courage, patience, practice, and commitment. There are many books written on people-pleasing and codependency designed to help break the people-pleasing habit; Melody Beattie’s Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring For Yourself is the one I most often recommend to clients, along with. Susan Newman’s The Book of No: 250 Ways To Say It – And Mean It And Stop People-Pleasing Forever. Working with a therapist or life coach who understands codependency and/or attending a free support group such as Codependents Anonymous that focuses on developing healthy relationships and communication can be very helpful as well.

Take Small Steps Every Day

Once you feel ready to begin risking conflict in your personal or professional interactions, consider choosing one person in your life that you can practice being completely honest with; ideally, someone you trust and feel safe with but are not always completely authentic with. Then say exactly what’s on your mind and see what happens. Think of your values, take deep breaths, and stand your ground. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that any fear encountered in being authentic in your relationships is temporary, and that the rewards of living in an emotionally honest, integral, and values-based manner make it more than worth any temporary discomfort.

A word of caution: If you believe that you are genuinely not safe in a relationship and that speaking your truth could result in a threat to your personal safety, I urge you to contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline to receive support, information, and guidance.

Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA, MACP, MFT, is the founder of ‘ChainFree Living Transformational Life Coaching & Guidance Services’. You are invited to take her free brief quizAre You Living As Your True Self? to see how you might be hiding your own thoughts, preferences, and needs in an attempt to avoid conflict and please others.

 

 

Take This Brief Quiz: Are You Living As Your True Self?

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Therapeutic Life Coach and Organizational Consultant at ChainFree Living Coaching and Consulting Services
Rebecca C. Mandeville is a licensed psychotherapist, therapeutic life coach, educator, and author specializing in emotional healing and living authentically as one's true self. She is the founder of ChainFree Living (http://chainfreeliving.com), an online hub offering free resources and community peer-support to people who wish to consciously experience their innate wholeness. Her book, 'You Are Already Whole: On Discovering and Being Your True Self', will be published in 2017.
Rebecca C Mandeville, MA

Quiz Created By Rebecca C. Mandeville, MA,

ChainFree Living Transformational Life Coaching & Consulting Services

Recognizing and consciously reclaiming our own unique, true self nature is a paradoxical process of finding and embracing what we never really lost. It is an excavation project, of sorts, i.e., it is a process of uncovering, discovering, recovering, and consciously reclaiming who (and what) we in fact have always been, and will always be – That which is most true, honest, expansive, and alive within ourselves, yet constant and unchanging. As part of this reclamation and realization process, we will be challenged to release all that is false about ourselves and no longer serves us, including the parts of ourselves that we were conditioned to become by the various social systems we have been immersed in like a fish swimming in the sea, from our family-of-origin to the cultural and social systems we currently identify with, and everything in between. Note: Quiz button appears below the author’s box.

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