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Transforming People Pleasing with Somatic Experiencing

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transforming people pleasing
with somatic experiencing

I remember it like it was yesterday…

I was sitting opposite my wonderful somatic experiencing trainer, her bare feet placed gently over the top of my feet to offer my nervous system support and co-regulation, while we role-played scenarios where I set boundaries with, and said ‘no’ to my (at the time) boss.

It was the first time I’d acutely felt and been able to maintain presence as the slow numbness of a freeze response crept through my system.

The thought of disappointing my boss, whom I respected and admired greatly, was terrifying to me. It had nothing to do with him (he’s now a very dear friend, in fact) or my working environment – this response in my system was all mine.

I never learned it was safe to have a differing opinion, my experience was that if I somehow disappointed someone or got something wrong, that I’d be criticised and love would get withheld. I’d dealt with this by becoming numb and hard to ‘endure’ what was happening and in an effort appear unaffected by it.

This memory is a few years ago now.

I remember it so clearly because it marks a moment that was a turning point for me. After this experience I gained more and more capacity and power to meet this freeze response when it showed up, and bravely maintain presence in what had previously been conversations and moments that had felt really frightening and would’ve had me somehow abandon myself.

Most people probably wouldn’t have picked me as a people pleaser based on how I presented to the world, but I was.

Today, I can tell the truth about how I’m feeling, I can give someone news I think might be disappointing for them, I can say ‘no’ and I can ask for support. Sometimes these things still feel hard, but the fear that comes up no longer has me freeze, abandon myself or minimise my feelings and needs.

The quality of the personal and professional relationships I have in my life as a result of my hard work is incredible.

Healing people pleasing patterns is a process and journey to be taken over time, not an ‘on/off’ switch.

But if you want relationships where you can truly be YOU, in all your shades and flavours; if you want to create healthy boundaries with your work colleagues, if you want to feel valued, seen and cared for by your spouse, if you want to say no to some social things to create more time for yourself with feeling guilty…then doing this work is so worth it.

Please leave a comment and share, what steps are you committing to in the journey to unravelling your people pleasing patterns?

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Never underestimate the power of your past. Because it’s not in the past. It’s here in this living moment with you – woven into your responses, choices and perceptions; baked into your nervous system and psyche through and reinforcement and repetition.

That doesn’t mean your past has to define you, not at all.

Though, you’re lying to yourself if you say ‘its in the past’, yet have done no work to clear the ripples of that past from your system to create space for something new.

Yesterday, in a session with my coach, I went ‘back in time’ to the end of 2020, when I went through an experience that was somewhat challenging for me.

Here is a sublime example

Despite acknowledging the challenge at the time, I realised looking back that I hadn’t fully resolved or digested what happened there.

Part of me stayed frozen in that experience, and on the subtlest of levels, I have gotten in my own way unconsciously ever since.

That past experience was with me in every moment. It informed my capacity and energy levels, choices and perceptions.

And this is how the past shapes us – you have experiences that your system ‘learns’ from, and you then – often completely unconsciously – adjust accordingly to avoid repeating painful or difficult events.

We are such clever adaptive creatures.

But, those ‘adaptations’ will inadvertently shape your behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings in a way that can begin to inhibit your ability to fully show up for your business or career, relationships, and life in general.

If you bring the process of ‘learning’ from these past experiences into consciousness, you gift yourself the chance to mine the gold from the past, get the learnings and gifts link example: and then move forward with your life.

„ QUOTE DESIGN: I CALL THIS PROCESS ‘DIGESTING’ YOUR PAST EXPERIENCES, AND HAVE SPECIFIC PRACTICES I TEACH TO SUPPORT YOU TO DO THIS.“

I call this process ‘digesting’ your past experiences, and have specific practices I teach to support you to do this.

The challenges of the past – and your adaptations – can become like a cage you find yourself living in if you’re not aware, but this digestion process ensures your continued liberation…

Which past experiences do you need to free yourself from?

And this is how the past shapes us – you have experiences that your system ‘learns’ from, and you then – often completely unconsciously – adjust accordingly to avoid repeating painful or difficult events.

We are such clever adaptive creatures.

But, those ‘adaptations’ will inadvertently shape your behaviour, attitudes, thoughts and feelings in a way that can begin to inhibit your ability to fully show up for your business or career, relationships, and life in general.

If you bring the process of ‘learning’ from these past experiences into consciousness, you gift yourself the chance to mine the gold from the past, get the learnings.

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