anxiety, anxiety disorder, dealing with anxiety, what is anxiety, people please, stop anxiety, uncertainty, uncertainties, people pleasing

One path is to be the kind, thoughtful people pleasing person who wants to be liked so they often have a hard time being genuine. The other path is to be irritable, impatient & cranky in order to be impervious. Both paths have piles of fear & insecurities underneath.

The people pleasing path is controlling by being so likable. If everybody likes me I can avoid the uncertainty of not being liked. Control is all about creating certainty. The grumpy path is control by pushing everyone away, to avoid the uncertainty of what can happen in the messiness of dealing with others.

Both of these paths are lopsided. Achieving balance requires more range. So the grumpy one needs to be willing get along & the people pleaser needs to be more grumpy and say “No”.

While the exterior for both is very different the solution is the same; be more vulnerable & truthful.

Anxiety is powerful and easily robs people of their choices. Life is all about choices so it’s a shame to restrict practicing choices by deflecting uncertainty. Uncertainty is a huge part of life & learning to cope with it is about growing up.

Anxiety seduces people into avoiding mistakes. Mistakes are super important in order to learn & grow. How many kids avoid doing something because they won’t be a success? Mistakes are one way of learning how to make uncertainty more bearable.

It is deeply cultural to avoid & deflect instead of dealing with something difficult. Anxiety is pervasive because people fear uncertainty & define it as stressful instead of embracing it as a part of growth.

Someone’s feelings are hurt & instead of saying so they don’t answer the phone or texts. Avoidance is most often about anxiety. “If I answer the phone and let them know I’m hurt I don’t know what will happen. I do not want to deal with the uncertainty. Not answering the phone gives me the feeling of control. (& that’s how I pretend to reduce my stress)”

This same conclusion is reached by both the grumpy one & the people pleaser. Think about all the unanswered calls you’ve made or the calls you’ve avoided.

Brain science tells us that the brain loves novelty. Anxiety loves the certainty of the familiar. Often people go on vacation to the exact same spot because it’s comforting to know where to go & what to do. Try taking a risk & go somewhere new & your brain will be grateful to explore new territory.

Certainty is not all that glorious. Both the grumpy one & the people pleaser need to risk more uncertainty and their lives will be richer for it! Indeed since medieval times it has been said “Fortune Favors the Bold.”

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About the Rhoda Mills Sommer

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