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If you stop being a people pleaser, then 3 out of 10 people probably won't like you

Ash and I have been indulging in a little game of thrones over the last few weeks, and it's been an epic winter treat.

That said, one of the things that literally makes me want to jump out of my skin with awkwardness is when Jon Snow, on multiple occasions throughout the series, refuses to bend the truth in any way, which is usually followed by some terrible consequences and a bunch of people disliking him immensely.

The reason it makes me want to jump out of my skin is that by contrast to John Snow, I see the people pleaser in me, and it paints my people pleasing tendencies in stark contrast to where I want to be - Jon Snow vibes.

I recognised these behaviour patterns in myself a few years ago - the tendency to be a chameleon and change how I dress, what I say and how I behave based on the people around me. The desire to fit in and be accepted runs deep, and it's something I've had to work very hard to change, and my journey is far from over.

As I've become more authentic and consistent in the different contexts of my life, I've noticed a clear trend - if I'm actually being myself, then roughly 3 out of 10 people that I interact with won't like me or will find me weird/annoying/arrogant etc. It sounds harsh, but I've experienced this to be true. If we're brave enough to be honest and consistent, then we can be very certain that not everyone will like us.

For the people pleaser in me, this is momentary torture, but long term this authenticity has been a game changer psychologically and energetically. When my thoughts, words and actions are in alignment, it creates a depth of capacity that I've never experienced before.

Candidly, this authentic approach has also created a lot more conflict, disagreements and debate in my life, which I previously viewed as some form of failure. More recently, I've come to see this conflict as a sure sign that myself and others are reaching deep and being brave enough to be honest. Enough with suppressed thoughts and emotions, enough with the disingenuous comments so that I can fit in, enough with the passive aggressive engagements because I'm not brave enough to say how I feel directly.

As a culture, I think we've placed too much value on harmony, and we've come to see harmony as a sign that everything is working well. At Valenture, one of our company values is "honest conflict over dishonest harmony", and it's definitely one of our most important values. Most circumstances that look perfectly harmonious on the surface tend to be very unhealthy under the hood.

Conflict and disagreements are inevitable if every person in a group is being honest. Far from being a failure, this is something to celebrate and encourage. As we navigate our respective world views, and try to establish a shared space around what is "true", part of the inevitable dance is conflict. If we learn how to do conflict well, it ceases to be a personal attack, and becomes a brilliant tool for discovery, growth, boundaries and more.

One of the consequences of this level of authenticity is that there will be people who don't like you. If everyone around you likes you, you're probably suppressing some part of yourself and being a people pleaser. If you're being authentic, then by my estimation, about 2 - 3 out of any 10 people who you meet probably won't like you, and that's a good sign.


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