The downside of people pleasing

Giving zerofks to the dark voices inside my head and finally not believing everything they’re saying has been bloody hard. The voices that tell me all the shit things about myself, often followed by feeling miserable and focusing on all the wrong things. Landing in this place enabled me to save my fks for backing and being my true self, which is fking priceless!

Being a people pleaser was my specialty (and I still have that as an automated backup program). I wanted to fit in, to be liked, to be loved – so in order to get that I would leave my soul and sense of self on the curb and do whatever it took to satisfy that gaping hole of wanting to belong.

I’d morph myself into other people’s values, wants, opinions and needs, all in the name of feeling wanted, liked, and loved. By the time my last relationship ended after six years, I was a shell of a human. I had taken on his likes, hobbies, and friendships, and in the meantime had ditched mine. That thought, “oh, fuck, how do I rebuild from here?”, was so overwhelming. So much so I tried to get into the next relationship so I didn’t have to deal with myself. The voices in my head were screaming to latch onto someone else, but my soul had other plans.

None of the relationships worked out and after nine months of dating, it was time for me to take a look in the mirror and see that the problem and the solution was staring back at me. I had zero control over my thoughts and was just going along with them. But somewhere deep inside I knew better – I knew I wanted more for myself.

Alternative practices

After seeing some changes within my big brother, I grew curious and threw myself into alternative practices – kinesiology, life coaching, chakra courses, meditation, and retreats. I was on the search for my soul, not that I knew it. But I knew I was in search from something more within myself, I just didn’t have the words to put around it.

Looking back, this in itself was a zerofks moment. Choosing to pave a new way forward, try new things and get out of a life that was built on limited thoughts, feelings, behaviours and patterns. I had no idea where it would lead me but knew I had to follow it.

A big zerofks moment

A big zerofks moment that took place over that time was at a sober dance class at Five Rhythms. At the time I was part of a chakra program and the suggested homework was to attend this to become uninhibited. Oh, my, gosh. I stood there for 20 minutes dead still whilst 80 or so people around me were dancing, seemingly freely, and I hated it. I hated it because of the thoughts in my head.

“You fking loser, why won’t you just dance?”
“OMG, don’t dance, you’ll look like a dick!”
“Just leave, it was only $20, no one will notice or care!”

“If you leave you are weak and pathetic!”
“This place is weird, get the fk outta here!”
“I can’t believe you’re not dancing, just move something!”
“No, don’t dance, people will think you’re weird. People will think you’re copying their moves!”

20 solid minutes of that, plus more, going on in my head – no wonder I was frozen and stiff in my body. I remember closing my eyes, taking a deep breath and saying, “fk it” to myself. “Fk it Kat, just let yourself be free”. Little by little I started to move, finding the rhythm in my body and the music. Within 15 minutes I was free from those thoughts, free from being ruled by nonsense, free from being stuck inside self-created limitation. This was a big moment I gifted myself to be free to be me.

That night imprinted so deeply in my mind and heart that allowing myself to be me was what mattered way more than the thoughts in my head, and that it was up to me to make this matter of utmost importance. Every day I would observe where I was giving into thoughts that said I couldn’t be me, enquiring into why and then I’d ask myself, “how would life be different if I allowed myself to be me?” The more I did this, the stronger and more brave I became, taking risks where previously I would hold myself back.

I began sharing with people I was dating how I felt, expressing what I wanted and began letting out more of how I saw the world. I stopped hiding my interests and what mattered to me. I relaxed more into myself at work (was nursing at the time) and began to show more of my true self. And fk, it felt good! And I wasn’t going to let my thoughts take this away from me again.

To be real, I hoped I’d get to this place, the place where I can hear the voices in my head, allow them be there and not be overly bothered by them (some days are easier than others). There was part of me that knew I could, but another part of me that told me it was impossible. It’s the latter voice you want to start giving zerofks to, so the things that truly matter can come to life.

I’m so keen to hear your zerofks moments #zfmoments and how they have changed aspects of your life in the comments below.