Few days back I came across something very fascinating that perturbed me to the core. Have you heard about Alice In the wonderland syndrome? Yes you read it write. Yes, it is about Alice In the wonderland story and to be more precise one of the character Cheshire Cat, who would alternate between visible and invisible while its smile would always remain. Will explain you about this syndrome with a help of an example for a better clarity.
Megha, 32-year-old HR professional, consider herself “the queen of people-pleasures”. why? Well, Megha smiled through all her relationships be it with her parents, bosses, friends and lovers. Mostly HR shares love-hate relationship with the employees but she was admired and appreciated by each and every one in her organization. She cared so much about what others would think and feel about her that she lost a track of herself. It is like you have given the key to your self-esteem to other people’s opinions and each time they can pull that up or down based upon their own whims and fancies. She was tired, exhausted and in complete stress. But was not aware what was causing this and that’s when she decided to go for a therapy.
She was always happy whenever she is surrounded by people who matters to her but now, in therapy, her face was twisted with pain. She hardly remembers anything about her childhood but remember other people quite vividly. She was able to recall when her Mom or Dad seemed happy or sad, enthused or exhausted, cheerful or angry but vaguely about her own emotions.
Do You know WHY?
This is because as a child, she has learned , that the way to feel safe is to do whatever made an angry dad smile or a depressed mom happy and how not to make them angry or depressed. Rather than focusing on her sense of growth, life or capabilities her efforts go into making her home a safe and a happy place to live. As a result, her happiness depends upon how others feel about her. She lost her own identity and that can be very fatal in long run.
When we are too much concern about other people’s desire, like and dislikes and carry it into the adulthood, there is a possibility of developing a weak personality that can be shaken by anyone. Such people can get into prove-show-hide-please personality, where in, you are just trying to please and prove others, show that you are worthy and try hiding unpleasant truths which leads to more and more stress.
Why You Get Into Prove-Show-Hide-Please Personality?
When you put all your efforts to please others and your motivation is only to prove others, you stop believing in yourself. You always wait for other’s validation and acknowledgement. Showing yourself to be worthy does not come from a happy place it comes from your deep-rooted anger and hurt. It is a response to the perception that others don’t believe you and you have to constantly demonstrate your authenticity.
The impulsion to hide something comes from fear, fear of being misunderstood or being unforgiven. You become defensive of being attacked, especially when you make a mistake. You not only live a secret life but you hide your true feelings and true personality not only from others but from yourself too. You want to please others because you want to feel accepted and loved.
Not sure how many of you would agree with me, but most of us to a certain extent link our well-being to the mood of another person, especially in a close relationship. We do it unintentionally or unconsciously and can rationalize living that way for a while, hoping to come back to our own life one day. But if we take it too long in realizing, we might just loose our way forever.
Now Let’s talk about how to deal with it and what actions need to be taken
- Rate yourself on the scale of 0 to 10, where do you stand when it comes to Prove-Show-Hide-Please personality type. How much energy are you putting in, in order to prove others. If it is 0 it’s none and if 10, it’s all. Similarly, do it for show, hide and please and see where do you stand.
- If the sum of all four is 20, you are probably living more for others than yourself.
- Read about Stephen covey theory “circle of concern Vs circle of control”. Remember you cannot control what people think about you but you can definitely have a full control on what you think or do about your life. You have very little power to make others happy and none to keep them happy, so why putting yourself in a situation that can affect you negatively.
- Speak your mind out by being assertive. Being honest about your feelings can make you come across as a very sorted person, no one will dare to take advantage of you and can keep you at peace with yourself.
- Monitor your follow through by rating yourself once a month, as in step one.
Don’t forget ” You cannot live for others without losing your self”.