My Blog Posts on Self-Discovery & Healing

My journey back to my roots and understanding that even with traditional therapy I found myself repeating the subconscious patterns that were held deeply within many generations of my family. It was this journey into subconscious healing that finally became the game changer that helped me to fully know myself and connect with my soul's true purpose in this lifetime.

blog image

How People Pleasing Behavior Can Turn into Imposter Syndrome

October 11, 202314 min read

How People-pleasing Behavior Can Turn into Imposter Syndrome

Four Tools to Empower You to Take Back Control

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

In this article, I will share my understanding of people-pleasing behavior and how it can show up as imposter syndrome in your life. I will use themes that come up frequently but recognize many others not included here. The themes are sexual orientation & identity, family and career, wealth, and responsibility for change.

In each section, I will share four simple journaling tools you can use to dig deeper into the roots of these behaviors so you can understand yourself better and begin to heal these corrosive patterns that keep you from alignment with who you truly are.

Unsurprisingly, people-pleasing behaviors are linked to the desire to be loved unconditionally.

If you did not have unconditional love as a child, you may have used people-pleasing behaviors to try to get and keep that love. These actions are not conscious and are driven by subconscious programming from childhood.

The problem is that this love, by definition, is conditional.

These people-pleasing behaviors are taken on to gain approval, love, or be seen. You may not even have a conscious awareness of this.

Yet, if these behaviors go unchecked, they can lead to a disconnected and unmotivated state of being.

Have you had the experience of waking up and feeling uncomfortable with your partner, friends, or your job, career, or business path? We can all feel dissatisfied at one point, which is perfectly normal.

I am referring to a deep and overwhelming sense of confusion.

You may think, “Everything in my life is good; I SHOULD be happy.” Yet, you are not.

You find yourself wondering, “How did I get here?”

This usually starts creeping up slowly, and the sense of discomfort builds up. It starts to impact emotions and your energy.

When it goes on for a while, it can manifest as sadness or anxiety, even as pain or discomfort in parts of the body — finally, your motivation tanks.

These dents in your emotional energies are rooted in your desire to be seen, heard, and loved.

It is important to note that seventy percent or more of self-limiting beliefs and behaviors are acquired before age 7 (Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.: The Jump from Cell Culture to Consciousness, Gustafson, C., 2017).

These are subconscious programs of limitation, disempowerment, and self-sabotage. Often, when these programs are carried in us, we attract and perpetuate more of the same.

Let’s explore some of the ways this can play out.

Photo by Natasha Connell on Unsplash

Sexual Orientation & Identity

Family expectations are often the first way to get caught up in storylines and expectations for your life. Culturally, there are still arranged marriages, an obvious manner in which young people are directed to conform, marry, accept, and be happy. Cultural norms are given as the reasoning. Shame that will arise if they are not followed.

Yet, even in cultures without arranged marriages, there are other biases at work.

Heterosexual norms from parents are placed squarely on young people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. Yet, parental, familial, and cultural norms create fear and shame around anything different.

Parents who believe only one acceptable path in sexual orientation and gender identity alienate their children into hiding their identities. Some parents genuinely believe that making any other choice than a heteronormative one can only lead to misery.

Whether it is blaming society and discrimination, or they feel it is morally or religiously wrong is not the real issue.

The real issue is that they are letting it be known that any other way of being is unacceptable.

They are placing conditions of love and acceptance on sexual orientation and gender identity. Even if you rejected these norms and went on your path, your subconscious mind still carries the beliefs of your caregivers or parents.

When you hide your sexual or gender identity or orientation, you mask yourself socially. You feel conflicted because you consciously know who you are, but a part of you feels shame and fear based on subconscious patterns.

It can be exhausting. It is also very disempowering. Happiness gets redefined as being safe from ridicule or discrimination rather than what makes you happy. This is one way that people pleasing leads to imposter syndrome.

Try this self-awareness tool.

This self-reflection activity will help you uncover your inner self, soul’s desires, or heart-centered feelings about your life. There are three different areas covered.

Review the questions and pick the ones that are answered right now.

If some bring up resistance, mark those for later; they could be powerful to explore at another time. Self-selection of the questions is one step toward increasing your self-awareness.

Self-awareness questions on values and life goals

  • What would your ideal self be like?

  • What is your biggest dream or goal?

  • What does it mean to you to achieve your dreams or goals? Why are they worth fighting for?

  • What’s in your way towards your dream?

  • Rank the most important things in your life (career, money, family, love, knowledge…).

  • What is the proportion of time dedicated to these items accordingly? (if most of your time is spent on the less important things, you should consider reprioritizing your schedule.)

  • If you have children, what would you recommend they do or not do?

Self-awareness questions on personality

  • What are the three words that best describe yourself?

  • Has your personality changed since childhood? If so, why?

  • Is your personality like that of your parents?

  • What quality do you admire the most about yourself?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

  • What is your biggest strength?

  • What scares you the most?

  • How do you make a decision? By intuition or logical analysis?

  • Name the biggest “What if” in your mind.

Self-awareness questions on relationships

  • What will an ideal intimate relationship be like to you?

  • Are you satisfied with your current relationship status?

  • If you only have 5 minutes to live, who will you call, and what will you say?

  • Name one person that you love/loved the most.

  • Describe the best moment of all the relationships you’ve been in.

  • Describe the most devastating moment of all the relationships you’ve ever had.

  • Do you treat yourself better than others?

Family & Career

I encourage you to think about what you enjoy doing in life.

Are you artistic, creative, or a more logical and analytical thinker?

Were these talents encouraged in you growing up, or were they mocked and made to feel unacceptable? Some of you shut down those things you loved the most at an early age.

Being excited and happy about the work you choose to do in life is essential.

Don’t get me wrong; there will always be parts of work you don’t enjoy as much as others. I am referring to a more significant issue, like most of what you do rubs you the wrong way or leaves you feeling depleted.

While it is true that some may know what they want to be from an early age, others may need the freedom to try things, live life, and have experiences before they are ready to commit to one course of action.

There is nothing wrong with this. It takes courage to try something, do it for a while, and decide it is not for you.

However, some generations believe strongly that you must pick a course of action, go to school, get a credential, and stick with that course. The world has changed since those times. People don’t stay in the same career or job for decades.

So even though you did believe what your parents did about the best career choice for you, your subconscious mind still holds some subconscious programming that says their way was the right way. You need to feel their love and approval to start those programs running in the background when you are thinking of changing to a different job or kind of work.

Remember, if 95% of your mind operates on subconscious beliefs, only 5% of your conscious mind operates at any moment. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “The best-laid plans.”

This also means that your subconscious mind is still running your parents’ programs 95% of the time. Operating 5% of the time, your conscious mind doesn’t stand a chance without subconscious rewiring.

It explains why most people give up health and fitness goals set at the new year by the first week in February. They still need to address the subconscious patterns they hold about health, wellness, weight loss, change, and self-care.

Try this tool to reflect on where your current beliefs come from.

Source Your Beliefs Coaching Tool Journaling Activity

This journaling activity will help you identify the gaps between your desired beliefs and those you have today. Feel free to take your time on this; do not feel you must do it all at once.

You know what inspires and pleases you, yet you have learned (subconsciously) to override these signals — It is an excellent time to check in with your core values and beliefs. Draw a grid in your journal or create a simple table in a document. It should have four columns and five rows.

Write these headers at the top: Goals, What Others Say, Culture Narrative, Whose Dreams? Then, follow these steps to uncover your motivations.

  1. List 2 to 3 goals

  2. List what others close to you say about these goals.

  3. List what the cultural narrative is on your goals.

  4. Whose dreams are you following?

Once this is done, free-write, “What I want to believe about these goals.” This will help you develop the mindset and life you truly desire.

Culture of Wealth

Our culture sets grand expectations for wealth and prestige, and although these are excellent goals, they can often lead you down a path outside of your authentic self.

The high achievement standard of constant driving and pushing for more credentials, higher levels of responsibility, more money, and all manner of advancement. All of this comes without honest consideration of the personal price you pay for all this success.

This can be especially insidious for women. With all the progress made in the past, women are being reminded daily that they are expected to have it all. The career, finding love, the family, having children (by a certain age), staying healthy and fit, and so on.

If you have been on this hamster wheel as I was, you will understand that the imposter in you starts to speak up like a cranky toddler.

Can you relate?

I can recall being expected to be available for my job 24/7, and though I was proud of the position that came with it, I remember how it felt to understand that my time was no longer my own. I could be called in to manage an emergency anytime on my weekend.

I felt like I had painted myself into a corner, and like a cranky toddler, I was not having it!

I yearned to regain control and find a way to show the world my worth without trading my mind, body, and soul for wealth.

Like a cranky toddler, I began to take on habits and routines that were not good for me, and I realized I could not keep it up. Instead of throwing fits when I did not have things my way, I shopped, numbed, or escaped reality in various ways.

So, if you feel overworked and underappreciated at home or work, notice if you have developed other outward signs that this has gone too far.

Overworking yourself to exhaustion, increasing obsessive-compulsive behaviors, picking up old unhealthy habits, and burnout are just a few things to consider. These results take their toll when people-pleasing behaviors have you hypervigilant to get the recognition, wealth, and love you desire and deserve.

Consider using this self-love tool to help you check in with yourself and recharge.

Self-Love Coaching Tool: this tool can help you check in with how you recharge yourself.

In this activity, you will discover places where you are leaking energy. Then, you will explore ways to start to align with who you are and what you need to give yourself in the form of good habits that can create more ease and grace within you. Use a journal or notepad on your computer, whatever works best for you.

Make a list of three to five things that you enjoy doing and that feed your positive energy.

(My example answers, fill in your own.):

  • Sleep 8 hours at night

  • Eating quality foods 90% of the time

  • Working out five days each week

  • Meditation and journaling each morning.

Now, reflect on how often you do these things, make a note next to each, and be honest.

Self-reflection questions:

  1. Could you add anything to the list?

  2. Give yourself a score of 0–10 on how consistently you do these things yourself.

  3. For the ones you want to improve, consider why you don’t do these things. Then, circle the one or two that cause the most energy drain when you don’t stay consistent.

  4. Consider what you can do to commit to self-care and self-love. Imagine how you would feel if you cared for yourself at this higher level.

Responsibility for Change

There are roles we take on in life, and we often do not realize they are running in the background. One way to dig deeper into self-awareness is to look at the areas of your life that you are unsatisfied with. These are opportunities to see that the resistance you are experiencing to change is a sure sign that this area of your life is ready and waiting to transform.

Can you ask yourself why you are not able to change?

Can you identify those dents in your subconscious mind created by an experience where you failed to achieve your desired outcome?

You have held onto the beliefs that came to you from your caregivers before age 7. Remember, 95% of your limiting beliefs were developed before age 7.

These beliefs told you that you could not make it alone, so you had to conform to whatever was required. This is where most adults become stuck in childhood trauma experiences, whether they remember them or not.

Recognizing this may be your situation can seem daunting.

Try framing it differently. It is a positive because awareness is the first step to change.

If the emotions that come up are too strong, listening is essential. If you suspect this may be what is going on with you and are unsure, collaborating with a subconscious expert may be an excellent way to heal. Rewiring your subconscious mind is simple and possible. Once you learn how to do it, you have this tool for life.

Events in your life, plus your response to them, determine your outcome. Jack Canfield

If you are aware and want to see the changes through, you must face the resistance that will come up. Facing it is a four-step process.

Try this tool to help you overcome your frustrations and complaints about how things are right now. To get past it, you must think past it, first consciously, then rewire the subconscious beliefs that come up.

Try this journaling tool developed by Gay and Katie Hendricks.

How to Go From Complaint to Commitment Journal Activity. Here is a shortened version of the steps:

  • First, think of something you are frustrated about. Set a timer and write all your complaints about it for two minutes; let it loose, vent, and be uncensored.

  • Next, how am I contributing to the situation? Use a humming sound to rattle any resistance, shake, tapping, or move your body. Shake up the creative side of your brain. Journal for 1.5 minutes on this topic.

  • Ask (while humming or shaking or tapping against resistance), what would I like to happen? Go high level here, not details to start.

  • Lastly, what am I willing to do to get what I want? Envision it, describe it.

To Wrap it all Up

Subconscious patterns run deep and take over in life situations without our conscious awareness. People pleasing and imposter syndrome are two of the most common ways of subconscious programming, but they are certainly not the only ones.

Please connect more deeply with your inner self through some of these examples and the tools shared.

If journaling does not come easy, consider any subconscious beliefs about that. I am just saying! Consider how those around you may have frowned upon messages about self-reflection or meditation. Please don’t knock it until you try it!

If this resonated with you, but you need time to digest it, please return and try the activities when you have more time to begin or continue your inner work.

If you want free resources to help you heal subconscious patterns, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Back to Blog

My Blog

blog image

How People Pleasing Behavior Can Turn into Imposter Syndrome

October 11, 202314 min read

How People-pleasing Behavior Can Turn into Imposter Syndrome

Four Tools to Empower You to Take Back Control

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

In this article, I will share my understanding of people-pleasing behavior and how it can show up as imposter syndrome in your life. I will use themes that come up frequently but recognize many others not included here. The themes are sexual orientation & identity, family and career, wealth, and responsibility for change.

In each section, I will share four simple journaling tools you can use to dig deeper into the roots of these behaviors so you can understand yourself better and begin to heal these corrosive patterns that keep you from alignment with who you truly are.

Unsurprisingly, people-pleasing behaviors are linked to the desire to be loved unconditionally.

If you did not have unconditional love as a child, you may have used people-pleasing behaviors to try to get and keep that love. These actions are not conscious and are driven by subconscious programming from childhood.

The problem is that this love, by definition, is conditional.

These people-pleasing behaviors are taken on to gain approval, love, or be seen. You may not even have a conscious awareness of this.

Yet, if these behaviors go unchecked, they can lead to a disconnected and unmotivated state of being.

Have you had the experience of waking up and feeling uncomfortable with your partner, friends, or your job, career, or business path? We can all feel dissatisfied at one point, which is perfectly normal.

I am referring to a deep and overwhelming sense of confusion.

You may think, “Everything in my life is good; I SHOULD be happy.” Yet, you are not.

You find yourself wondering, “How did I get here?”

This usually starts creeping up slowly, and the sense of discomfort builds up. It starts to impact emotions and your energy.

When it goes on for a while, it can manifest as sadness or anxiety, even as pain or discomfort in parts of the body — finally, your motivation tanks.

These dents in your emotional energies are rooted in your desire to be seen, heard, and loved.

It is important to note that seventy percent or more of self-limiting beliefs and behaviors are acquired before age 7 (Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.: The Jump from Cell Culture to Consciousness, Gustafson, C., 2017).

These are subconscious programs of limitation, disempowerment, and self-sabotage. Often, when these programs are carried in us, we attract and perpetuate more of the same.

Let’s explore some of the ways this can play out.

Photo by Natasha Connell on Unsplash

Sexual Orientation & Identity

Family expectations are often the first way to get caught up in storylines and expectations for your life. Culturally, there are still arranged marriages, an obvious manner in which young people are directed to conform, marry, accept, and be happy. Cultural norms are given as the reasoning. Shame that will arise if they are not followed.

Yet, even in cultures without arranged marriages, there are other biases at work.

Heterosexual norms from parents are placed squarely on young people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. Yet, parental, familial, and cultural norms create fear and shame around anything different.

Parents who believe only one acceptable path in sexual orientation and gender identity alienate their children into hiding their identities. Some parents genuinely believe that making any other choice than a heteronormative one can only lead to misery.

Whether it is blaming society and discrimination, or they feel it is morally or religiously wrong is not the real issue.

The real issue is that they are letting it be known that any other way of being is unacceptable.

They are placing conditions of love and acceptance on sexual orientation and gender identity. Even if you rejected these norms and went on your path, your subconscious mind still carries the beliefs of your caregivers or parents.

When you hide your sexual or gender identity or orientation, you mask yourself socially. You feel conflicted because you consciously know who you are, but a part of you feels shame and fear based on subconscious patterns.

It can be exhausting. It is also very disempowering. Happiness gets redefined as being safe from ridicule or discrimination rather than what makes you happy. This is one way that people pleasing leads to imposter syndrome.

Try this self-awareness tool.

This self-reflection activity will help you uncover your inner self, soul’s desires, or heart-centered feelings about your life. There are three different areas covered.

Review the questions and pick the ones that are answered right now.

If some bring up resistance, mark those for later; they could be powerful to explore at another time. Self-selection of the questions is one step toward increasing your self-awareness.

Self-awareness questions on values and life goals

  • What would your ideal self be like?

  • What is your biggest dream or goal?

  • What does it mean to you to achieve your dreams or goals? Why are they worth fighting for?

  • What’s in your way towards your dream?

  • Rank the most important things in your life (career, money, family, love, knowledge…).

  • What is the proportion of time dedicated to these items accordingly? (if most of your time is spent on the less important things, you should consider reprioritizing your schedule.)

  • If you have children, what would you recommend they do or not do?

Self-awareness questions on personality

  • What are the three words that best describe yourself?

  • Has your personality changed since childhood? If so, why?

  • Is your personality like that of your parents?

  • What quality do you admire the most about yourself?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

  • What is your biggest strength?

  • What scares you the most?

  • How do you make a decision? By intuition or logical analysis?

  • Name the biggest “What if” in your mind.

Self-awareness questions on relationships

  • What will an ideal intimate relationship be like to you?

  • Are you satisfied with your current relationship status?

  • If you only have 5 minutes to live, who will you call, and what will you say?

  • Name one person that you love/loved the most.

  • Describe the best moment of all the relationships you’ve been in.

  • Describe the most devastating moment of all the relationships you’ve ever had.

  • Do you treat yourself better than others?

Family & Career

I encourage you to think about what you enjoy doing in life.

Are you artistic, creative, or a more logical and analytical thinker?

Were these talents encouraged in you growing up, or were they mocked and made to feel unacceptable? Some of you shut down those things you loved the most at an early age.

Being excited and happy about the work you choose to do in life is essential.

Don’t get me wrong; there will always be parts of work you don’t enjoy as much as others. I am referring to a more significant issue, like most of what you do rubs you the wrong way or leaves you feeling depleted.

While it is true that some may know what they want to be from an early age, others may need the freedom to try things, live life, and have experiences before they are ready to commit to one course of action.

There is nothing wrong with this. It takes courage to try something, do it for a while, and decide it is not for you.

However, some generations believe strongly that you must pick a course of action, go to school, get a credential, and stick with that course. The world has changed since those times. People don’t stay in the same career or job for decades.

So even though you did believe what your parents did about the best career choice for you, your subconscious mind still holds some subconscious programming that says their way was the right way. You need to feel their love and approval to start those programs running in the background when you are thinking of changing to a different job or kind of work.

Remember, if 95% of your mind operates on subconscious beliefs, only 5% of your conscious mind operates at any moment. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “The best-laid plans.”

This also means that your subconscious mind is still running your parents’ programs 95% of the time. Operating 5% of the time, your conscious mind doesn’t stand a chance without subconscious rewiring.

It explains why most people give up health and fitness goals set at the new year by the first week in February. They still need to address the subconscious patterns they hold about health, wellness, weight loss, change, and self-care.

Try this tool to reflect on where your current beliefs come from.

Source Your Beliefs Coaching Tool Journaling Activity

This journaling activity will help you identify the gaps between your desired beliefs and those you have today. Feel free to take your time on this; do not feel you must do it all at once.

You know what inspires and pleases you, yet you have learned (subconsciously) to override these signals — It is an excellent time to check in with your core values and beliefs. Draw a grid in your journal or create a simple table in a document. It should have four columns and five rows.

Write these headers at the top: Goals, What Others Say, Culture Narrative, Whose Dreams? Then, follow these steps to uncover your motivations.

  1. List 2 to 3 goals

  2. List what others close to you say about these goals.

  3. List what the cultural narrative is on your goals.

  4. Whose dreams are you following?

Once this is done, free-write, “What I want to believe about these goals.” This will help you develop the mindset and life you truly desire.

Culture of Wealth

Our culture sets grand expectations for wealth and prestige, and although these are excellent goals, they can often lead you down a path outside of your authentic self.

The high achievement standard of constant driving and pushing for more credentials, higher levels of responsibility, more money, and all manner of advancement. All of this comes without honest consideration of the personal price you pay for all this success.

This can be especially insidious for women. With all the progress made in the past, women are being reminded daily that they are expected to have it all. The career, finding love, the family, having children (by a certain age), staying healthy and fit, and so on.

If you have been on this hamster wheel as I was, you will understand that the imposter in you starts to speak up like a cranky toddler.

Can you relate?

I can recall being expected to be available for my job 24/7, and though I was proud of the position that came with it, I remember how it felt to understand that my time was no longer my own. I could be called in to manage an emergency anytime on my weekend.

I felt like I had painted myself into a corner, and like a cranky toddler, I was not having it!

I yearned to regain control and find a way to show the world my worth without trading my mind, body, and soul for wealth.

Like a cranky toddler, I began to take on habits and routines that were not good for me, and I realized I could not keep it up. Instead of throwing fits when I did not have things my way, I shopped, numbed, or escaped reality in various ways.

So, if you feel overworked and underappreciated at home or work, notice if you have developed other outward signs that this has gone too far.

Overworking yourself to exhaustion, increasing obsessive-compulsive behaviors, picking up old unhealthy habits, and burnout are just a few things to consider. These results take their toll when people-pleasing behaviors have you hypervigilant to get the recognition, wealth, and love you desire and deserve.

Consider using this self-love tool to help you check in with yourself and recharge.

Self-Love Coaching Tool: this tool can help you check in with how you recharge yourself.

In this activity, you will discover places where you are leaking energy. Then, you will explore ways to start to align with who you are and what you need to give yourself in the form of good habits that can create more ease and grace within you. Use a journal or notepad on your computer, whatever works best for you.

Make a list of three to five things that you enjoy doing and that feed your positive energy.

(My example answers, fill in your own.):

  • Sleep 8 hours at night

  • Eating quality foods 90% of the time

  • Working out five days each week

  • Meditation and journaling each morning.

Now, reflect on how often you do these things, make a note next to each, and be honest.

Self-reflection questions:

  1. Could you add anything to the list?

  2. Give yourself a score of 0–10 on how consistently you do these things yourself.

  3. For the ones you want to improve, consider why you don’t do these things. Then, circle the one or two that cause the most energy drain when you don’t stay consistent.

  4. Consider what you can do to commit to self-care and self-love. Imagine how you would feel if you cared for yourself at this higher level.

Responsibility for Change

There are roles we take on in life, and we often do not realize they are running in the background. One way to dig deeper into self-awareness is to look at the areas of your life that you are unsatisfied with. These are opportunities to see that the resistance you are experiencing to change is a sure sign that this area of your life is ready and waiting to transform.

Can you ask yourself why you are not able to change?

Can you identify those dents in your subconscious mind created by an experience where you failed to achieve your desired outcome?

You have held onto the beliefs that came to you from your caregivers before age 7. Remember, 95% of your limiting beliefs were developed before age 7.

These beliefs told you that you could not make it alone, so you had to conform to whatever was required. This is where most adults become stuck in childhood trauma experiences, whether they remember them or not.

Recognizing this may be your situation can seem daunting.

Try framing it differently. It is a positive because awareness is the first step to change.

If the emotions that come up are too strong, listening is essential. If you suspect this may be what is going on with you and are unsure, collaborating with a subconscious expert may be an excellent way to heal. Rewiring your subconscious mind is simple and possible. Once you learn how to do it, you have this tool for life.

Events in your life, plus your response to them, determine your outcome. Jack Canfield

If you are aware and want to see the changes through, you must face the resistance that will come up. Facing it is a four-step process.

Try this tool to help you overcome your frustrations and complaints about how things are right now. To get past it, you must think past it, first consciously, then rewire the subconscious beliefs that come up.

Try this journaling tool developed by Gay and Katie Hendricks.

How to Go From Complaint to Commitment Journal Activity. Here is a shortened version of the steps:

  • First, think of something you are frustrated about. Set a timer and write all your complaints about it for two minutes; let it loose, vent, and be uncensored.

  • Next, how am I contributing to the situation? Use a humming sound to rattle any resistance, shake, tapping, or move your body. Shake up the creative side of your brain. Journal for 1.5 minutes on this topic.

  • Ask (while humming or shaking or tapping against resistance), what would I like to happen? Go high level here, not details to start.

  • Lastly, what am I willing to do to get what I want? Envision it, describe it.

To Wrap it all Up

Subconscious patterns run deep and take over in life situations without our conscious awareness. People pleasing and imposter syndrome are two of the most common ways of subconscious programming, but they are certainly not the only ones.

Please connect more deeply with your inner self through some of these examples and the tools shared.

If journaling does not come easy, consider any subconscious beliefs about that. I am just saying! Consider how those around you may have frowned upon messages about self-reflection or meditation. Please don’t knock it until you try it!

If this resonated with you, but you need time to digest it, please return and try the activities when you have more time to begin or continue your inner work.

If you want free resources to help you heal subconscious patterns, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Back to Blog
blog image

How People Pleasing Behavior Can Turn into Imposter Syndrome

October 11, 202314 min read

How People-pleasing Behavior Can Turn into Imposter Syndrome

Four Tools to Empower You to Take Back Control

Photo by Tengyart on Unsplash

In this article, I will share my understanding of people-pleasing behavior and how it can show up as imposter syndrome in your life. I will use themes that come up frequently but recognize many others not included here. The themes are sexual orientation & identity, family and career, wealth, and responsibility for change.

In each section, I will share four simple journaling tools you can use to dig deeper into the roots of these behaviors so you can understand yourself better and begin to heal these corrosive patterns that keep you from alignment with who you truly are.

Unsurprisingly, people-pleasing behaviors are linked to the desire to be loved unconditionally.

If you did not have unconditional love as a child, you may have used people-pleasing behaviors to try to get and keep that love. These actions are not conscious and are driven by subconscious programming from childhood.

The problem is that this love, by definition, is conditional.

These people-pleasing behaviors are taken on to gain approval, love, or be seen. You may not even have a conscious awareness of this.

Yet, if these behaviors go unchecked, they can lead to a disconnected and unmotivated state of being.

Have you had the experience of waking up and feeling uncomfortable with your partner, friends, or your job, career, or business path? We can all feel dissatisfied at one point, which is perfectly normal.

I am referring to a deep and overwhelming sense of confusion.

You may think, “Everything in my life is good; I SHOULD be happy.” Yet, you are not.

You find yourself wondering, “How did I get here?”

This usually starts creeping up slowly, and the sense of discomfort builds up. It starts to impact emotions and your energy.

When it goes on for a while, it can manifest as sadness or anxiety, even as pain or discomfort in parts of the body — finally, your motivation tanks.

These dents in your emotional energies are rooted in your desire to be seen, heard, and loved.

It is important to note that seventy percent or more of self-limiting beliefs and behaviors are acquired before age 7 (Bruce Lipton, Ph.D.: The Jump from Cell Culture to Consciousness, Gustafson, C., 2017).

These are subconscious programs of limitation, disempowerment, and self-sabotage. Often, when these programs are carried in us, we attract and perpetuate more of the same.

Let’s explore some of the ways this can play out.

Photo by Natasha Connell on Unsplash

Sexual Orientation & Identity

Family expectations are often the first way to get caught up in storylines and expectations for your life. Culturally, there are still arranged marriages, an obvious manner in which young people are directed to conform, marry, accept, and be happy. Cultural norms are given as the reasoning. Shame that will arise if they are not followed.

Yet, even in cultures without arranged marriages, there are other biases at work.

Heterosexual norms from parents are placed squarely on young people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. Yet, parental, familial, and cultural norms create fear and shame around anything different.

Parents who believe only one acceptable path in sexual orientation and gender identity alienate their children into hiding their identities. Some parents genuinely believe that making any other choice than a heteronormative one can only lead to misery.

Whether it is blaming society and discrimination, or they feel it is morally or religiously wrong is not the real issue.

The real issue is that they are letting it be known that any other way of being is unacceptable.

They are placing conditions of love and acceptance on sexual orientation and gender identity. Even if you rejected these norms and went on your path, your subconscious mind still carries the beliefs of your caregivers or parents.

When you hide your sexual or gender identity or orientation, you mask yourself socially. You feel conflicted because you consciously know who you are, but a part of you feels shame and fear based on subconscious patterns.

It can be exhausting. It is also very disempowering. Happiness gets redefined as being safe from ridicule or discrimination rather than what makes you happy. This is one way that people pleasing leads to imposter syndrome.

Try this self-awareness tool.

This self-reflection activity will help you uncover your inner self, soul’s desires, or heart-centered feelings about your life. There are three different areas covered.

Review the questions and pick the ones that are answered right now.

If some bring up resistance, mark those for later; they could be powerful to explore at another time. Self-selection of the questions is one step toward increasing your self-awareness.

Self-awareness questions on values and life goals

  • What would your ideal self be like?

  • What is your biggest dream or goal?

  • What does it mean to you to achieve your dreams or goals? Why are they worth fighting for?

  • What’s in your way towards your dream?

  • Rank the most important things in your life (career, money, family, love, knowledge…).

  • What is the proportion of time dedicated to these items accordingly? (if most of your time is spent on the less important things, you should consider reprioritizing your schedule.)

  • If you have children, what would you recommend they do or not do?

Self-awareness questions on personality

  • What are the three words that best describe yourself?

  • Has your personality changed since childhood? If so, why?

  • Is your personality like that of your parents?

  • What quality do you admire the most about yourself?

  • What is your biggest weakness?

  • What is your biggest strength?

  • What scares you the most?

  • How do you make a decision? By intuition or logical analysis?

  • Name the biggest “What if” in your mind.

Self-awareness questions on relationships

  • What will an ideal intimate relationship be like to you?

  • Are you satisfied with your current relationship status?

  • If you only have 5 minutes to live, who will you call, and what will you say?

  • Name one person that you love/loved the most.

  • Describe the best moment of all the relationships you’ve been in.

  • Describe the most devastating moment of all the relationships you’ve ever had.

  • Do you treat yourself better than others?

Family & Career

I encourage you to think about what you enjoy doing in life.

Are you artistic, creative, or a more logical and analytical thinker?

Were these talents encouraged in you growing up, or were they mocked and made to feel unacceptable? Some of you shut down those things you loved the most at an early age.

Being excited and happy about the work you choose to do in life is essential.

Don’t get me wrong; there will always be parts of work you don’t enjoy as much as others. I am referring to a more significant issue, like most of what you do rubs you the wrong way or leaves you feeling depleted.

While it is true that some may know what they want to be from an early age, others may need the freedom to try things, live life, and have experiences before they are ready to commit to one course of action.

There is nothing wrong with this. It takes courage to try something, do it for a while, and decide it is not for you.

However, some generations believe strongly that you must pick a course of action, go to school, get a credential, and stick with that course. The world has changed since those times. People don’t stay in the same career or job for decades.

So even though you did believe what your parents did about the best career choice for you, your subconscious mind still holds some subconscious programming that says their way was the right way. You need to feel their love and approval to start those programs running in the background when you are thinking of changing to a different job or kind of work.

Remember, if 95% of your mind operates on subconscious beliefs, only 5% of your conscious mind operates at any moment. This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “The best-laid plans.”

This also means that your subconscious mind is still running your parents’ programs 95% of the time. Operating 5% of the time, your conscious mind doesn’t stand a chance without subconscious rewiring.

It explains why most people give up health and fitness goals set at the new year by the first week in February. They still need to address the subconscious patterns they hold about health, wellness, weight loss, change, and self-care.

Try this tool to reflect on where your current beliefs come from.

Source Your Beliefs Coaching Tool Journaling Activity

This journaling activity will help you identify the gaps between your desired beliefs and those you have today. Feel free to take your time on this; do not feel you must do it all at once.

You know what inspires and pleases you, yet you have learned (subconsciously) to override these signals — It is an excellent time to check in with your core values and beliefs. Draw a grid in your journal or create a simple table in a document. It should have four columns and five rows.

Write these headers at the top: Goals, What Others Say, Culture Narrative, Whose Dreams? Then, follow these steps to uncover your motivations.

  1. List 2 to 3 goals

  2. List what others close to you say about these goals.

  3. List what the cultural narrative is on your goals.

  4. Whose dreams are you following?

Once this is done, free-write, “What I want to believe about these goals.” This will help you develop the mindset and life you truly desire.

Culture of Wealth

Our culture sets grand expectations for wealth and prestige, and although these are excellent goals, they can often lead you down a path outside of your authentic self.

The high achievement standard of constant driving and pushing for more credentials, higher levels of responsibility, more money, and all manner of advancement. All of this comes without honest consideration of the personal price you pay for all this success.

This can be especially insidious for women. With all the progress made in the past, women are being reminded daily that they are expected to have it all. The career, finding love, the family, having children (by a certain age), staying healthy and fit, and so on.

If you have been on this hamster wheel as I was, you will understand that the imposter in you starts to speak up like a cranky toddler.

Can you relate?

I can recall being expected to be available for my job 24/7, and though I was proud of the position that came with it, I remember how it felt to understand that my time was no longer my own. I could be called in to manage an emergency anytime on my weekend.

I felt like I had painted myself into a corner, and like a cranky toddler, I was not having it!

I yearned to regain control and find a way to show the world my worth without trading my mind, body, and soul for wealth.

Like a cranky toddler, I began to take on habits and routines that were not good for me, and I realized I could not keep it up. Instead of throwing fits when I did not have things my way, I shopped, numbed, or escaped reality in various ways.

So, if you feel overworked and underappreciated at home or work, notice if you have developed other outward signs that this has gone too far.

Overworking yourself to exhaustion, increasing obsessive-compulsive behaviors, picking up old unhealthy habits, and burnout are just a few things to consider. These results take their toll when people-pleasing behaviors have you hypervigilant to get the recognition, wealth, and love you desire and deserve.

Consider using this self-love tool to help you check in with yourself and recharge.

Self-Love Coaching Tool: this tool can help you check in with how you recharge yourself.

In this activity, you will discover places where you are leaking energy. Then, you will explore ways to start to align with who you are and what you need to give yourself in the form of good habits that can create more ease and grace within you. Use a journal or notepad on your computer, whatever works best for you.

Make a list of three to five things that you enjoy doing and that feed your positive energy.

(My example answers, fill in your own.):

  • Sleep 8 hours at night

  • Eating quality foods 90% of the time

  • Working out five days each week

  • Meditation and journaling each morning.

Now, reflect on how often you do these things, make a note next to each, and be honest.

Self-reflection questions:

  1. Could you add anything to the list?

  2. Give yourself a score of 0–10 on how consistently you do these things yourself.

  3. For the ones you want to improve, consider why you don’t do these things. Then, circle the one or two that cause the most energy drain when you don’t stay consistent.

  4. Consider what you can do to commit to self-care and self-love. Imagine how you would feel if you cared for yourself at this higher level.

Responsibility for Change

There are roles we take on in life, and we often do not realize they are running in the background. One way to dig deeper into self-awareness is to look at the areas of your life that you are unsatisfied with. These are opportunities to see that the resistance you are experiencing to change is a sure sign that this area of your life is ready and waiting to transform.

Can you ask yourself why you are not able to change?

Can you identify those dents in your subconscious mind created by an experience where you failed to achieve your desired outcome?

You have held onto the beliefs that came to you from your caregivers before age 7. Remember, 95% of your limiting beliefs were developed before age 7.

These beliefs told you that you could not make it alone, so you had to conform to whatever was required. This is where most adults become stuck in childhood trauma experiences, whether they remember them or not.

Recognizing this may be your situation can seem daunting.

Try framing it differently. It is a positive because awareness is the first step to change.

If the emotions that come up are too strong, listening is essential. If you suspect this may be what is going on with you and are unsure, collaborating with a subconscious expert may be an excellent way to heal. Rewiring your subconscious mind is simple and possible. Once you learn how to do it, you have this tool for life.

Events in your life, plus your response to them, determine your outcome. Jack Canfield

If you are aware and want to see the changes through, you must face the resistance that will come up. Facing it is a four-step process.

Try this tool to help you overcome your frustrations and complaints about how things are right now. To get past it, you must think past it, first consciously, then rewire the subconscious beliefs that come up.

Try this journaling tool developed by Gay and Katie Hendricks.

How to Go From Complaint to Commitment Journal Activity. Here is a shortened version of the steps:

  • First, think of something you are frustrated about. Set a timer and write all your complaints about it for two minutes; let it loose, vent, and be uncensored.

  • Next, how am I contributing to the situation? Use a humming sound to rattle any resistance, shake, tapping, or move your body. Shake up the creative side of your brain. Journal for 1.5 minutes on this topic.

  • Ask (while humming or shaking or tapping against resistance), what would I like to happen? Go high level here, not details to start.

  • Lastly, what am I willing to do to get what I want? Envision it, describe it.

To Wrap it all Up

Subconscious patterns run deep and take over in life situations without our conscious awareness. People pleasing and imposter syndrome are two of the most common ways of subconscious programming, but they are certainly not the only ones.

Please connect more deeply with your inner self through some of these examples and the tools shared.

If journaling does not come easy, consider any subconscious beliefs about that. I am just saying! Consider how those around you may have frowned upon messages about self-reflection or meditation. Please don’t knock it until you try it!

If this resonated with you, but you need time to digest it, please return and try the activities when you have more time to begin or continue your inner work.

If you want free resources to help you heal subconscious patterns, please subscribe to my newsletter.

Back to Blog

Check out my writing

Please check out my articles which are all about self improvement and increasing your awareness about your life experiences.

THE PARTY IS RIGHT OVER HERE - PLEASE JOIN US!

Rock Your Blocks

Give yourself the gift of releasing the past and opening yourself to your dreams of your best life.

Socialize

ROCK YOUR BLOCKS, ROSEVILLE, CA 9574

DISCLAIMER TERMS AND CONDITIONS PRIVACY POLICY

© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED ROCK YOUR BLOCKS 2024