Overcoming People Pleasing and Perfectionism

People Pleasing and Punishment - "No More Mr. Nice Guy" Story 19 of 25

Growing up, I lived in a house where rules were more common than air. My folks were strict, and every move I made seemed to need their stamp of approval. Getting in trouble was a daily routine. I'd mess up at home, then again at school, and by the time I got back, I'd be in for round two of punishments. It felt like there was no escape.

My mom was especially firm about making sure I stayed in line. She'd tell my teachers and the principal that if I got in trouble at school, they should let her know. This meant that any mistake I made was a double whammy. Once at school, then again at home. This constant fear of messing up turned me into a master of people-pleasing. I was always trying to avoid the next scolding, the next disappointment.

The military was more of the same, but on steroids. Any trouble out in town meant double trouble back on base. This double jeopardy was my reality, and it shaped me into someone who was always worried about getting things right, about being perfect. It was exhausting and, over time, I completely lost touch with who I was and what I wanted.

By the time I hit 46, I had achieved what many would call success. A two-story house in Austin, an electric car, and more gadgets than I knew what to do with. But inside, I was crumbling. My marriage was on the rocks, I was overworked, had no friends or hobbies, and felt utterly lost. My life was a series of attempts to make everyone around me happy, and it left me drained and miserable.

One particular memory stands out that encapsulates this period of my life. I was about eight years old and had just finished a grueling week at school. My teacher had it out for me that week; every little mistake was magnified and reported back home. I remember standing in the kitchen, staring at my mom, waiting for her reaction to the latest report from school. Her disappointment was palpable. It felt like I could never do anything right.

This constant need for approval followed me well into adulthood. I remember sitting in my car one evening after work, feeling utterly empty despite all my so-called achievements. I had spent decades trying to be the perfect son, the perfect student, the perfect employee, and it had left me with nothing but an overwhelming sense of not-enoughness.

It wasn't until I came across a book called "No More Mr. Nice Guy" that things started to change. The book talked about the pitfalls of being a people-pleaser and how it can erode your sense of self. For the first time, I realized that my way of living was not only unhealthy but also unsustainable.

I started to dig deep into my past, questioning the beliefs and behaviors that had been ingrained in me. I began to understand that I had been living my life for others, always trying to meet their expectations while neglecting my own needs and desires. It was a tough pill to swallow, but it was also the beginning of my journey towards reclaiming my life.

I began to set boundaries, to say no when I needed to, and to prioritize my own well-being. It wasn't easy, and there were many moments of doubt and fear, but slowly, I started to feel more like myself. I learned to be comfortable with who I was and to embrace my imperfections.

Today, I'm in a much better place. I still have my challenges, but I face them with a newfound sense of confidence and self-assuredness. I'm no longer living in constant fear of disappointing others. Instead, I'm focused on living a life that feels true to me.

If any of this resonates with you, if you find yourself constantly bending over backward to please others at the expense of your own happiness, I want you to know that change is possible. It starts with acknowledging your own worth and taking small steps towards reclaiming your life. It's a journey, but it's one that's worth taking.

Schedule a free coaching call with me to share your story and discuss what you'd like be different in your relationships and life.

I highly recommend reading the book
📚 'No More Mr. Nice Guy' by Dr. Robert Glover

📚 Take my Happy Man Coaching No More Mr. Nice Guy Course

The course includes private one-on-one coaching calls to help you understand the key concepts covered in the book, along with other important related concepts NOT covered in the No More Mr. Nice Guy book.

Until we talk again, be kind to yourself.

Much love, brother,

Charlie McKeever
Your Happy Man Coach

"The very best thing you can do for the whole world is to make the most of yourself." – Wallace D. Wattles, 1903

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Overcoming People Pleasing and Perfectionism