Kicking the people-pleasing habit

From a young age our brains are trained to meet others’ expectations, especially those of the people we look up to most. In Vishen Lakhiani’s book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, he introduces the idea of “Brules.” The “b” in front of “rules” stands for bullshit. That’s right. Let’s say it all together: bullshit rules!

How many of us are living and making our decisions based on brules that have been put on us? Brules come in many forms: limiting beliefs, societal norms, parental expectations; the list goes on. Brules are often so ingrained in our subconscious habits and behaviors that they can be challenging to bring to the surface. We don’t even notice them anymore because we’ve adopted them as absolute truth.

In Claire’s well-educated family, a common brule was that you have to get a four-year college degree to be successful. Where she grew up it was a fact just as plain and simple as “the sky is blue.” Being super-artistic, she knew that she wouldn’t fit in or be happy pursuing a four-year degree to study something that wouldn’t be a part of her future anyway. She broke the mold and went to cosmetology school instead. Tossing out that brule was painful for Claire. She felt like she disappointed a lot of well-meaning people whom she love, but now she makes great money doing what she loves.

Identifying and being aware of the brules that govern our lives allows us to move forward in multiple ways. We can toss out generational beliefs that are untrue but have still been ruling our family. We can identify other people’s and society’s expectations of us that don’t align with our own dreams or who we are really made to be. We can get back to the core of who we really are and quiet those outside voices, so we can hear our inner voices clearly.

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