If you’ve ever stayed in a relationship well past its sell-by date, or kept trying to return and then felt aggrieved about how the other party hurt you and didn’t change, you’ve taken what you did and labelled it as something they were doing to you. This isn’t to say they played no part, though. However, you projected onto them rather that fear of facing your own feelings, thoughts, actions, and choices.
A similar thing occurs when you’re self-critical and imagine others are thinking, feeling, and saying certain things about you. In reality, these perceptions represent your opinions. Another example: attempting to meet your needs by doing things ‘for others’ that in truth reflect what you need and want. And, yes, this is people pleasing.
Anything that distances you from your feelings blocks you from being available for a loving relationship.
You also risk making yourself into a martyr, adhering rigidly to rules and stories masquerading as principles, regardless of the cost. If you don’t know where you end and others begin, you won’t know where fear ends and love begins either.
For more on authentic, loving relationships, check out my book Love, Care, Trust and Respect.