Too many of us mistake suffering for love. In fact, some of us mistake suffering for proof we’re a Good Person. It’s as if we don’t value someone or feel that we’re worthy and doing ‘enough’ unless we’re struggling and straining.

We’ve been socially conditioned to believe that dating and progressing into a relationship means force-feeding someone our affections, no matter how badly they behave or even how much we’ve stopped truly wanting them. We think people pleasing is how we earn the right to be loved. I’ve done all the right things and suffered! How dare you not love me!

This suffering mentality causes us to stand by a partner, no matter how humiliated, marginalised and neglected we might be. We believe it’s what love is all about, even though it means we have nothing left for ourselves. Sometimes we’lll campaign like a telemarketer who’s doggedly focused on overcoming objections and we’ll make ourselves into a doormat and break our proverbial back in the process.

Pain is not love; it’s pain. You don’t need to hurt to love, as if the greater the bleeding, the greater the love. You need to love to love. 

Discover the five styles of people pleasing, inclouding suffering, in my book The Joy of Saying No. I show you how to reclaim yourself from the cycle of people pleasing so you can say yes to the life you want.

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