In this exercise, you were asked to identify the statements that you agreed with. As a follow-up and ‘answer sheet’, I’ve put together a top line and underlying belief. Use the statements you did agree with as a springboard for further exploration. Consider where your belief comes from, whether it’s ‘accurate’ or factual, and what the benefit is to believing as well as the cost. You will be working on your beliefs in the coming weeks.
It’s not OK to say no to people you love or who claim to love you.
Top line belief: Love is saying or showing yes at all times and I’m afraid that if I don’t, love will be taken away.
Underlying belief: When people say no to me, it means that they don’t love me anymore because if I’m saying or showing yes all of the time, even when I don’t want to, they should be prepared to do that for me.
I need to please a person most or all of the time in order to be loved and approved of.
Top line belief: Love and approval are conditional and can be withdrawn if I’m not satisfactory or more, most or all of the time.
Underlying belief: I cannot hold onto a person’s love and approval if I put a foot wrong and fail to live up to some standard that I’ve trumped up in my imagination.
If a person isn’t pleasing me, it’s because I’m not pleasing them enough.
Top line belief: What others be and do around and for me is about whether I’ve demonstrated that I’m worthy of their best / better self.
Underlying belief: If I were good enough, people would do as I need, want, and expect…even if it’s outside their typical behaviour and values.
If I put aside my needs, expectations, wants, opinions and feelings to please a person more, they will (and should) appreciate me more.
Top line belief: I’m putting myself out for others with my pleasing and even if what I’m doing isn’t healthy it should be appreciated (read: shown in their behaviour and perception of me as pleasing).
Underlying belief: What I do is what others should be willing to give back.
If I’m pleasing, I should be appreciated, which means that there’s no reason for the person in question to leave or disapprove of me.
Top line belief: If I please a person, they should feel obliged to show their appreciation through staying and validating me. I’m showing my loyalty and they should show theirs in a similar way.
Underlying belief: I cannot or at least shouldn’t be abandoned if I’m doing good things for somebody and they definitely should go easy on the criticism.
If I get things wrong, I will get into trouble.
Top line belief: Making mistakes is bad and displeasing so I must try to avoid getting things wrong.
Underlying belief: If I make mistakes, people will respond to me in the way in which parents/caregivers/previous authority have.
If I’m suppressing my needs, expectations, wishes, opinions and feelings so that I can prioritise those of another party, there’s no need for that person to look elsewhere.
Top line belief: Pleasing is a deterrent or at least should be a deterrent to a person having to look elsewhere.
Underlying belief: If I’m pleasing enough, even somebody who is uncommitted or shady will and should stick around.
I am willing to overlook code amber and red behaviour and issues as a means of gaining favour with a person.
Top line belief:
I am loving unconditionally and pleasing when I’m willing to stay and put up with all sorts of behaviour and issues.
Top line belief: Pleasing will and should create an obligation to behave decently.
Underlying belief: Pleasing as a demonstration of love cancels out everything. I accept whoever they are and whatever they do as a demonstration of my love. If I can’t accept it, I deny it to maintain the status quo.
If you love someone, you shouldn’t criticise or disappoint.
Top line belief: If I give feedback or don’t always meet a person’s hopes and expectations, this is a sign that I’m not being loving and pleasing enough.
Underlying belief: If somebody loves me, they shouldn’t criticise and disappoint and if they do, it’s because I’m not good enough and they are rejecting me.
I please because I believe that it builds up credits against my flaws. If I’m not pleasing all or most of the time, my flaws will be more apparent and less acceptable.
Top line belief: By pleasing people all or most of the time, they will overlook my flaws and find me more acceptable.
Underlying belief: I must please at all times to hide who I am. I am such a terrible person that I have to please to prove that I’m acceptable enough to be around or loved.
If I don’t please, I will be left out, ignored, or overlooked for somebody else.
Top line belief: When I feel left out, ignored or I perceive that I’m being overlooked, it’s because I failed to be pleasing enough. I’ve done something to piss them off or show that I’m not worthy.
Underlying belief: Please at all times or I will be rejected.
It doesn’t matter about what I think, feel, or want when I’m on dates – I’m only concerned with whether I’m pleasing my date enough.
Top line belief: If I’m pleasing a date enough, they will want to continue dating me.
Underlying belief: I need to please a person in order to be considered for a relationship whereas for me to be in a relationship with them, all they have to do is choose me so that I feel worthy from being chosen.
I listen to what people say and try to read their behaviour and imagine their needs, expectations, and wants, so that I can figure out how best to please them and adapt my persona accordingly.
Top line belief: In order to please, I need to anticipate or imagine people’s needs etc and then accommodate them to the best of my abilities.
Underlying belief: It’s not important to understand my own needs etc or to be me; I’ll be more valuable if I’m pleasing others. I don’t matter.
I want to be perceived as a good person. This is critical to me.
Top line belief: My value is in how others perceive me.
Underlying belief: If I don’t think that I’m perceived as being a good person, it means that there’s somethign wrong with me and that I’m not good enough.
When people disappoint me and life doesn’t go as I expect, I keep wondering why, when I’m such a good person and always trying to please others.
Top line belief: Disappointment happens to me because for some reason, I’m not enough.
Underlying belief: I can control how much disappointment I experience through being perceived as being pleasing.
People who speak their mind are aggressive.
Top line belief: Speaking my mind makes me a bad and forceful person.
Underlying belief: If I speak my mind, I am trying to force people to do what I want.
It’s important to agree with people even if I don’t.
Top line belief: Agreeing with people is pleasing and right – it’s better to fit in.
Underlying belief: My opinions and feelings don’t matter.
Asking for what you want, saying what your needs, expectations, and wishes are is rude.
Top line belief: It’s selfish to express or represent my needs, expectations and wishes.
Underlying belief: It’s wrong for me to have needs etc and because I’m willing to hold back, others should too.
Having boundaries and standards is uppity / rude / aggressive.
Top line belief: If I assert my boundaries and have standards, it will appear selfish and forceful.
Underlying belief: If I don’t have boundaries and standards, I will be a good person and be pleasing and accepting.
I like conflict to end as quickly as possible and will do whatever it takes to make it disappear.
Top line belief: Being pleasing keeps conflict at bay and prevents true opinions and feelings from being expressed, which might bring about negative consequences.
Underlying belief: All conflict is bad – if it happens, it’s because I’ve displeased in some way. I don’t want to be privy to their opinions and feelings in case I cannot change them with pleasing.
I tend to feel responsible for maintaining the morale with romantic partners, family, friends, coworkers etc.
Top line belief: It’s my job to please everybody and improve the mood because if they’re feeling bad then I’m feeling bad but I can also feel good from being the one to change their mood.
Underlying belief: My value is pleasing others. That and I’m worried, that I’m the cause of an issue.
If someone is in a bad mood, I automatically wonder if it’s got something to do with me, even if logically and rationally, this is impossible.
Top line belief: I’ve done something to piss them off otherwise they would be able to restrain their mood around me.
Underlying belief: If somebody is unhappy around me than it must be something to do with me. I have displeased them in some way.
If someone is in a bad mood, I go into pleasing overdrive so that I know that I’ve at least pleased them so their mood shouldn’t be caused by me anymore… even if it wasn’t in the first place.
Top line belief: If I please people then they have no reason to find fault with me.
Underlying belief: I feel good from improving their mood and it’s brought me some credit – they should appreciate me more.
If I’ve been doing stuff to please somebody (even if it’s to my cost), I don’t think it’s fair that they should find fault with me.
Top line belief: If I please others, they should overlook my flaws or anything they perceive as me having done to piss them off.
Underlying belief: If I’m prepared to put up with all sorts of stuff and give, help, etc, the other party at the very least owes me their silence on issues with me. It’s not fair that I should be doing all of this stuff and that they then get to say and do as they would to somebody who isn’t half as pleasing and accommodating as I am.
Behind a lot if not all of my pleasing activities, are ulterior motives even though I don’t necessarily realise it at the time.
Top line belief: If I give, I should receive.
Underlying belief: If I were upfront about my motives, it might alienate people but if I’m pleasing, they will feel loving and approving enough to want to do these things for me.
I know that I have hidden expectations and agendas but I feel that since I try so hard to please that it’s not a bad thing, after all, people get so much from me.
Top line belief: If I give, I should receive.
Underlying belief: If I’m doing all of this stuff for others, they should feel obliged to give to me, after all, it’s the decent thing to do. Nobody does anything out of the goodness of their heart. It’s normal to expect something back.
In the past, I’ve offered to do things for people who have pissed me off, let me down, or who don’t even like me, because I want them to like / admire / approve of me so that they will change their perception and behaviour towards me.
Top line belief: I obviously wasn’t pleasing enough back then so if I be and do this stuff now, whatever it is that has held back their approval of me will stop/change.
Underlying belief: People who don’t like me, piss me off, or who are in fact shady will change their attitude and perception if they’re pleased enough. Something about me wasn’t enough and they clearly didn’t get to appreciate who I am or what I can do for them so I’ll show them.
I assume if I’m asked to do something that it must be because it’s normal, even if it actually feels quite uncomfortable or is in fact outrageous and crossing my boundaries.
Top line belief: If they asked for it, it’s because it’s OK.
Underlying belief: People only asks for things that are normal and/or they’re entitled to get. It’s not OK for me to say no.
I claim naivety about people’s behaviour and make / assume the truth of generalisations to make squash down concerns and my true feelings. Example: ‘Oh this is what men / women do’.
Top line belief: If I pretend that I don’t feel as I do, this will make the behaviour of others OK and in turn I will remain pleasing.
Underlying belief: My feelings don’t matter. Maybe I have things wrong and I’m the odd one out on this issue? Am I being too sensitive or distrusting?
If somebody makes a request, I must say yes or find a way to accommodate it even if it’s unreasonable because if I don’t, I’ll make them feel bad or they’ll think badly of me.
Top line belief: Saying no, even to unreasonable requests, is bad.
Underlying belief: When people say no to me, even if it’s within their right, it’s unreasonable. If I were worthy enough they’d find a way to accommodate me instead of making me feel bad.
I assume that if I’m being asked to do something that I must be the only one who can meet the request or that they feel that it should be me.
Top line belief: People only ask the person who is most suited to the request or who they’d prefer. I’m valuable when I’m needed.
Underlying belief: My feelings, needs etc, don’t matter. If I say no, I will appear selfish. I should be flattered that they asked, even if I’m not or it’s a poor request.
If someone refuses a request, it means they don’t like me.
Top line belief: People should always say yes.
Underlying belief: I only get no’s from people who have determined that I’m not good enough to get a yes.
My needs are not as important as others.
Top line belief: It’s selfish to have needs.
Underlying belief: I’m not good enough. I’m not as worthy as others.
I have no right to ask.
Top line belief: It’s selfish and rude to have expectations, wants, and needs of others.
Underlying belief: It’s wrong for me to make requests because I don’t have that right due to not being good enough.
I have no right to expect that.
Top line belief: I’m being demanding and needy by expecting that. I’m encroaching on another person’s rights.
Underlying belief: I don’t have a right to boundaries or to expect that standards or certain hopes and expectations will be met because I’m not good enough.
If I ask / say what I really want to, they’ll think that I’m bossy / uppity / rude.
Top line belief: Being honest and upfront is rude. It will put people out and make them uncomfortable.
Underlying belief: I think that people who are honest and upfront with their feelings and opinions are bossy / uppity / rude. They make me feel uncomfortable…. because I find hide my feelings and opinions to fit in.
I’d rather give in and avoid the conflict.
Top line belief: Giving in neutralises and eliminates conflict.
Underlying belief: I must be the one to back down because I’m not good enough or I’m likely to be the source of the issue. Even if I haven’t done anything, if I don’t give in, it will expose me to opinions, feelings, conflict etc, and I’m afraid of this.
Expressing anger will only make it worse.
Top line belief: Holding back anger makes it better.
Underlying belief: When people express anger, bad consequences happen. If I express anger, I will lose their love and approval.
If I get angry, bad things will happen to me.
Top line belief: I must hold back my anger to remain in control of my life. Expressing anger is bad.
Underlying belief: It’s better not to express my feelings and opinions because every time I do, I’m abandoned or rejected.
Getting back at others indirectly and without their knowledge is better than being direct.
Top line belief: Expressing anger will only make it worse and it’s better to demonstrate my pleasure covertly and with obstructionist and other passive aggressive behaviour.
Underlying belief: I cannot express my feelings and opinions because it will only make it worse. At least by doing it covertly, I get to feel better without the drama. I get to feel more in control. Every time I express anger, all it does is prove that I shouldn’t have bothered in the first place.