Do You Mold Yourself to Please Others?

An essential step in the self-growth journey is learning to love yourself regardless of what others want you to be. Do you mold yourself to please others? My beautiful sister has been living the journey of breaking the “please others mold.” Here’s a recent picture of us together (she’s the one on the right).
sisters breaking the please others mold
She’s my “baby” sister and she’s one of the bravest women I know. She just recently admitted to me and to the world that she’s spent most of her life trying to be what other people wanted instead of being true to herself. 
Let me show you another picture of her. Here she is more than five years ago in full-on please-other-people mode . . . 
Beautiful before she broke her please others mold
Thing is – she and I have very different, yet similar stories. I almost literally died trying to be thin enough to make myself lovable and she layered flesh upon herself to shield herself from her own pain – the pain of trying to be something she was not.
I’m a few years ahead of her when it comes to reclaiming my life from abuse. But she and I have always wanted to be close – even when time and circumstances didn’t allow it. Now, I get the pleasure of watching her grow. 

She is learning an essential lesson that comes from the FREE Relationship Rights Checklist that you can pick up right here:

  – You have the right to be different than your partner.
Healthy is: to think, feel and do everything in the way that’s most natural for you.
Think about what I said about my own journey to be what someone else thought was lovable to the point of threatening my health.
Think about the image of my sister with the pink hair: trying to hide her unhappiness behind her weight and a funny show.
Think about what you might have done to yourself to try to make yourself acceptable to someone else.

*************IT ALWAYS HURTS!!!!*************

What’s the alternative?

Discovering & loving who you are!

Ask yourself this question. What hurts more:

Bending yourself into shapes that don’t fit you so you can avoid your fear that
someone might not love you as you need them to?


Facing that you may not ever be perfect enough for someone who doesn’t love you as you are and making the critical decision to love yourself?
One of the problems is that we tend to think in this kind of either-or, black-or-white way. But, what if . . . 
You take the chance to get to know your unique, true self and you discover that you will get love because you are being true to yourself?
AND – What if you discover that you can be true to yourself and you find that the person you love doesn’t reject you when you bring your real self to light? What if that person loves you more because you love yourself?

Before I sign off, I want you to think about another question: What if you are like me and your tendency is to “make nice” – even when you don’t have to?

I’ve been married to a delightful man for the past five years. We are very different, yet simpatico! And I still sometimes hesitate to speak my mind – especially when we are dealing with conflict and I think my difference of opinion could hurt his feelings.
Hey – I’m a therapist, and I still remind myself sometimes that he loves me because I’m not the same as he is. 
It really is healthy to think, feel and do everything in your own, natural way.  
Practicing breaking the please-others mold requires awareness of the subtle, internal voices you generally accept as truth because they feel like truth. 
Just to recap:
  • Self-growth requires breaking the mold of pleasing others first
  • Eating disorders can be a sign that you spend too much time in pleasing-others mode
  • Understanding your Relationship Rights will move you closer to self-love within relationship
  • Self-love attracts more love

Ready to take the next step toward claiming healthy love beyond breaking the pleasing others mold? Discover the 14 Rights of a Loving Relationship and sign up for Tamara’s FREE 30-Day Relationship Rights e-Course by clicking here.

For more of Tamara’s work, please visit Tamara’s podcast can also be found on  iTunes.

© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2016 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited.


Self-Care, Long-Term PTSD and Empowered Thinking

*Note: Shortly after writing this post, I took a year off from my blog and podcast to focus on improving my emotional, spiritual and physical health. During that time, I had a health-related breakthrough that allows me to return to this work. It is my spiritual journey and my life path and I’m glad to be back. This post remains, without an associated podcast episode, because the process is as important as the end result.


What is victim mentality and how is that different from empowered thinking?

Since the beginning of my participation with the Sisters as a featured guest blogger, they have shared with me that they would like the blog to focus on empowered thinking and how to shift from the “victim mentality.”

A few weeks ago, I participated in a gathering of women and shared some of my writings. They were writings that gave voice to my inner child who had suffered abuse and offered witness to valuable survival strategies that I celebrated as I recognized my own strength and empowerment. At the end of the evening, a woman who offers “healing services” said something to me about when I am “no longer a victim.”

history of victory

“I am not a victim. No matter what I have been through, I’m still here. I have a history of victory.” Yes, that’s what I’m talking about!

Now, let me digress a bit.

For me, having a history of victory involves rooting out deeper and deeper patterns of trauma out of my body. When I discover that something affects me in a negative way, I bring a determination to understand what is happening to me so that I can heal it. My goal is ever unfolding, deeper, longer lasting experiences of joyful living.

For me and for others who experienced abuse from childhood into adulthood and up to the point where escape and healing could begin, tracks get laid deeply in the brain that undermine the search for joy. For me, those tracks in the brain were established and reinforced for 43 years!

For the last 5, I have been on a quest to untangle them and to relieve myself of:

  • Ongoing anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Worrying about what others will think of me
  • Pleasing others to the extent that I hurt myself in the process
  • Not saying what I need
  • Not taking care of myself on the “little things”
  • Aches and pains that I feared were related to chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  • Fear

Typically, to be diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there has to be a discrete event or series of events that lead to flashbacks, avoidance, etc. related to that event. But what if there were so many events over a lifetime that life becomes the trigger?

pensiveThis is when empowered mentality is about digging in. In order to heal it is essential to understand what is causing the symptoms of fear, worry, panic or self-doubt. Positive self-statements aren’t enough. What is required is a correct understanding of the cause and specifically applied corrective, self-supportive beliefs as replacements. This is hard work. And the more trauma a person has experienced, the longer the process of unraveling the trauma beliefs and self-limiting behaviors. Sometimes, that isn’t enough.

Which brings me to the question of self-care. What is it? Do you answer that question by responding with things like “time to myself” or “exercise” or trying to find life balance? How about a harder list?


Self-Care isn’t always easy

What if, in the process of listening deeply to yourself you discover that taking a bubble bath or getting enough sleep or deep breathing exercises aren’t enough?

I have recently discovered that as wonderful as my tools for healing are, they aren’t enough for me. I have a brain that has responded to trauma by acclimating. My brain would have me look at my entire life through a trauma lens. I have found my answer. With this answer, layered over my tools, I am finding greater enjoyment, relaxation and happiness than I have ever experienced before. For me, this requires empowering myself to do whatever I need to do to heal without judgement. With self-love and acceptance.

Giving myself permission to heal at deeper and deeper levels is empowerment.

After taking a 1-year hiatus from this podcast, Tamara has new perspectives about the work, what led her to stop and where her answers were found that led back to this work. In this episode, Tamara describes the journey. It is a transparent process that will illuminate the growth process and help her listeners see that we all have room to grow. Never give up. Life is a process. Growth is the process we participate in to bring our life more value.

© Tamara Bess, LMFT 2015 All Rights Reserved. Any use of this article without Tamara’s express written permission is prohibited. Tamara’s current project in her work of raising awareness and advocacy for victims of domestic violence can be found here: