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Cure your fear of disappointing people | Mel Robbins

- So the question is, if you're somebody

that lives in the fear of disappointing people,

how do you find the trigger

that had you start doing it in the first place?

(lively music)

I'm gonna share with you a story about

how I figured it out, and then I'm gonna give you

some advice about how you can think about it.

Then I want to say a few other things

about the fear of disappointing people

because this is, I believe,

the single biggest factor for most people

that robs them of success,

that you use what other people might say or think

or be disappointed by as an excuse

to not fully be yourself,

to not fully go after what you want.

So first let me talk about triggers

because I believe that for most of us

the habit, and I use the word habit

because habit just means that it's a pattern.

We have a pattern where we fear disappointing people

and then that triggers us to operate in certain ways.

That pattern began a very long time ago

and I think it's safe to say that for 99% of us

you can find where it began somewhere in your childhood.

It probably doesn't matter than you find the first,

because you probably have 150 examples of being

terrified that your dad was gonna scream at you

or terrified that your mom was going to get cold

and get that tone of voice,

or terrified that somebody was gonna be upset with you.

Because the fear of disappointing people really

has more to do about being in trouble with somebody, right?

So for me, I know the moment because it was

a really defining moment for me,

but I didn't remember it until I was 27.

What happened is I had a memory of being

in a group environment during a seminar,

somebody was sharing about being a sexual abuse survivor,

and she was talking about her sister,

and all of a sudden I had this memory triggered

where I remembered being in the fourth grade

and I remember being on a ski trip

with my family and a couple other families,

and I remembered waking up in the middle of the night

with an older kid on top of me.

Now it wasn't a terrifying sexual abuse story,

it was more confusing to remember it.

He did what he did and then he got off of me

and I remember my brother was sleeping

in the bed next to me, in the bunkbed,

and I remember thinking in that moment,

"Oh my god, don't make a noise,

"I don't want this person to hurt Derek."

So fast forward to the morning, all the kids leave to ski,

I'm kind of like underneath the covers

and I get out, I go downstairs,

and as I go downstairs I hear my mom talking in the kitchen.

And I think, "I gotta tell her, I gotta tell her,

"I gotta tell her, I gotta tell her."

So I'm in fourth grade, I round the corner,

my mother's there with another mom and there's the kid.

And my mom goes, "How'd you sleep?"

And I said, "Fine."

What's interesting is what, a fourth grader's brain,

I mean my mom's not gonna be upset with me.

She might have gotten upset alright

if I had said, not at me.

There was this moment where I remember it now

like that. (fingers snap)

And you don't have to come up with the moment

because I guarantee you, you've got a hundred of them

where you have a bad report card,

or you broke something, or Mom or Dad drank

and you heard them pull in and you felt

the anxiety coming in and you went into a mode

where you became quiet because

you don't want to upset somebody.

It was just this mode where I so knew in that moment

that I needed a strategy to avoid a scene,

does that make sense?

Because that's what you're doing

when you are not disappointing people.

You are avoiding making a scene, or having them do one.

Does that resonate a little bit?

Okay, good.

So you can go to the root cause,

because what I discovered in that moment

in realizing holy cow, at the age of nine

I made a decision not to tell the truth,

that I would just make up what I thought

would make the situation okay.

What's interesting is I can take that one decision

and roll the clock forward until the age of

literally like 27, it probably took me even longer

to about 35, 40 even, to stop lying.

The fear of disappointment for me turned me into a liar

and I didn't even realize it because

I was so worried about creating a scene

or upsetting people, or having people judge me,

that I started lying as a strategy.

I invented it as a fourth grader.

I didn't work in my life, it made every relationship suck.

It made me miserable, but that's what happened.

So when you think about your pattern

of being afraid of disappointing people,

of managing not making a scene,

you don't need to find the exact trigger when it began.

If you find just one and you understand kind of

how old were you and what did you feel,

and what were you trying to manage?

And then for me, what I say to myself is,

"Oh, well I have a lot of empathy for myself now

"because I understand why I developed that strategy."

And now that I saw that it was a strategy that worked,

because lying really worked when I was little,

not so much when I was an adult.

When I understand the strategy I can now say,

"Oh, well that's a strategy that worked then,

"now that I'm in this chapter of my life

"I'm gonna pick a different strategy."

Does that help? Okay, great.