“When I come home in the evening, I load it on Hans …”
Annelies has a coaching practice, and she puts a lot of time and energy into it. She’s always ready for her team members and clients. In addition, she has a family to whom she gives love and attention. All in all, she has a very beautiful, complete life. Yet she is not satisfied, and something is always gnawing at her. Work and family take so much time that she hasn’t yet fulfilled her greatest dream: writing a book.
Many people recognize themselves in the example above, I imagine. That’s the first misconception about realizing one’s own potential. But there are more. In this blog I collected them for you. Of course, I also give you a way to solve this dissatisfaction. But first the misconceptions:
1. I am the only one who feels this
By studying Transactional Analysis (TA), you soon discover that you’re not the only one who experiences similar feelings in their life. In TA we even have a model for it: the mini script model.
Briefly the theory that goes with this model:
Driver: The norms and values that we received from home: working hard for others, having to achieve a lot, making sure that others are satisfied. If you succeed, you feel good. You get compliments: “Well done. Thank you.” These values make you feel good and happy in your family of origin.
Stopper: Here come the things that you deny yourself and sacrifice to make sure that you’re liked by others: your self-development; your creativity. In Annelies’ example, it’s writing a book. Sacrificing these things isn’t bad! We just don’t feel so good about it.
Blamer: You also play this role yourself: you blame yourself (and others) for not developing yourself, because you always have to do things for others.
Desperate: If you deny yourself things, it doesn’t feel right in the long run. It continues to gnaw at you, like Annelies’ example. In that case you can become hopeless or depressed. We all have our favourite bad feeling; you can read more about this in this blog: Bad feelings and what you can learn from that.
By studying this model, you’ll discover that your way of thinking is very common and occurs in many people. It’s a recognizable system. We can all be very mean and unreasonable to ourselves. Only knowledge sometimes helps to put your feelings into perspective.
2. It’s crazy that I load this on my partner
Let me reassure you right away. No, that’s not bad at all. With our partner (or good friend, or whoever is close to you) we feel completely at home and we dare to be ourselves. That also means showing your frustration and showing that you are disappointed in yourself. Conversely: If you read this as a partner, then it is actually a compliment that you get the blame 😉
Moreover, it’s not surprising to feel guilty about the fact that we were angry with our partner and that we actually know that our behaviour is unreasonable.
3. I am not to blame for not realizing my own potential
This is going to be a tough one. It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility. Why? Because you are the one who makes the choice not to work on your own project. You can come up with 1001 reasons for that. It is easy for Annelies to say to Hans: “I didn’t work on my book because I had to do the dishes for you.” Very understandable. But if you look at it honestly, she could also have asked, “Do you want to do the dishes tonight, because I want to spend an hour on my book?” Or, to a client: “No, I don’t have time today to meet with you, because I am working on my own project.”
4. We have to work less hard for others
Many clients who are struggling with this problem say to me: If a customer says to me: ‘Thank you, well done,’ it really makes my day. It’s the only thing that goes well. The only bright spot! You want to take that away from me, by saying that I have to work on my own project.
Nothing is less true. It is only important to acknowledge that we need that self-development and that we must allow ourselves that. It is terribly difficult, because by making time for yourself, you automatically save less time for making others happy. So you miss a bit of the appreciation that you get from others, which makes you feel happy.
And now, Linda?
Did you recognize the example of Annelies? And do you encounter the same challenges? Then I invite you to seek the balance in your own life, between making others happy and developing yourself. Transactional Analysis can help you with this. Soon I’ll give a 2-day introduction to TA, (in Dutch) in which you:
- learn to understand yourself better
- learn to communicate more effectively
- achieve a better balance
- learn models that you can immediately apply to your work and life.