Quit the ‘Yes’ Trap: Ditch People Pleasing and Be You! (Embrace Your True Authentic Green)
Today, recently I shared a story on the podcast Superself episode 8—this story, a parable of sorts, was graciously shared with me by a dear friend – a wise and perceptive shaman who possessed an extraordinary knack for understanding people’s deepest needs.
A number of years ago he found me in deep introspection, he sensed (I don’t know how) my inner struggle and shared this tale, which I have since considered one of the greatest gifts in my life. Over the years I have shared a version of this with clients, friends, and strangers all over the globe…and now I am sharing it with you.
Unveiling the Three Colors:
Let’s use three colors to explore this story: yellow, orange, and green. Intrigued? Let’s delve into the meaning behind each color.
The Yellow Version: Holding Back Our Authenticity:
Often, we find ourselves withholding parts of who we are, striving to please others and make them more comfortable. We put on a façade, fearing that our true selves may be unacceptable, unlikable, or judged as being too much or not enough. We say “yes” when we mean “no”, we avoid setting or protecting our boundaries, and we smile when we feel anything but happy.
This version, the yellow one, represents an inner compromise—a diluted portrayal of our essence. By showing up as this palatable version of ourselves, we risk losing touch with our whole selves, and our self-perception suffers as we become disconnected from who we really are. If there anything about this description of yellow that you recognize within yourself?
The Green Version: Liberating Our True Nature:
We need not remain confined to the yellow version of ourselves. We have the power to show up authentically, embracing our full selves—this is what it means to be green.
It requires being visible, expressing our opinions without reservation, and accepting ourselves wholly. We say what we mean, we express ourselves in whatever ways feel like our true self, we focus on what we need to make us feel like ourselves rather than what others want from us.
When we are yellow we avoid showing up as our true selves for fear of rejection or judgment, but the green version is the most vibrant and genuine expression of who we are, and we know ourselves clearly and this benefits a positive relationship with ourselves.
Showing up yellow is a way to judge and reject yourself.
Showing up green is a way to respect and accept yourself.
The Orange Perception: Letting Go of Others’ Opinions:
So why do we avoid being green when it is the pathway to great things? We often lose sight of ourselves because we fear rejection, criticism and disapproval. This is represented in the color orange.
While we can show up as orange for ourselves and engage in self rejection and loathing, most commonly, we are concerned with others being orange for us. So we obsess over being liked and accepted by everyone, dreading the orange color—that which represents those who don’t understand, like, or appreciate us.
However, my wise friend urges us to realize that those who feel orange about us simply aren’t our people. It’s like marmite or cilantro, you love it, or you hate it. People can work so hard to stay yellow to avoid others finding them orange, and for what?
The Quest for Authenticity: Embracing the Green:
My friend posed the question: “What is the most important thing in life?”
The answer: GET RID OF YELLOW.
Think about that for a moment. What would it mean in your life if you elimiated all the ways you are being yellow?
This means relinquishing people-pleasing tendencies, finding the courage to speak our truth, and letting go of the self-oppression that stifles our authentic selves. By doing so, we open ourselves up to a life filled with joy, passion, and profound self-acceptance.
Living Life in Full Bloom:
Being green extends beyond the ways we feel about ourselves, or how others respond to us; it’s a way of living in alignment with our values and aspirations.
When we choose authenticity, we forge deep connections and minimize regrets. Regrets often stem from moments when we wished we had spoken up or taken risks but held back for fear of standing out. These are the moments we abandon our green selves.
In reality, there are few people that are orange for us, and many more who are delighted to be green. Now let’s say you try this, and you notice someone is being orange about you…great news! Sounds odd, but that indicates that you no longer showing up yellow. You will be gaining more fans (green), but a few people won’t like it.
Discovering the Power of Green:
As I reflect on this concept, I’ve witnessed its transformative power in the lives of others. For instance, one woman I coached had been approaching her hobby of running with a yellow mindset—simply going through the motions. But when she embraced the idea of being green, it revolutionized her experience. She redefined what made each run a green one, injecting enthusiasm and purpose into her workouts and increasing her enjoyment and commitment.
This client taught me to recognize that being green was a way of life, not just a way of showing up.
Be green in all that you do.
Embracing the Green in All Areas of Life:
Applying this principle to different aspects of life amplifies its impact. Consider the relationships you cultivate—choose friends who appreciate and support your green self, just as you do for them. Imagine if the people you chose to spend social time with were all fans for you (green) and you them…I wonder how much more appealing it would be to spend time together?
Consider how managing your time, energy, and finances from a green perspective can bring newfound fulfillment and better outcomes?
Liberation through Acceptance:
By embracing our green selves, we liberate ourselves from the opinions and judgments of others. We grant ourselves permission to attract those who resonate with our authenticity, while others may remain orange or yellow. This freedom and newfound confidence are truly empowering.
It’s a process, and after many years of working on it, I have come to see it as part of the Superself Process, it is something to work on throughout life.
As you journey through life, I invite you to contemplate how much yellow you’ve allowed into your world. Take a moment to evaluate your relationships, activities, and choices. Which ones ignite the green within you? Challenge yourself to embrace authenticity in all its vibrant hues and watch as your life blossoms in remarkable ways.
Rachel Moore is a personal coach in the greater Seattle area. She works with clients all over the globe and is host of the Superself podcast.