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When flexible becomes too flexible - by Farida El Ghandour, MSc.

Many of us romanticize the idea of being a flexible person so much that we start confusing it with being a people pleaser. Growing up in environments in which we were constantly made to feel like a burden, can have several effects on our personality and the way we carry ourselves. This could make us so focused on not wanting to be a burden or an inconvenience to anyone to a point where we end up denying ourselves and our needs. And the worst part is, we do this thinking it is a good quality that means, we are flexible and easy going. But unfortunately, it is a very fine line between wanting to be a pleasant company or a light person and shrinking ourselves to please other people.

Being flexible is a good trait to have as a person, but it needs to be accompanied by the right boundaries for it not to be harmful. It is very easy to slip into people pleasing behaviours thinking you are just being easy going and nice.

Flexibility: what it does and doesn’t mean

Being flexible means, you are adaptable and know how to stay functional and pivot amongst distractions.

Being flexible doesn’t mean constantly putting other people’s needs above yours.

Being flexible doesn’t mean bending to someone’s will against yours.

Being flexible doesn’t mean saying yes when you want to say no.

Being flexible doesn’t mean eating at an expensive restaurant when you can’t afford it just because that is what everyone in the groups wants.

Being flexible doesn’t mean putting your needs aside.

Being flexible doesn’t mean putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation to please someone else.

Flexible and too flexible aren’t the same thing!

By being too flexible, you slowly create a power dynamic in your relationships.

By being too flexible you risk your comfort, happiness and wellbeing!

It is always a good think to try and accommodate and make other people comfortable, but we need to be very aware of not falling into the trap of becoming too flexible.

These questions can help as a guide for you if you tend to present yourself as too flexible

1- Am I comfortable in this decision I just made?

2- Are my needs met in this relationship?

3- Does this person give back to me?

4- Do I always end up compromising or is it mutual?

5- Why did I say yes to this thing/person?

6- Did I really want to do this or was I just trying to avoid upsetting the other person?


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