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Breaking Out of People Bondage

As human beings, it's innate to want to please others. We want to make others happy with us and honestly, that's not a bad thing. However, it becomes a problem when you focus too much on what makes other people happy to the point where you are overly concerned with how people receive you. Because of this, a lot of people are in people bondage prison. It's time for a good ol' fashion prison break.

What Is People Bondage?

Just like on Prison Break, you have to get to know what you're breaking free from. So what is people bondage? People bondage is when one person is overly eager to please and or gain the approval of others by conforming to what people think is best. In other words, you're an overzealous people pleaser. Now in my humble opinion, there are two types of people bondage: classic and cliques.

Two Types Of People Bondage:

Classic people bondage is much like the definition of people bondage. You do thee absolute most trying to get someone to like you. Example: think of the classic movie Mean Girls. Gretchen Weiners was always going overboard with trying to please Regina George. So much so, that she even allowed Regina's opinions to outweigh her own desires (you know, like those expensive white gold hoops she had to return because Regina said hoops were her thing).

Now, clique people bondage is almost the inverse. In this form of people bondage, a person becomes attached to one person and/or group because they don't challenge them. This type of person thrive on the "yes men" clan. Your friend group only consists of people who tell you "yes" and only validate how you feel. Example: Regina George lol. She only hung out with The Plastics because they never challenged her as a person to grow and stretch herself in any decent way.

Pitfalls of People Bondage

In case I haven't made my point already, let's discuss some of the pitfalls to being in people bondage. People bondage can be suffocating because those who fall prey to it usually:

- Ends up agreeing with everyone

- You begin to not speaking your truth

- You lose yourself acting like the people around you

- You need praise to feel good

- You're afraid to tell people no in fear that your rejection will in turn result in them rejecting you


In a nutshell, people bondage does not establish boundaries. I cannot express how important boundaries are with any relationship you may have. Without them, people (intentionally or unintentionally) will take advantage of you. Oh look, another pitfall!

Ways to break out of people bondage:

1. Self-Affirmation

The inverse of people bondage, is being pleased with your own self. I think people end up in people bondage because they are seeking validation. The best way to counteract that is to seek validation from yourself. There's many ways to affirm yourself. My good friend Lauren compliments herself often for little things. If she wakes up when she said she was going to, it's "Girl, you did that!". If she achieved a new goal, it's "A Queen! I Stan!". It's not about being cocky or conceited. It's about not waiting for other people to give you a pat on the back. DIY! Do it yoself!

Also, there are books, quotes and youtube videos of affirmations you can use. They're just quotes of positivity that sure you up of you! You can even come up with your own affirmations. Tell yourself that you're beautiful. You're doing your best. You did a great job today. Your eyebrows are on fleek!! Shoot, even Katt Williams said you got to be in tune with your star player a.k.a. you! Because there are a lot of haters in the world, feeling good about you needs to start at home (in you).

Personally, my affirmations come from the Good Book, the Bible. Here's a few of my faves:

" The Lord will make you the head, not the tail." Deuteronomy 28:13

"in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?" Psalm 56:11

"My faith makes me whole in spirit, soul and body." Mark 5:36

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well. Psalm 134:14


2. Move In Silence

Another inverse of people bondage is to move in silence. You do not need someone to sign off on all of your ideas to make them a good idea. Not everyone will have the same vision as you, so their difference in opinions could deter you from your purpose. Also, everything does not require a verbal response. My favorite example of that is queen bey, Beyonce.

Take a moment to consider this: when have you ever seen an interview where Beyonce address any rumors we see in the blogs or hear about in the "news"? She literally says nothing at all. You know what she does instead? She grinds harder. She throws us a new album where she may address the gossip swarming around her name. She doesn't even promote her albums anymore. Her work speaks for her and yours should too!

Another thing I admire about the way Bey moves in silence is that she alone is in control of her narrative. She does not, to my knowledge, allow the opinions and pressure from others to write her story for her. Let that sink in. Being in people bondage gives people the pen to write and dictate how your story goes. Be Beyonce to the bullshit!

3. Change your circle

This one only really applies to those who are in clique people bondage. Have you heard the quote "if you're the smartest in your friend group, then you need a new set of friends"? Same deal applies here. Your inner circle should challenge you and push you to be better, even if that means stepping on your toes. Growth is uncomfortable. If it was cozy, more people would be open to it, but that ain't it chief.

Examine your inner circle. Are they challenging you or cosigning you? Only thing I want to cosign on with my inner circle in properties and businesses. Dassit. If you find yourself in a group of "yes men", consider broadening you group a little more to include people who will push you to your maximum potential. With that said, you don't have to leave those "yes" friends by the wayside. You can be friends with more than one group at a time!

4. Establish Boundaries

One of the most important tools I've used to combat people bondage is to set some boundaries. It is okay to have certain things be off limits to certain people. Establishing boundaries does more good than harm to a relationship. It creates guardrails that prevent one person from offending or overstepping the other. When you set those boundaries, do not be afraid to communicate that to people. It's perfectly fine to say, "I'm not comfortable with discussing this with you." It's open and honest to whomever you're communicating with, and it also protects you from over doing it with people.

On The Flip Side: Feedback Is Good


On the contrary to people bondage, I do think that feedback is a great thing. Let me be more specific: constructive criticism is conducive to personal growth. Feedback can come in many different forms. It can be formal, informal, actionable, developmental, etc. Be open to the feedback you're receiving but be careful not to fall back into people bondage. Here's some tools you can use to protect you from reverting:

1. Examine Intent: is this feedback meant to grow/better me as a person/performer or is this feedback coming from a malicious place? 2. Take the meat and spit our the bones: in other words- if it doesn't apply, let it fly! Not all feedback is good feedback. 3. No one is perfect: You do have room to grow. We all do. When hearing feedback, try to put yourself in their shoes to see their perspective without being quick to dismiss their feedback. Keep in mind, that you will also not be able to please everyone and that is okay! What are some ways you broke free from people bondage? Drop a comment below!

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