The Myth of Easy-Going and Low-Maintenance


It used to be my favorite way to describe myself.

There’s no such thing as easy-going or low maintenance.

Instead, let’s call it what it is…. pretending, sucking down one’s feelings and going along, to get along.

Sometimes it’s situational. In one relationship or environment, we stand for ourselves and in another, we feel fear from dissent of being abandoned or not liked, basically fearing some form of loss….so we suck it up.

We may give into the louder person, who talks over others, and intimidates us. Whether they’re right or wrong, we might shut down, because we don’t want the confrontation. Unfortunately, those emotions have to go somewhere and usually they get piled up inside us, with all the other instances, where we let ourselves down.

Is it to be confrontational and get our way every time?

No, not at all.

It’s to be authentic and state where we are, what we truly want and not lie to ourselves and the world that we’re okay, when we’re not….especially, when others try to convince us, their way is the right way.

We all have insecurities, the person talking over us and the person sucking it in.

For me, I’ve come to find it’s easier to just admit and own em’!

Walking with confidence and owning our flaws, or fears–they cease to rule us.

It’s not to convince other people, they have a problem, it’s a fruitless conversation, unless they possess self-awareness and want to change for themselves.

We find people to do the dance with us.

Some people I work with have a partner, who they allow to convince them that their own value system is wrong, while this mate is right. On the surface it appears they’re in agreement, while underneath it, my client is suffering. This suffering affects their perception, which affects their actions.

People who tell me they’re easy-going are usually holding back on what they really want–they’re afraid to be authentic. Torturing themselves to convince those who matter, it’s all okay. BUT….In other situations, where loss isn’t important, they’re authentic.

At some point, pretending creates dissension and drama–we don’t get what we want. Even if someone sticks around through our giving up of who we are, it’ll feel empty.

Higher maintenance means we aren’t seeking validation from another; we don’t need to live up to their standards or what is inauthentic….we get to accept ourselves without feeling compromised inside.

Professionally or personally, ground rules for engagement are important.


Some have no boundaries.

It may seem easier to be a doormat–then everyone will like us and think we’re wonderful, except there’s a cost to us.

In stating our truth, there’s no expectation to get our way over another, it’s to create a place of safe discourse, in which expression is key. We can choose in honesty. “I don’t want to, but I’ll do it” or “I don’t want to, and I’m not doing it.”

If we don’t express truth, to appease someone else, we have to live with that shitty feeling of lacking courage and self-love.

We’re all flawed beings, full of insecurities and greatness.

Lacking confidence, we may try our damnedest to cover up insecurities; resulting in bullying others, or being the quiet one or the people-pleaser.

When I proudly wore the low maintenance label, I didn’t want to make a decision. I’d let someone else choose, and I’d have a problem with it, yet I kept quiet and went along. I’d build resentment, but I didn’t want to lose anyone.

Lying to ourselves and others….creates a vicious circle, of more lies and non-acceptance of who we are….and what will stop it?

It might leave others scratching their heads when the eventual truth comes out!

Pretending is not okay.

People do this for years, thinking something will change. They don’t want to develop boundaries, so they’ll say…“I’ll pretend until this situation blows over.” Meanwhile, they’re angry inside and may act out in a variety of destructive ways.

If we want to be treated differently, we must treat ourselves differently first.

We must question the value we place on others, over the love for ourselves. An authentic relationship, is characterized by withstanding the storms, without pretending and placing honesty with love as a main value.

Being higher maintenance means strong boundaries, BASED on who we are and our self-respect.

Change and What We Really Truly Want–Can It Be?

Seasons Change

In my line of work, people show up on my doorstep ‘wanting’ change in their lives.

We talk about it, perhaps they even sign up for some mentoring sessions. What happens next is indicative of how committed this person is to change.

How much do we really want change?

Some of my clients, past and present, are just looking for a new way to manipulate others and their environment, so they don’t really have to change.

Others are so committed to taking action and yet, still refrain from moving too fast, or too much in the direction they truly want to go….and so, a tremendous amount of push and pull exists inside of each one.

It’s not that there’s something wrong with an individual….it’s how deeply we’re in fear of the unknown and how committed we are to struggle, sacrifice and expectations.

If a person is ‘really’ desiring change, it helps to have someone like me to provide a flashlight into the darkness; a different perspective and accountability (though not as an authority figure, because it’s not about inspiring MORE guilt).

What does all this mean?

Change is a bitch. We can wallow in pain, commit to struggle–hoping we’ll win the battle; the biggest obstacle to change is we get caught up in our own and others’ expectations…and thrive on that validation. In the case of the unknown, we don’t know what will happen if we change;  we cannot control the circumstances, so we stay right where we are…..and wake up each day with a sense of safety and feeling crappy at the same time.

I know this paradox, I’ve found myself there before….and felt I couldn’t relinquish certain things, until I had enough pain, enough struggle and in turn, no longer gave a shit what I would lose or what the unknown would provide….I was just ready for different….better….and to really live my truth.

Many of us will just complain or think ‘this is just how I am’ and stay there until our last day.

Our truth is who we are beneath all the beliefs, we developed over the years.

We started our life in that truth.

We were exposed to an environment and gave the words/actions of others in those early years, ‘meaning’.

Whether we observed their interactions with others, or how we were treated and then we decided (because we have an innate physiology to belong) to ‘act’ in ways that would bring us love, attention, validation, etc…we developed these strategies and figured they were a part of us. “I will bring home straight A’s, because I get attention, love and validation. I will rebel, because I don’t want to end up like my Mom or Dad.” And so on.

We carry this forth and create new beliefs on top of these flimsy beliefs. We re-create the same situations over and over, because it’s how we learned to survive. These beliefs make our worlds smaller the older we get.

Reading my words and others, self-help books, etc….can help to light the spark, but it only takes us so far.

Many of us will just keep reading words we agree with, which make us feel better for a moment and yet, won’t do anything that scares us (by taking action) to commit to what we say we want.  We hold back. We find that the comfort zone of being stuck is good enough for now, we can keep surviving it.

We may start working with a coach, mentor or therapist and drop after a few sessions, thinking ‘we got this’ or nothing is working (NOTHING WILL WORK, IF WE ‘OURSELVES’ TAKE NO ACTION) and the truth is it’s our own resistance. It’s what we’re willing to risk through taking different action; it’s how we’re willing to be open to our own happiness and it’s that we can handle the loss that it will surely bring.

What if we change so much and our partner stays the same? Is the relationship done?

Loss is not always in the form of another person leaving; it may be the disappointment we feel others will have, because we’ve let them down. Fearing loss of validation for the ‘self’ we built to be accepted and loved; it’s the loss of this facade we fear, because who will we be then?

Many of us have carefully constructed personas…the perfect family man, the exceptional business woman, the good mom, the single guy, the marrying type, etc… and as miserable as we’re in the roles ‘we’ created, we’ll stay in resistance to any change to them, until the pain of living in it, exceeds the pain and fear of change.

To change we have to commit, it’s not a matter of getting others on board. We are responsible for ourselves, period.

We need help in getting there, real help–but we have to be open to it.

If we’re going to argue and be resistant to someone helping us, then we’re not ready (so don’t do it), because we can’t hear and seek approval that we’re perfect where we are, therefore we resist help. We’re too smart to be unaware, or missing something. We know it all. And if this is the case, why are we stuck? Why do we try to portray something we don’t feel deep down inside?

Because change is scary and admitting that we have a problem with how we live is even scarier.

We can do it on our own, but it’s a longer and harder road…..(I’ve done it alone and believed “I’m so transformative, I’m so enlightened, etc…”) and it’s harder to call bullshit on ourselves.

In planning new year’s resolutions, please keep asking: “How committed am I to change?” “How committed am I to losing control of this image, of possible relationships, of how others perceive me?” “How uncomfortable am I willing to be, because I have to TAKE ACTION, not just read or think about it?”

And if we cannot answers those questions, in 100% commitment, then we’re just not ready to really go where we want…….yet. There’s no linear path, there’s no accountability, there’s no beating ourselves up to provide an answer. It really comes back to the pain of where we are right now NOT outweighing the pain/fear of where we want to be…..