If you are the kind of person who is always nice, regardless of your experiences with others, it is possible that you are neglecting your own feelings and sense of self-worth. When you go along to get along, you are, letting yourself down, and because your feelings of disappointment, anger, and anxiety have to go somewhere, they may find a home within you. This leads to a certain kind of sadness and even depression, that can make you leak emotional energy and feel powerless.

Submissive behavior, agreeable behavior, and accommodating behavior, when inauthentic, distances you from your own feelings. It takes a lot of creative energy to suppress your feelings, and when you do, you are using that energy in a negative way. On the other hand, if you get in touch with your feelings and reflect on your behavior, you can release all of that creative energy, which will return back to you. This is how people transition and renew themselves, while experiencing a rebirth or transformation in their emotional lives.

We all draw into our emotional sphere people who let us do what we know how to do from our family of origin… because we are still trying to get it right. But any relationship that isn’t mutual, that isn’t committed, obligated, and responsible in a mutual way, is out of balance and unhealthy. The Dalai Lama once said, “It’s bad Karma to let other people hurt you. It’s bad for them and for you.” Therefore, it is important to recognize when your relationships are one-sided and when you are constantly in the position of serving another.

There are some things you can do to be balanced and comfortable with yourself, as well as with others:

  1. Know yourself. Acknowledge and recognize your true feelings. Some ways to do this are through down time, journaling, meditating, yoga – think time in rather than do time out.
  2. Be authentic in your relationships with others. The Dalai Lama said to me in the year 2000, “only be with people who value you and validate you.” The best way to be compassionate toward others is to first be compassionate with yourself. The Ten Commandments tell us, “love thy neighbor as thyself…” thus, your primary relationship always has to be with you. Only then, can you relate in a real way to others.
  3. Stay away from negative, high maintenance and narcissistic relationships. You can never change another, or make them care for you.
  4. Find a spiritual community, whatever that means to you. This should mean friends you can mediate with, you can count on, and with whom you have mutual respect and support… your home team.
  5. Don’t diminish your feelings or discount them. You are entitled to cry when you’re hurt, and laugh when you’re happy without labeling yourself as either a victim or too aggressive.
  6. Finally, in transactional analysis, the approach is to step into your adult… to deliberately override your reactive behavior toward others, and to be guided by your true feelings and objective information. We often find ourselves attracted to the very behavior that we are struggling with. By not dealing with your own problems you may project them onto others. The key is to become aware of what you are projecting out, and instead of reacting, integrate that pattern consciously back into yourself. Now you are free!


  • Dr. Gail Gross

    Author and Parenting, Relationships, and Human Behavior Expert

    Dr. Gail Gross, Ph.D., Ed.D., M.Ed., a member of the American Psychological Association (APA) and member of APA Division 39, is a nationally recognized family, child development, and human behavior expert, author, and educator. Her positive and integrative approach to difficult issues helps families navigate today’s complex problems. Dr. Gross is frequently called upon by national and regional media to offer her insight on topics involving family relationships, education, behavior, and development issues. A dependable authority, Dr. Gross has contributed to broadcast, print and online media including CNN, the Today Show, CNBC's The Doctors, Hollywood Reporter, FOX radio, FOX’s The O’Reilly Factor, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Times of India, People magazine, Parents magazine, Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine, USA Today, Univision, ABC, CBS, and KHOU's Great Day Houston Show. She is a veteran radio talk show host as well as the host of the nationally syndicated PBS program, “Let’s Talk.” Also, Dr. Gross has written a semi-weekly blog for The Huffington Post and has blogged at EmpowHER.com since 2013. Recently, Houston Women's Magazine named her One of Houston's Most Influential Women of 2016. Dr. Gross is a longtime leader in finding solutions to the nation’s toughest education challenges. She co-founded the first-of-its kind Cuney Home School with her husband Jenard, in partnership with Texas Southern University. The school serves as a national model for improving the academic performance of students from housing projects by engaging the parents. Dr. Gross also has a public school elementary and secondary campus in Texas that has been named for her. Additionally, she recently completed leading a landmark, year-long study in the Houston Independent School District to examine how stress-reduction affects academics, attendance, and bullying in elementary school students, and a second study on stress and its effects on learning. Such work has earned her accolades from distinguished leaders such as the Dalai Lama, who presented her with the first Spirit of Freedom award in 1998. More recently, she was honored in 2013 with the Jung Institute award. She also received the Good Heart Humanitarian Award from Jewish Women International, Perth Amboy High School Hall of Fame Award, the Great Texan of the Year Award, the Houston Best Dressed Hall of Fame Award, Trailblazer Award, Get Real New York City Convention's 2014 Blogging Award, and Woman of Influence Award. Dr. Gross’ book, The Only Way Out Is Through, is available on Amazon now and offers strategies for life’s transitions including coping with loss, drawing from dealing with the death of her own daughter. Her next book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, is also available on Amazon now and teaches parents how to enhance their child’s learning potential by understanding and recognizing their various development stages. And her first research book was published by Random House in 1987 on health and skin care titled Beautiful Skin. Dr. Gross has created 8 audio tapes on relaxation and stress reduction that can be purchased on Amazon.com. Most recently, Dr. Gross’s book, The Only Way Out is Through, was named a Next Generation Indie Book Awards Silver Medal finalist in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the categories of Death & Dying as well as Grief. Her latest book, How to Build Your Baby’s Brain, was the National Parenting Product Awards winner in 2019, the Nautilus Book Awards winner in 2019, ranked the No. 1 Best New Parenting Book in 2019 and listed among the Top 10 Parenting Books to Read in 2020 by BookAuthority, as well as the Next Generation Indie Book Awards Gold Medal winner in 2020 and Winner of the 2021 Independent Press Awards in the category of How-To. Dr. Gross received a BS in Education and an Ed.D. (Doctorate of Education) with a specialty in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. She earned her Master’s degree in Secondary Education with a focus on Psychology from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. Dr. Gross received her second PhD in Psychology, with a concentration in Jungian studies. Dr. Gross was the recipient of Kappa Delta Pi An International Honor Society in Education. Dr. Gross was elected member of the International English Honor Society Sigma Tau Delta.