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  • Writer's pictureSteve Braun

The Likeability Cage

I’ve been working with a female client for about a month, working on boundaries and self

worth. When I asked her, “Who’s taking care of you?’ she paused, and then started to cry.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. The women I have worked with lately have

something in common: they are emotionally exhausted.

It’s not exhaustion from taking on too much or not prioritizing themselves. It is the almost

inherent pursuit of being likeable, ingrained from her upbringing. Conditioned to be sweet,

caring, generous, giving, helpful and selfless. The more likeable she was, the less-likely she

was to be rejected–ensuring one of women’s essential needs: to feel safe.

In the pursuit of being likeable and feeling safe, she lost her own sense of self. This is known

as, ‘The Likeability Cage’. The cage allows very little space for self expression. Be like this,

but don’t be like that. Going against the status quo opens her up to judgement and labels–

preventing her from discovering her true authentic self within the confines of the cage.

When searching for her own wants and needs, she finds a blank space. How can she

discover what she wants without really knowing her true self?

What she doesn’t yet realize is that while she may discover her authentic self by stepping

out of the cage, the door to the likeability cage only opens from the inside.

The knee jerk response is to preach self care and acceptance. Buy some scented candles,

take a bubble bath and treat yourself to a manicure. But pampering doesn’t heal the


Perhaps it’s time to listen to that inner voice again- the voice of your truth. What do you

want? What is your experience telling you? This means telling your truth, and not just the

sweetened, manufactured version you’ve used in the past.

My client is discovering that her authentic self is not a threat to her safety or other people.

She is being liberated from the cage, welcoming her own experiences and recovering from

the scars of emotional exhaustion.

If you would like guidance in freeing yourself from the likeability cage, let’s connect.

Steve Braun

Call or Text: 778.932.1978

About the Author: Steve currently resides in the sunny Okanagan in British Columbia Canada where he spends his free time camping at remote lakes chasing monster rainbow trout with a flyrod.

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