Brie Larson on why it's 'not worth' pleasing others for the sake of being nice

·5-min read

When The Marvels star Brie Larson isn't practicing archery, she is probably doing some serious personal and emotional growth.

In a recent sit-down on Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard, the actress opened up about overcoming the pressure to please others and finding the courage to stand up for herself in uncomfortable situations.

"The last year-and-a-half or two years, I feel like the universe has confronted me with the need to be able to confront [situations], and confront sooner, and just go, 'Eh. I don't like that,'" Larson explained. "I'll find that, especially with smaller things, I'll just be like 'It's just not worth it.' And now I'm like, you know what’s not worth it? Being uncomfortable and then having resentment and then being weird to somebody forever. That's not it. Why not just get it over with and say, '[That's] not my preference.'"

Larson, who won a 2016 Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Room, explained that the fear of confrontation was "people please motivated mixed with 'I must be wrong.'"

"I don't want to look like a fool for saying something when I'm obviously wrong," she would tell herself in those moments, before adding sarcastically, "It's just my opinion. That can't be right."

Larson added that a major lesson she's learned recently year is to not force "myself to accept something when I’m not ready to," which opened up new avenues for personal growth. 

"There's the intellectual part of me that’s like, yeah of course, love everybody, I get it," she explained. "But then, like, do I really feel that? Because I'll find myself skipping ahead, like, Well, I know I'm wrong, I know I shouldn’t have this resentment or I know I shouldn't feel this way so I'm just gonna act like I don't. But it doesn’t really work. That’s just another way of us tricking ourselves into not confronting. We’re like, I'm a nice person so I'm just gonna be OK with them."

Stopping the anxiety-fueled "stories" before they spiral out of control is equally as important. "Sometimes the cortisol, all those things, then make it even harder to access what's true, what’s living in us, what's available, and we make stories up," she explained

Brie Larson is over pleasing people for the sake of being nice and has found new confidence in speaking her truth. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
Brie Larson is over pleasing people for the sake of being nice and has found new confidence in speaking her truth. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

"One of the last times I had to confront somebody, I put it off for a year or maybe two because I had all these stories: Oh well they’re going through this, they're going through that and I should be more caring, I should be more this," Larson said. 

“Then I had this moment where I was like, if we got rid of the stories, then you just confront something and you don’t have all the charge around it because the story isn’t there. So you can just say, 'Hey this felt kinda s****y' or 'My feelings were hurt' or 'I might be wrong but this is what I got from our last phone call and it made me feel this way.' Instead of [having] all this stuff come up that has nothing to do with the simplicity of 'This is what I felt' and being open to how they handle it, which sometimes isn’t good."

Larson admits she's "at a 50-50 track record at this point," when it comes to confrontation. "50-50 it goes well or it doesn’t."

The 31-year-old's newfound confidence has helped her own her space much more than before.

"I had this idea in my head, like, 'Oh, once I reach blah blah blah, then I’ll finally be respected,'" Larson said when asked about her experience with respect as a woman on male-dominated sets. "And it never changed."

She elaborated, saying "The truth is it never changed until I changed. It changed once I was unbothered by it, which seemed so bizarre to me because it was all so external. I was like, I’ll never get away from this thing, this oppressive feeling. But then once I diminished the effect it had on me, it [became] funny. Some of it is just absurd. Some of it I have a lot of sympathy for because some people — like directors and producers — despite the fact that they can be older than me and they could have incredible credits, chances are I’ve had more time on set than them because I haven’t had to do the pre-production stuff and I won’t have to do the post stuff. So there’s a higher probability, assuming that I’m working, that I just have more on-set experience."

"I'm also in a different place," she said of her success. "I'm on my mark, which is at the epicenter of everybody. I feel everybody’s energy. I know what everybody’s job is. It’s part of my job to know what everybody’s job is. So I see all this stuff."

"And because of my job, I feel that people talk to me," she continued. "Like, crew members will open up and say things so I get this interesting view of all these different things that I don’t know if producers get to see or hear."

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