There I was a mere eight or nine-year-old rascal of a boy playing with my friends in the backyard by a traditional wood swingset that accrued many hours of our lives. I cannot remember the particular time or cause, but I have this memory that has plagued me for years. As we the posse of local neighborhood kids were playing around in the backyard doing God knows what as entertainment I had a life altering experience. I had done something to make one of the other kids to cry and then tearfully inform me that I was very bossy and this was a negative thing. This memory has not left me. It refuses to be divorced or purged from my life, and I have continuously wondered why and think I am starting to finally find the reason. This recollection has consistently been a reminder to me over the years that I should not be myself because my personality is painful to others, and I should do my best to please those around me by changing.
In writing that so blatantly it becomes crystal clear how sad that thought process is and this is why I wanted to write an article about this topic of pleasing others. I have this desire for men to join me on the journey of realizing why it is important not to let others opinions slam on the brakes of moving forward with one's life. I want to reference a question a friend asked me once because I feel it is pertinent to this topic. "Picture what your life would look like if you weren't trying to please everyone else. What would that look like?" This question not only inspired me but it was the catalyst for motivating me to write this article. So the following three reasons and thoughts I had on why I think men need to stop trying to please everyone around them.
“In trying to please all, he had pleased none.”
1} Pleasing others usually arrives at the expense of authenticity.
In my experience through life, I have come to terms with the fact that when I try to please everyone around me and try to keep the peace by doing what I think is desired, I am not being true to myself. This, in turn, causes me internal stress, anxiety, and unhappiness which in turn bleeds into my relationships. I become depressed and angry with life which then I begin to disengage with life and not want to be around the very people I love and am trying to please. It is amazing to me how important it is to be authentic and true to one's self.
“If you are busy pleasing everyone, you are not being true to yourself”
― Jocelyn Murray
2} Chances are the people you are trying to please don't even know or care.
It is all in our heads. I know there is always an exception, but at the end of the day, no one has ever overtly told me "Tim, you need to change your ways so that you can please me. I think if you do X, Y, and Z this will help you attain my acceptance." The reality is somehow I have continued to trust the problems solving skills of myself as a young child to lead me on a path of happiness. This is a sad plan and the realization of how much this is my own personal mental game has begun to shift my mentality. Who are you trying to please that doesn't even know it?
3} Living to please others leads to smaller amounts of happiness.
I like to believe I can find the silver lining in most areas of life and I am sure if you lived your whole life to please others you might find some happiness but if one were to compare it to the amount of joy found in being true to one's self I think would pale in comparison. It would be like drinking a caramel latte your whole life because that is what your girlfriend or significant other likes but in reality, you enjoy drip coffee significantly more. You might still find little enjoyment in the latte but chances are the drip coffee would fulfill you more. HA!
So would you join me on the journey of trying not to be a people please and be true to one's self? What are some steps you can take today or this week to start on this journey?