Who are you trying to please? Just take a moment and think about it before you proudly say “No one but myself!” or just bow your head and sadly mutter “Everyone!” as if you had an incurable disease. Just think about if for a moment. We are all trying to please someone, even if it’s just a critical voice in our heads that we internalized at some point and developed it way beyond the cruelty of reality. We are trying to please our parents because we care for them and we don’t want to see them hurt. We are trying to please our girl/boyfriends because our happiness depends on them. Or so we think. We are trying to please our close friends because we want them in our lives.
Everyone we are trying to please is a person we want in our lives. Have you ever asked yourself if the ones that you want in your life, want you in their lives? And if they really do want you in their lives, do you think they would just leave you so easily because you don’t please them? How about if they do leave because they don’t feel like you are giving them all they want? What then? What would you have lost? Someone who knows how to ask but does not know how to really see you and appreciate you for who you are. In which case, do you really want that person in your life?
What I’m saying is not that we should not do anything for others, but that we should not do things that ask us to sacrifice a bit of who we are, to compromise our own values and needs.
I am one of the people who, if asked, would jump to answer “No one but myself”. However, at a second thought I realized that my pleasing in not even conscious. That I do sometimes do it, convinced that I’m doing it for myself. Which brings me to the pleasing of yourself. That is still a way of not doing what you actually want and need to do, you are still not free. My pleasing myself built a great ego, with the help of which I satisfied some of my ambitions, and that only grew my ego ever bigger. There for, I was not free anymore, I was a slave of my ego. And no, I’m not gonna start talking about how bad the ego is and how we should kill it or whatever. Your ego has a role, just like everything else that exists within you. Even if it’s purpose is just to help you learn how to change something about yourself. But ego helps you achieve things, ego is the creator of the material world because wanting to achieve is the drive that makes you turn your ideas into facts and this is how the world got civilized and flourishes. Of course, letting your ego run your life means you lost balance and you are living in one of the extremes. While an underdeveloped ego lets everyone step all over you because of being so busy pleasing other people that you forgot about yourself. This is the other extreme. So, ego is good as long as it’s a tool and not a leader.
However, coming back to the subject of pleasing and especially that of pleasing yourself, I found out it’s a trap. Pleasing yourself doesn’t mean that you are connected to your true needs and desires, it only means that somewhere inside of you the voices of all the people who have ever criticized or put you down, making you feel small and helpless, have come together into one single voice in your head that demands satisfaction. The problem with this voice is that it never gives satisfaction because whatever you do, it will still say it’s not enough, it could be better, it could be more. So trying to please that voice is just like trying to please other people, it is just as disrespectful toward yourself as those people waiting for you to do as they want.
Discovering all this, what I started doing is paying attention to myself, somewhat like awareness and living in the present. Therefor now, when I please someone or even myself it is a conscious decision that I make after taking a moment to listen to my real needs and moral values. Does not always work yet. Sometimes there are fears that take charge, but I’m doing my best. Work in progress.
How about you? How is your (not) pleasing going these days?