Friday, August 8, 2008

Pleasing Others

In Al-Anon I heard the term, "People Pleasers." I thought that was an interesting term. But after awhile I did not like it. It was - well - sort of degrading.

People pleasers? Does that mean I lost my identity and what I want and sacrifice this for others want? I thought it was just being nice and courteous. I think I did do this - not always - but enough.

Here are some words I would like to share derived from Dr. Robert Anthony;

Pleasing Others - A Psychological Dead end
When you go to heaven, or meet your maker, it is where God will not ask, "did you please others?" But instead will ask, "Have you been yourself?" I think this is great because when we think about it - it is here that God placed us to be ourselves. Not be someone else. Or why would he created us? (specifically, you. not the people in the world "us")

People are struggling to be themselves. Why? Because of the need to please others. We feel this deep down need to get approval from others. Follow the main stream. Get the latest fashion. Look good so others will approve. It's in our cultural norms. I am not saying that we should not do this - but perhaps we carry this too far. Perhaps indeed.

Assume your own destiny. What others think does not matter. A 100 years from now, no one will remember if you stubbed your toe, or your boss was angry at you or you lost your job or you - you fill in the blank. I am not saying you should be depressed. But try to put the things we think are so important into perspective. YOU only have one chance at life on this little "Hair ball planet." As far as we know. Go for it today without thought of whether they approve or not.

At first this will be a lonely process. And it may seem others are against you. The decision to live your life is up to you. The decision to live your life is your responsibility.

Your action or inaction is your responsibility.

Some peoples' conditioning will be in conflict with your and when they see someone living in opposition to their values and beliefs, it can be very frightening to them. For you are threatening their beliefs.

But realize, what they think, does not matter. This IS, YOUR life. And you only get one chance. And in the end, it doesn't matter what they think anyway. God will only ask, "Have you been yourself?" Or said another way, "Did you live your life in an extraordinary way - a way that only you could have approved of and have no regrets?"

This is what I believe. But I need reminding of this every single day. Thanks!


FrannyGlass said...

Just what I needed to hear today. Thanks, Joe.

fulltimedad said...

Classic co-dependency. I have been in the program for about 4 or 5 months. I am still new at this. I am Type A, a logical thinker and regimented. So, I have to look at the
Al Anon program and understand it before I can follow it. This is, really, going against the grain.

The thing I keep coming back to is that an Al Anon'er is only so if there is an Alcoholic in the picture. I know the mantra is that the Al Anon'er is not cured by the sobriety of the qualifier. But, if that is the case, then the Al Anon'er is, at the core, just a plain old co-dependent whose emotional "self" radar'ed in on a needy alcoholic who could be on the other side of the co-dependent formula.

Joe, your blog is great. It really is. Your thought process, in type, is refreshing and enlightening.

Once you step away from the alcoholic or the alcoholic sobers up, all that is left in terms of an illness for the Al Anon'er is Co-Dependency.

This is why I am a member of CoDA and Al Anon. I also attend AA meetings to keep me tuned in to the Alcoholic's world.

Syd said...

It's taken a while but I finally get the fact that I can only please myself and not others. Life is too short to do otherwise.

Anonymous said...

I used to see people around me through the lens of "Do unto others as you would have done unto you".

I figured if I wanted people to be nice and considerate to me I had to be nice and considerate to them.

Growing up I didn't have a strong female role model for sticking up for myself and my needs. So I didn't realize there were limits with the "do unto others" bit. And so I never stopped to think about what it was that I really needed and put that first.

Now I know better that I can set limits and stick by them. And that it is not wrong to ask for what I need when I need it.

I need to let my inner compass, not someone else's guide me.


Anonymous said...

My thoughts are the root issue behind "Pleasing Others" is the simple fact that there are expectations associated with the the "pleasing". The expected outcome usually never comes to fruition, or falls way short simply because it is absorbed like water to a sponge.

I view it similar to a bank account that you make a repeat deposit to, only to find out that when the statement comes, not only do you not have any money in the account, you have overdraft fees.

Go figure.

Peace this Friday, to all a great weekend.


Anonymous said...

My people pleasing is so insidious that I keep tricking myself into thinking that I am just "easy going". What I am beginning to realize is that I have likes and dislikes and somehow I have turned off the power switch to that part of my personaility. My challenge right now is trying to turn that switch on and deal with the reactions of those around me, whom in their defense have always had "easy going" me to contend with. Such difficulult choices !!!

Catherine said...

I hear you, anonymous. Mine is insidious, too (although I am not easygoing.)

One thing I've noticed is that people pleasing at work is a career killer, bc one keeps saying yes to the crappy tasks and assuming the boss will notice. Just look at the successful people around you -- would you call them people pleasers? Not exactly.