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Reflect Out Loud

"The unexamined life is not worth living." – Socrates

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bad

People Pleasing

“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, yet there will still be people who hate peaches.” Vita Von Teese

I have been guilty of being a people pleaser. Often saying “yes” when I really mean “no.” Often putting the happiness of others over mine. I am guilty of wanting to make the whole world happy, because if I make everyone happy then everyone will love and accept me – and then maybe I’ll be happy. Even as I am writing this now, I am trying to please you, reader, by not making grammatical errors so that you will like and respect me. I am trying not to make mistakes, because if I make mistakes then I probably won’t be accepted and respected by you. Right?

From childhood, many of us are rewarded and praised for being “good” but punished and scolded for being “bad.” My mother, for instance, would punish me if I fidgeted in church because that was “bad” and rewarded me if I sat quietly and still because that was “good.” I was told to “act like a lady” and to “eat with your mouth closed” because that’s the “right” and “acceptable” way. I was praised when I behaved in accordance to my family’s values and lectured when I strayed from their world view. As we grow up, we become wired to believe that if we are good, whatever that means, then we will be rewarded and people will, praise, love and accept us. But if we are bad, whatever that means, then we will be punished and people will scold, hate and reject us. So how do we get love? By being “good,” whatever that means, to others.

Now this puts us in a bind for many reasons. We don’t all agree on what’s good or bad. Some of us find it good to be reserved and introverted, others find it good to be outgoing and extraverted. Some like chocolate others like vanilla. Some like Bush others like Clinton. And in the end, we find ourselves pleasing some while disappointing others no matter which choice we make. Additionally, when we live only to make others happy, we fail to be true to ourselves and consequently suffer.

We all want to be accepted in some way or another – by someone or another. It hurts to be told that “you are not welcome here.” And if you’re anything like me, you find yourself putting others first because you don’t want to upset them, because to upset them means they’re unhappy and if they’re unhappy they will leave us. This search for approval and strong desire to be liked by everyone only becomes more complicated when you are torn by people whose pleasures are derived from different “good” standards. Your mom wants you to be a doctor, your dad wants you to work in the family business, and you want to be DJ, which they both loath. You want to move to California, your partner wants to stay in New York. What to do!?

First, and foremost, no matter what you do, someone out there will be unhappy. Some will adore you, some will despise you, while others won’t give a damn either way. Living a life that is designed around making others happy in order to receive love is a recipe for failure and pain. It is not your job to make anyone happy, nor is it anyone’s job to make you happy. When we place our happiness on anything that is external, we always lose because nothing external is guaranteed or permanent.

When you were born, you were there, and when you die, you will be there. You are the only one who will always be with you – no matter what, no matter where. For this reason, cultivating a life of love for yourself is crucial to freeing yourself from seeking validation outside of yourself. Everything else will follow from there. Once you are grounded in yourself, having the approval of others will not be required to validate your life because you will already have validated yourself.

Here are some tips on how to stop pleasing everyone while forgetting yourself.

  1. Practice saying “no” when you mean “no.”
    If you tend to say “yes” when you mean “no” only so that others can be happy with you, next time, when your gut feeling and real intent is no, say “no.” You don’t have to stretch yourself thin only because you are too afraid to say no. Saying no does not make you a bad person. You are putting yourself first and that is always important. It is like they tell you in the air plane, “secure the mask on yourself first, before putting it on your child.” You must take care of you first and be true to yourself first before you can tend to the agenda of others.

    2. Speak your mind.
    You are here to be expressed! The world needs your perspective. Your thoughts and feelings are valid. Do not hide your voice because you think others will be displeased with you if you speak up. Let the world hear your truth! You may be surprised to see that it isn’t as scary as it seems to speak your mind.

    3. Remember, you can’t please everyone and that’s perfectly ok
    .
    It is not your job to be the basis of happiness for others. You are not here to be the court jester of anyone. No matter what you do or don’t do, someone somewhere will have some negative thing to say about it. There is no way to please the whole world because we are all different and experience the world from a unique paradigm. Remind yourself that you are valued just the way you are and that it is not required of you to always be there for everyone all the time.
    4. Practice self-validating rituals.
    When you feel like you are “bad” because you aren’t pleasing everyone, practice self- validating rituals that refocus your attention back to who you really are and that help you let go of expectations. Tell yourself (as many times as necessary to sink in):
    I am enough as I am.
    I am valid and my feelings are valid.
    I am not bad for speaking my truth.
    I am not bad for saying “no.”
    I am not wrong for standing up for myself.
    There is nothing wrong with me.
    I am whole, complete, just the way I am.

    5. Give yourself a pep-talk.
    Sometimes you gotta be your own coach. When you feel like you’ve let others down by putting yourself first, give yourself a talk. Proudly proclaim to yourself:
    This is YOU time!
    You’ve already done what you can, now it’s time for YOU.
    You got this! You rock!
    You can’t be there for others when you’re not even there for yourself. So just BREATHE. Don’t you dare feel bad. You’re amazing!
    This is ALL ABOUT YOU NOW! Walk out there strong, and ROCK IT!
    #TEAMYOU

    I hope this is helpful to you.
    Always remember that you can’t please the whole world, but you can please yourself by being true to yourself simply because you’re worth it. You are important – live like it!

There is Nothing Bad About You

Allowing yourself to be means accepting all of you. Even the parts you believe are “bad,” “inappropriate” or “scary.”

For so long I have been trying to deny the darker aspects of my personality. For so long I have been telling myself that it’s not okay to feel sad or mad or angry. I would tell myself that there is something wrong with me because I feel sad often times. I would see myself as a problem when I became angry or upset. I would try hard to change my feelings and to deny my tears with a smile. It is common that when I tell people “I am sad” they respond with something like “don’t be sad,” as if being sad is wrong and something that we shouldn’t experience.
But I am learning that my feelings are valid. All of them. I am learning that my body works in my favor and that my feelings exist to communicate with me.
When I am sad, rather than resisting my sadness, I have to allow my sadness to be. I must allow myself to be sad without feeling sad that I am sad. Feeling sad that I am sad or beating myself up for experiencing “negative” feelings only adds to my negative feeling. It is like throwing more wood, or in this case emotion, into the fire.

Are you sad?

Ok. Good.
It is okay to be sad.
Be sad. Let it be because it is there to help you.
Be there with your sadness right now.
Tell your sadness that it is okay for it to be here and that you have no intention of shunning it away like if it were an enemy. Tell it that you understand that it is here to help you interpret your experience. Tell it that you hear its voice telling you there is something you may want to change or there is something that you do not like.
It is okay not to like something.
It is okay to want to change something.
It is okay to be sad. Breathe with your sadness.

Do not resist yourself. Do not resist your body. Do not resist parts of yourself. Allow yourself to sink deeper and embrace all of who you are. All of who you are is working together for your best interest.
Your body is working in your favor at all times.
At all times your body is trying to heal itself and bring you into homeostasis. Your emotions are working to help you – do not beat yourself up for anything that you feel.
Instead, listen to your body.
Does it feel angry?
Does it feel upset?
Does it feel hurt?
Talk to it.
Listen to it.
Dwell in it.
Know that it is protecting you and trying to bring you into your best place.

Do not feel bad for what you feel.
All that you are, good and bad, is good.
Be. Be all that you are.

THE PROCESS OF BECOMING

Who are you?
Answer: ___________________________

You might answer this question by telling me your name. Your age, cultural background, your social security number, and yada, yada, yada.

But see – that’s not really who you are. That’s information you have acquired from what the external world has determined for you.
You are the awareness of these things.
You are not your name, you are the awareness of your name.
You are not your age, you are the awareness of your age.
You are not your cultural background, you are the awareness of your cultural background.

Get the drift? I hope so.

“So what? So what if I am the awareness of that stuff?”

YAY! Great news, my friend!
Being awareness means that you get to choose your own reality!
It is up to YOU to decide what to accept or reject into your field of awareness.

So the process of becoming is simply asking yourself what are you aware of.
What thoughts are you aware of? Your own? Those imposed on you by others? A little bit of both?

If you realize that you have adopted the thoughts of others rather than your own, this isn’t a bad thing. It isn’t a good thing either. It just IS. This is how we grow – by exchanging ideas with one another.

Things are what they are – things ARE. PERIOD. Whether something is good or bad depends on the preference of the aware being.

So, for instance, the experience of eating chocolate ice cream may be good for me because to my awareness I experience something good from eating it. Someone else, however, may be eating from my chocolate ice cream cup yet have a distasteful experience because to their awareness they experience something bad from eating chocolate ice cream. There is nothing in the particles of chocolate ice cream itself that is coded with “goodness” or “badness” – these types of labeling are judgements of the experiencer based on the effect a particular thing has in combination to their particular being – to their awareness.

So what am I ultimately saying?
– Become YOU.

Do you like chocolate ice cream because YOU like chocolate ice cream or have you come to like chocolate ice cream because people might think you are cool if you eat chocolate ice cream?

Or fill it in this blank:
Do you like ___________ because YOU like _________ or do you like___________ because you believe X person(s) want you to like ___________?

Are you YOU because YOU take pleasure in who you are or are you YOU because of what you believe other people want you to be?
And maybe it’s a combination of both.
It isn’t bad to tag along with what others think is cool – that’s fine – we have words for that: admiration, inspiration, sharing, absorption, learning.
It only becomes a problem when you are not happy with yourself because you are not being true to who you are but are living a life that is decorated by what others want you to be.

When we seek to be what others want us to be, we are seeking approval.
We are seeking approval from others because we have failed to approve of ourselves just as we are. Somewhere along the way we adopted the awareness that “the way I am, as I am, is not good enough.”

Not good enough to whose awareness?

See, as long as to YOUR awareness you are enough, then no matter who tells you “YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH,” this statement will fall flat on its feet – it will have no power over you. It would be the same as a person telling me over and over “chocolate ice cream sucks.” This statement has no power over me because to MY awareness – CHOCOLATE ICE CREAM FUCKING ROCKS!

Be YOU Because YOU like it – whatever it is that you are. And if others like you too – AWESOME – if not, who cares? NOT YOU is all that matters. It is not for their awareness to decide what YOUR AWARENESS KNOWS TO BE TRUE FOR YOU.

YOUR AWARENESS IS ALL THE MATTERS.

Become YOU.
🙂 ❤

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