Many of us, at one point or another have acted like someone we are not. Whether we did it to impress a love interest, a boss, a colleague, a friend or family member; we have all tried to be someone else because we believed it would get us what we wanted. Mostly, we believed it would help them accept us. Here is a famous Aesop’s fable that beautifully illustrates the folly of trying too hard to please others:
A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by the donkey’s side a countryman passed them and said, “You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?” So the man put the boy on the donkey, and they went on their way.
But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said, “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”
So the man ordered his boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other, “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”
Well, the man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his boy up before him on the donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passersby began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at.
The men said, “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours — you and your hulking son?”
The man and boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, until at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them until they came to a bridge, when the donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the donkey fell over the bridge, and his forefeet being tied together, he was drowned.
The moral of the story is: If you try to please everyone, not only will you please no one; you will risk losing the very thing you hold dear.
Similar to the father and son in this fable, many of us have at times tried to please others. One way we do this is by trying to change ourselves into someone else; mostly for fear of being rejected by those “others“. Unfortunately, this usually backfires, because the more we try hard to please others, the more we lose our authenticity and the more rejected we feel.
If you really want to feel accepted, it is best to just be yourself. Those who accept you will accept the real you and will celebrate you just as you are; and those who reject you, won’t matter because they never deserved you in the first place!
I recently read an article in Forbes.com, about the challenges of being a people pleaser. In it, the author list 10 signs that shows you’re trying too hard to please everyone. Here are the first 5 signs:
Listening politely to other people’s opinions — even when you disagree — is a good social skill. But pretending to agree because you want to be liked can cause you to engage in behavior that goes against your values.
It’s healthy to recognize how your behavior influences others. But thinking you have the power to make someone happy is a problem. It’s up to each individual to be in charge of their own emotions.
Whether you excessively blame yourself, or you fear other people are always blaming you, frequent apologies can be a sign of a bigger problem. You don’t have to be sorry for being you.
You’re in charge of how you spend your time. But if you are a people-pleaser, there’s a good chance your schedule is filled with activities that you think other people want you to do.
Whether you say yes and then actually follow through, or you later fake an illness to get out your commitments, you’ll never reach your goals when you can’t speak up for yourself.
Sounds familiar, anyone?
If you read the list above and realized that this described you to a tee, what can you do? How can you stop trying to please others at the expense of your own soul? Well, you must first learn to accept your self as you are.
Here are 5 quotes to help you become more self-accepting found on medium.com:
1. Focus on your positive qualities
“When you focus on being the best person you can be, you draw the best possible life, love, and opportunities to you.” ― Germany Kent
2. Consciously prevent negative thinking patterns
“If you are positive, you’ll see opportunities instead of obstacles.”
― Widad Akrawi
3. Accept your imperfections
“It’s not about hiding your imperfections on a shoot; it’s about embracing them and being unapologetic about them.” — Erin O’Connor
4. Use positive self-talk
“The way you choose to think and speak about yourself, IS A CHOICE! You may have spent your whole life talking about yourself in a negative way, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue that path.” ― Miya Yamanouchi
5. Disregard what other people might think about your decisions
“I don’t listen to what people say about me and I don’t read what they write about me. People can compare me to anyone they want to, but I’m not going to worry about it.” — Eric Davis
Being yourself does not mean you are selfish and it doesn’t mean you don’t care about others. Being yourself simply means you like and accept who you are and you chose to live life according to your core values, regardless of other people’s opinions. It is important to respect the values of others, however it should never be at the expense of you own.
Don’t worry about what others think. You can’t control them or their thoughts. Instead focus on learning to love and accept yourself just as you are. Don’t allow others to change who you are. Being yourself is important because you will not be happy otherwise. Empower and love yourself because you are FLAWESOME!!!
If you are struggling with people pleasing and it’s affecting your success in your practice, we can help. Sign up for our mastermind group and get the peer to peer support you need to help you succeed. Click on the link below to sign up.
Stay tuned next week for secret to enduring success – #2 – Bet on yourself! Until then, remember to Dream Big, Take Risks and become the CEO of YOU™!