You cannot please all of the people all of the time. This phrase has been in existence for an eternity; yet, as humans, who often crave the need for acceptance in society, we have all found ourselves, at one time or another, feeling as if we must give more of ourselves for the sake of that acceptance. We fall victim to these thoughts in certain job-related entities and suffer again when we meet people who have bolder clothes, bigger cars, better houses and seemingly, brighter lives that what we think we have.
At what cost do we attempt to please? Some people are quick to realize that everyone is human and friendships are not marathons; thus, they should not entertain a competition with those who are in search of one. Others, on the contrary, often begin a feeble and otherwise damaging attempt to create a more perfect representation of their lives, for the sake of needing the friendship. When this scenario occurs, it becomes the basis for personal persecution, leading to the loss of the individual’s personal credibility and leaving the individual, who attempted to change for the other person, with a sense of guilt, defeat and worthlessness. And for what gain did the individual throw himself into this fire? Absolutely none.
In knowing that human beings, by our nature, are success-craving, event-loving people, how do we best draw the line between pleasing another and the realization that not everyone can be pleased; thus walking away with our honor intact? To this author, it seems as if the answer to the question is clear, if we simply follow a few brief steps and ask ourselves a few questions.
§ Why do I feel compelled to please this person?
If the person is a work associate, we might feel as if we need to excel in order to obtain a higher standing in our work-related fields. Yet, we may be better advised to show our fallacies, instead of shielding them. The individual may be testing us to see how much we can take. Why miss this opportunity for advancement when we can seize it?
§ Am I afraid of being less than equal?
If the person, whether a work associate or friend, is portraying himself in a fashion where he comes across as being a cut above the rest of society, why should we cater to his ego, when we know that all humans are created equal? We’re only different through how we choose to exist in our lives and more than likely, this person cannot be pleased, regardless of our efforts. The fear is usually unwarranted.
§ Is pleasing this person worth the personal toll?
The answer to this question is simple. No, and under no circumstance is 'pleasing' another worth it. The people in this world who admire and respect us, do so because they see something inside of us that is worthy of their respect, their admiration and in some cases, their love. The relationships we have, with the persons who are closest to us, will and shall remain long after any relations, with persons who expect more than what we can provide, have failed. The personal toll of having to change our lives and/or belief systems for the sake of another can be catastrophic. It can lead to a loss of self-respect and the feeling of worthlessness and no one deserves to put themselves in that situation.
Life is never easy, but it is manageable, if it is dealt with properly. It is best to leave those who expect more than our all in the dust and be content with nurturing the relationships with those who love and appreciate us, life’s warts and all.
The steps to complete happiness and a near worry-free environment are easy.
1. Please those whom we are certain will respect and cherish our companionship, regardless of whether we entertain the same ideals. These people will still appreciate us, in spite of any differences in opinion.
2. Recognize that not everyone in the world is capable of accepting us for who we are; thus, we can only give what we are able to provide and nothing more.
3. And lastly...Life is short. Every minute we spend trying to repair the sinking ship of Ailing Relationships by patching its holes with false ideals, lessened self-esteem and a general belittling of ourselves, is a minute of our lives wasted and a moment we could have spent with those people in our lives whose love and respect for us is never-ending.
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to tender the blooming friendships and relationships that we have, to the best ability we can, and allow life’s weeds, the people who feel we should be superhuman for their benefit, choke themselves at the hand of their own tendrils. If we all abide by these simple principles, then our fears of having to please everyone will fade like the stars at the beginning of each new day. And, just as that new day appears, we, again, have the opportunity to evaluate our priorities and pledge to please only those who prove they are worthy. For in the end, one constant remains, “You cannot please all of the people, all of the time.”
© 2005 – Jill Eisnaugle. All Rights Reserved.