Are you a people pleaser?

aesop

No matter what you do, there will be someone who disagrees with the way you do it. Consider this fable:

The Man, the Boy, and the Donkey

Aesop

A man and his son were once going with their donkey to market. As they were walking along by his 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.

Try to please everyone, and you will please no one.

Poor donkey.

Are you a people pleaser? Do you ever try to please so many people, you wonder if you are pleasing any or if you have lost yourself in the mix? Sometimes people pleasing can live to inauthentic lives spent looking out from behind a mask. Instead, consider this article and these tips for how to honor your authentic self while still acting appropriately in the situation:

  • Ask yourself what you are feeling. Are you afraid of what someone else is thinking of you? Are you avoiding an inconvenient truth or difficult emotion?

  • Allow yourself to feel whatever it is that you are feeling. All emotions are okay; they are a key part of our intelligence and the human experience.

  • Assess the situation. Can you safely share your feelings with others? Would it make you feel better to do so? If yes, go ahead and share. This might feel risky, but authenticity and vulnerability usually create intimacy and connection—two keys to happiness.

  • Decide on an appropriate behavior based on how you’d like to feel. If you are afraid, for example, you might want to choose a behavior to calm your fear, like taking deep breaths. If you are feeling low-energy, you might want to do a few jumping jacks to get your blood circulating.

  • Finally, check back in with yourself to see how you are feeling. Allow whatever comes up for you. You may now be feeling both a sense of calm (from taking a bunch of deep breaths) and a little frightened. It is entirely possible to experience more than one emotion at a time. Or, your blahs might have vanished now that you’ve taken a little walk outside.

 

We are emotional beings, and that’s ok. It is only when we are honest with our emotions that we can honor our inner selves.

SaveSave

Make time for a beauty intrusion.

intrusions

Have you ever been stopped in your tracks by a beautiful intrusion? A melting crayon sunset, the waft of jasmine, a baby’s laughter? These moments infuse the day with depth and magic when we pause to soak them in. And then, to think that these little beautiful miracles are always unfolding around you as you go through the day, but often you just don’t notice–amazing! What a remarkable place we have here.

To experience a bit of awe and magic today, take a look at this gardening swan. Delightful!

Be on the lookout for a beautiful intrusion today.

Avoid the drift.

holdhands

Otters sleep holding hands. In the open water, it would be so easy for them to drift away from each other in the ebb and flow of the tides. They also use kelp to wrap around themselves, but there is something about the image of sleeping otters holding hands to stay connected that is utterly endearing.Sea_otters_holding_hands.jpg.638x0_q80_crop-smart.jpg

We, too, bounce around in rough seas, and it is easy to drift away from those we love. Distractions, distance, inattentiveness add up until you are apart, in the storm separately, rather than braving it together.

Today, work to avoid the drift away from those you love.

We are, each and every one of us, complex.

jigsaw

Imagine if you were known only by the single worst decision you ever made.

Yikes.

You know you are so much better than that one decision, and for everything you’ve done wrong in this life, you’ve done countless other better, meaningful, and inspiring things. And, yet, if people were to judge you by that one thing alone, they may not want to be with you or worse.

We live in a judgmental world, quick to condemn, quick to label, quick to stigmatize. But, deep down, we know we are all worthy of being treated as individuals, full of complexity.

How can you see beyond the quick judgments today?

Spotlight on Home

homeswithinSomething there is in each of us that yearns for home.  Sometimes we confuse that yearning with a physical place. We travel back to that place and wonder why it feels different. What has changed? Why doesn’t it still feel like home? Sometimes we confuse that yearning with a particular time, a past perhaps that wasn’t complicated with today’s troubles, and lose ourselves in nostalgia. Sometimes we confuse that yearning with a particular person and, if we lose that person, wonder if we will ever feel at home again.

But what if home is not a particular place in time but a feeling we can take steps to cultivate? Here are some suggestions that might bring that feeling of home into your life:

Embrace the Now

Think about those times when you felt a deep sense of belonging and contentedness. Chances are, it was when you were lost in some sort of activity, maybe with people you love, and you lost all sense of time. No checklists, no to-dos, no schedule. Just falling into the moment and letting it lift you out of the day into something bigger.

Welcome Others

Remember that old TV show, Cheers, when everyone shouted “Norm” when he came in? A place where “everyone knows your name?” That sense of welcome is something we can offer others. Greeting them, smiling, welcoming them into the conversation or community. That is a profound thing we can do, and that sense of home that we give to them will undoubtedly rebound to us and make that place in time feel more homey for everybody.

Lay Down Your Weapons

It is hard to enjoy someone else’s company when you’re disagreeing with them. Sure, some conflict is necessary and even healthy to life together, but set aside time to come together in harmony with people. Search for the common elements you agree on. Abandon the judgment and criticism. Enjoy a game or activity that deemphasizes competition. Savor the time together.

Use Your Own Definitions

It’s easy in a social media culture to look at other people’s homey pictures and events and think you need to duplicate those exact things if you want to feel the sense of home they’re experiencing. In fact, that’s one of the strategies behind advertising: “Look at these happy people. Don’t you want to be just like them? If you buy our product, you will be!’ But that comparative decision-making is a set up for disappointment. Instead, look at your people and experiences and find ways to enjoy them that are uniquely your own. And then maybe consider holding those moments a bit sacred, away from the instinct to share. Savoring your home life beats bragging about it every day.

Realize Life is Difficult

For many people, that feeling of home doesn’t include suffering or loss or heartbreak, but is this the way it should be? Isn’t that comforting of each other through the ups and downs of life exactly what home should feel like? We don’t need to run from the hardships in life, we just need to be there with each other through them. Everyone’s life has bumps and bruises. We are all vulnerable.  Pretending we aren’t and that we have the perfect home life is just a set-up for disappointment. For those of us who have weathered storms, having a friend or family member down in the trenches with us has made all the difference and made even the horrible experience feel like home.

Make Time for Your People

Who are the people you love and make you feel at home? Are you finding time to spend with them? Sometimes, even when we love people and hold them close to our hearts, we need to schedule time to spend together. It’s a fast-paced world, finding an opportunity to slow it down to spend time with your loved ones is important, even if you have to pencil it in on your schedule.

Your Roots are Global

The connections between you and anyone else in this world exist, no matter how far removed. For an eye-opening experiment into just this theory exactly, take a look at this DNA experiment.  That knowledge of connection to others, even those seemingly nothing like you or even those you hate, can ground you to see others as yourself, to greet others, to befriend others, to join into a global community where you can feel at home wherever you go.

Today, come home.

Carrot, stick, or something better?

playforher

Falling in love is one of the most powerful things we will ever do. It’s all consuming. We lose our boundaries and dive deep into exploration, spending hours learning about this “other”–person, sport, activity, place, hobby, whatever it may be. As time goes on, maybe we put our boundaries back up, or take things for granted, or revel in our own accomplishments or prowess. If so, remember back to when everything was new and startling. Remember back to when that love was young. How did it feel to drop your boundaries and protections and artifices and fall into the astonishment of discovering an all-consuming joy. That child lives in you still. Fall in love anew.

Wonder.

wonder

How lovely it is to stand still in the enormity of your questions. To realize that what you know is minuscule in relation to all there is to know. To let your curious mind take you on a journey of discovery. How liberating it is to lay down the facade of expertise and acknowledge that, in this world, we are all students.

The tortoise and the hare.

progress

Slow and steady wins the race. We get discouraged and stop, or chase after another enticing goal, or turn back. But, if we stay true, we will make progress. Remember the tortoise and the hare? They had a rematch recently:

 

An unfailing love.

 

home

How many kids these days are seen by their parents as just another way to show off? Look at my honor student, or my beauty, or my accomplished someone. It’s a way of vicarious puffing–if my kid is so smart, beautiful, wonderful, popular, surely the parent must be, too. But that’s not love; it’s pride. Love loves without having to be earned. It is steady and true. The parent who truly loves their child delights in their essence, in their idiosyncrasies, in all the ways they are their own person. That kind of love sustains a child and lets them lay down the shackles of constant performance anxiety and welcomes them home.

Consider Thomas Edison. We think of him as one of our most brilliant inventors, a shining star. Would it surprise you to know his teachers gave up on him and sent him home to be educated by his mother? She, needless to say, did not give up on him but helped him thrive. We all could use a love like that!

Your love canvas.

artistic

The artist creates something from nothing.  Being artistic requires a commitment to keep working, to keep seeing with fresh eyes, to keep trying. Each individual creation may or may not be beautiful, but the artist keeps creating, for it is how they express their love.

Love creates something from nothing. Where once there were strangers, now people are joined by an invisible bond that has substance if not weight. Maintaining that love requires constant effort. Like the artist, the lovers keep creating, keep striving for something more perfect, keep expressing their love.

Both art and love are expressed in the doing.