The March Slice of Life Story Challenge is hosted by http://www.twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
Happy International Women’s Day! Advice for my Younger Self
Today the Google image celebrates International Women’s Day. The reflection question under the search box reads, “What advice would you give your younger self? I would use this quote to begin (I’m not sure who used these words first. I stole the quote from Facebook):
“As I have grown older, I’ve learned that pleasing everyone is impossible, but pissing everyone off is a piece of cake.”
Definitely! If you ask anyone who knew me 25 years ago what I was like, he or she would probably tell you that I was a “people pleaser.” I spent most of my childhood and early adult life making sure that everyone else was happy. It’s not even that I wasn’t happy. I was. I just always put others and their needs first. Now you might also think, “Well, what’s wrong with that?” I can tell you from experience that there’s nothing wrong with that. I still want others to be happy, safe, and satisfied. But now that I’m older, I know that I must focus on the happiness, safety, and satisfaction that count, and not every little event needs to be perfect all the time. As a matter of fact, pleasing everyone IS impossible. No matter what I do, I will make some people happy, for the time being, and some people will be left with that sense of longing, for that same period.
I remember specific times in my life when I put one person first, and sure enough, another person would say, “You don’t think for me.” Crazy! I would actually feel guilty for not being able to do two activities at once, be at two places at one time, give to one and not the other. Of course, pissing everyone off is a piece of cake. Most of the time, I would piss myself off. When would I learn? I had to make choices, and those choices may benefit someone else, but in the end, I had to make the choice that I thought was best — for the situation…for me!
Now that I’m older, I spend more time doing things I want to do and making choices based on what I think is needed at any one point. No one is standing in my way. No one is saying that I shouldn’t do “x” instead of “y.” I am not guilty if I don’t come through at the immediate moment of perceived need. I didn’t realize it when I was younger, but pleasing everyone is impossible. Now that I’m older, I understand that people won’t use me to get what they want unless I allow it. We can all be happy, safe, and satisfied by helping each other to live life to the fullest.
My advice to my younger self? Don’t be a “people pleaser.” It won’t get you, or anyone else, anywhere. Be a good person: speak and act appropriately. Have a good sense of humor. Help others more than you help yourself, but make sure it is really going to make a difference in the long run. Live your dreams. And…
Bake a Cake. Share It. That won’t piss anybody off!
March 8, 2015 at 7:29 PM
I’m definitely learning how to not be a people pleaser! Thanks for a great post. It really got me thinking about what I would tell my younger self. Your last line was especially excellent!
March 8, 2015 at 7:31 PM
LOL! I HAD to end on a positive note, right? That was a hard slice to write for me. Becoming wiser is not all it’s cracked up to be!
March 8, 2015 at 8:10 PM
I’ve started to realize this over the past several years, but it is still sometimes hard to accept that someone is always going to be unhappy.
March 8, 2015 at 10:05 PM
I know! I don’t like it, but it’s a fact.
March 8, 2015 at 9:20 PM
Figuring out how to please other people is sometimes a lot easier than trying to figure out what I want and would be happy with. I can really relate to your post!
March 8, 2015 at 10:06 PM
I know exactly what I want, but I spend time doing other activities for other people first. It’s a nice idea, but is it always necessary, right now, at this moment? I have learned to prioritize better.
March 8, 2015 at 9:21 PM
You never know…you might make someone’s least favorite cake. People have a knack for complaining no matter what, so why try so hard!
March 8, 2015 at 10:08 PM
Oh, my! I would hope that everyone likes my cake; see, that’s the problem! LOL (My nephew likes blueberry PIE better than anything.)
March 9, 2015 at 8:24 PM
This post makes me nod and smile. We teachers are givers, and it’s hard to learn that line of giving based on what we believe in and want to stand behind versus giving what we think others want us to give. I’m sure this translates into many aspects of life outside of work, but, for me, as a literacy coach, it rings sooo true professionally.
March 9, 2015 at 9:38 PM