Bill Cosby is known for a lot of things. But one thing that many people don’t attribute to him is an incredibly honest and helpful quote that deals with a problem far too many people in this world have. He said, “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to FAILURE is trying to please everybody!” And, he hit the nail on the head with this one.
For many people – especially women, pleasing everybody in their intimate circle of friends and family is a favorite pastime. You will find however, that the more you try to please others, the more you do to make others happy, and the more you go out of your way to try and keep the masses happy – the less happy YOU will be. Plus, you can’t please everyone all the time. Doing so would be the equivalent of taking your family to a large buffet every single night for dinner rather than cooking at home, just so that the kids, the spouse, and the neighbors next door would be able to bite into something that they like. Not only is it cheaper to serve one meal at home, its also more economical, and in the end that will make you happier. And, going out to eat at buffet restaurant is not something that you would do just to please everyone around you. So why in the world are you trying to do so with every other part of your life?
The biggest reason that being a people pleaser is a bad idea (aside from the impossibility of it) is because doing so eventually leads to YOU giving up your own ideals of happiness and success. If you use all of your energy to make sure that the kids and the spouse and the boss and the teacher at your child’s school are happy, you leave out the most important person in the equation. YOU. Eventually, you will not only feel resentful but you will also feel like you are lost and will lose sight of the things in your life that make you happy. If you begin to search outside of yourself for happiness, or hope that others will give it to you, you won’t find it. Happiness comes from within. While people may add to your happiness (and take away from it), they cannot make you a happy person. Only you can do that, which is why it is so important to try and please yourself first.
Sure, it feels good to do nice things for other. Pleasing yourself first doesn’t mean you have to walk around this world as if you are the only one who exists. But it does mean that in your desire to make other people happy, you stay honest to your own happiness. This might mean turning down being the PTO president. It might mean not allowing your child to attend a birthday party on a day that you have already made plans. It might mean putting up with a whiney child at the dinner table because the family dinner is important to you. You might have to be honest with your boss that you cannot take the extra workload. You might even have to turn down sex with your partner because you are tired. And in some cases, it might upset other folks. You know what? That’s perfectly okay.
The key is balancing your needs and wants, your emotions and feelings with those of the other people in your life. If you focus is constantly on others, you will become filled with a sense of stress and anxiety that steals away your personal peace. Plus, you will realize that the more you give to others – the more they expect. Eventually you will become a drain. And other people will begin realizing that your inner spirit to make others happy is a good reason to take advantage of you.
There truly are worse things in life than having some one mad at you. One, is losing your self.
One reason that so many people spend all their time trying to please others is because they have misunderstood their lessons in life. Many people think that selfish and selfless are synonyms, when in fact they are not. Plus, people are always taught to treat others, as they would like to be treated. But this doesn’t mean being a doormat for folks to walk on. It also doesn’t mean that your own needs aren’t important. And no matter what – you will find that pleasing everyone is an impossible task. There is no way to please everyone, and keep your self happy in the mix.
The best advice if you are a people pleaser is to take control of what you say and do for others. Start taking inventory, and decide if you are a people pleaser simply because you want approval from others (or want them to like you), or because you feel like you are doing the best thing for yourself. Chances are the first scenario will be true. Most people who seek to please others are only looking for a way to feel connected, make friends, and remain copasetic among others in this world. And most of these people, who feel guilty for admitting that they do not have the time to participate in the bake sale – find at the end of the day, they are not happy with their own lives.
Are you a people pleaser? If so, be honest with yourself and try to ascertain how often your efforts to please others circumvent your own happiness. Is it worth it? The impossibility of making everyone happy should be reason enough to decide that making your self happy first and foremost should be your most important task.