Anyone out there a people pleaser? Need positive feedback? You always want to make everyone happy and to like you. You are mortally wounded when someone doesn’t melt from your charm and wonderfulness? It’s hurtful when people don’t warm up to you immediately. You wonder what you did wrong? They didn’t invite you to be part of their family the first day they met you? Devastating.
Alright, maybe that is a bit exaggerated. That kind of behavior would border on psychotic but you get the idea.
I used to be a little bit like that. Maybe I am still a tad bit that way. The good news is that I no longer allow it to cloud the way I feel about myself. Much.
See, I have always prided myself on being “nice.” I wanted everyone to like me and if they didn’t I wondered what was wrong with me. The older I got, however, the more I realized that not everyone was going to like me no matter what I did. Some people make fast judgments when you meet them based on things you can’t control. Some people don’t care that you are nice. They don’t trust that. Some people don’t want a new relationship no matter who you are. Some people just suck.
Actually, a lot of people suck. They suck at being friends. They suck at being friendly. They suck at communication. They suck at thinking about others. They suck at basic manners. They suck at being people. Sometimes I suck too.
Besides that, what I first realized was that the only person I have to please is Jesus. As a Christian, He’s my priority. However, there is also no earthly thing I can do to ever truly please him. I can’t earn my way to heaven no matter how many homeless people I feed, clothe or give spare change to. I could take them into my house and give them a job and babysit their kids and I still couldn’t earn a thing. In fact, the only thing I can do to earn anything of value is to simply accept the most expensive thing freely given: salvation. Jesus did all the work and I have to do is accept. This is an amazingly difficult step for SO many people. Most people actually. Apparently excellent free stuff is hard to give away. Crazy.
So if HE is the only one I have to please and there is no way I can do that other than giving up and just doing it His way, then where does that leave me with other people? Good question.
I can spend all my time trying to please other people and never winning. I can spend all of my time trying to please myself and never winning. I can spend all my time trying to make money to buy things to impress people who don’t like me. I can totally ignore other people and live as a hermit (actually sometimes that sounds like the best option…)… Or maybe I can “Let it go” as that incredibly obnoxious song says.
Well as annoying as I find it, I have found that “letting it go” so to speak has been helpful. I’ve let go of the idea that everyone must love me. I’ve let it go and admitted to myself that I really don’t like everyone else. I’ve let it go that you can do everything in your power to please someone else and they can still ignore you or put you down. I’ve let it go and erased a lot of people from Facebook. I’ve even let it go and started wearing sneakers again (even though someone I once dated found is so abhorrent that I stopped wearing them for many years).
What I didn’t give up is always trying to love other people as they are. Why? Because although I may not like people for whatever reason, I am called to love others by virtue of being a Christian. Now, lest you think I am taking this out of context my bible reading friends, I know that we are called to love one another (Christians). This is how non-believers are supposed to recognize us. What I mean is that I try to always look at other people, believer or non-believer as Christ might look at them. As broken and in need of saving. We were all incredibly offensive to Christ, yet there he hung on the cross for us. So how can I do any less for someone else?
This doesn’t mean I am a floor mat. Au contraire. Even Jesus gave people chances (over and over and over) to understand and hear as he preached but jumped to action when the offense was too much to bear. Like in the temple when he cleared the merchants tables. “Cleared” might actually be putting it mildly. It’s ok to stand up for yourself. I can forgive but I don’t have to forget and let someone keep doing bad things. That would just be stupid. Or pathological.
I also don’t have to sugar coat everything and say things specifically to make people like me. I can can just be me and tell the truth about myself. I don’t have to like things other people like just so they might like ME. Nor do I have to do things I don’t like to make other people like ME. In fact, the ONLY reason I, as a Christian, should be doing things for other people (especially if I don’t like it) is to do it for God’s glory, not mine. Whatever I do should be to direct any attention to HIM. Yet STILL a lot of people will find offense. I personally cannot win this game. It is not mine to win. (And that’s probably a good thing…)
Alright. So if you have hung in there with me this far, hang with me for just another moment and I promise I will get to the point.
Striving at minimalism, I have read about getting rid of stuff. I’ve read about getting rid of “toxic” relationships. I have read about getting rid of expectations. We are supposed to eliminate the superfluous to get to the “meat” and focus on what really matters. Give up all the little crappy things and keep only the really good stuff. Figuring out which is which is occasionally painful yet freeing. For me, one of the things cluttering up my life were unrealistic expectations and desires for things, tangible and not, that were hurting me when they were unmet. One of these things are relationship expectations. Another thing has been to be “liked.” I am now trying to let these things go.
So, I know that not all of my patients like me when I tell them things they don’t want to hear. But I am still going to tell them because I care and I want to provide the best healthcare I can. I know my children won’t like me when I tell them things they don’t want to hear but I am still going to tell them not to do things that will injure them. I know other people won’t always like it when I talk about Jesus but I will because we all need a savior. And when any one doesn’t like me for any reason I am learning to be ok with that. I can’t change who I am fundamentally.
Really, I “Just gotta be me” and hope that some people “get” me. Maybe someday I will have a best friend again. Maybe not. I am not alone (although that all probably makes me sound really pathetic, lol). Jesus always has my back.
** I don’t know exactly who to credit the photo above to but I love this woman. I’m thinking she doesn’t give a crap what anyone else thinks, heh. I borrowed it from Jenny Josephs post last year.