Why Trying to Please Everyone is Futile

An old man, a boy and a donkey were going to town.  The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked beside him.  As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding.  The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people who remarked, “What a shame! He makes that little boy walk.” They then decided they both would walk.

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So they both rode the donkey.

Later, they passed some people who shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey.  The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.

As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal, and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story? If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye.

If you are a people pleaser then you most likely possess the following characteristics:

* Say “yes” to everyone and everything, every time.
* Experience tremendous anxiety about disappointing others.
* Decided, at a very young age, that trying to please others, especially one of your parents, would earn you the love you wanted and needed.
* You haven’t yet learned how to honor yourself, by doing what is right for you, first.
* You tend to assume a neutral role when people ask you for your opinion.
*  You find yourself exhausted from all of your efforts to please.
* You avoid feeling guilty at all costs.

You have a choice: you can either work on pleasing yourself, which will bring you joy and happiness or you can work on the futile effort of  pleasing everyone else and feel consistently empty.

Learning to say “No” is a challenge for many of you.

One way to build up to “No-saying” is to learn how to say “Let me get back to you about that”, when someone asks you to do something.

This will give you time to really think about whether or not you can commit to the task.

At some point, your accommodation to other’s needs will create such confusion that you will feel totally lost.

You will find that you really don’t know how to trust yourself to make decisions for yourself.

You will find that no matter how much you try to “win people over”, there will always be  at least one person from whom you will never gain approval.

It can be scary, at first, to let other people have their opinions, especially if they differ from yours and especially, if they are family members.

You will respect yourself much more if you learn to say “No” to a few opportunities.

You will respect yourself much more if you accept that you will still be valuable and liked, by the right people, when you set healthy boundaries for yourself and with others.

You will respect yourself much more when you give yourself permission to focus on what is good for you and not what is good for everyone else.

My hope for you is that you will take this opportunity to think about the next person or thing that you will decline and then say to yourself, “Self, everything will be just fine.  I don’t have to do everything that everyone asks of me. I am fine just the way I am.  And, they will be too. I am not hurting anyone.  I am helping myself.”

With these few words, you will begin to close the gap between pleasing others and pleasing yourself.

And, with each success you have in focusing on pleasing yourself, your confidence will grow and you will let go of the guilt you carry.

In love and light,
Janis
www.cohenfamilycounseling.com

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