…. ..so you got to please yourself. ~ Rick Nelson
“May you soar on eagle wings, high above the madness of the world.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Just be you. Which means, live how you see fit for you, not how you think you “should ” live. As long as
you’re not hurting anyone live how you will.
Everyone gets criticized for some reason whether the person is deserving or not. Destructive and constructive criticism are things most everyone will experience occasionally or frequently.
If you are thin you will get talked about negatively for it. If you are not thin it’s the same story. You’ll be criticized for it. If you get divorced or your husband/wife dies and you move on or move forward quickly, you’ll be called “cold” or “in denial” or on the rebound but if you take a while to heal and move forward you will be called “weak” or “stuck” or be talked about for “Not getting over it”. If you have kids when you’re very young or kids with multiple fathers you will be gossiped about but if you have no kids, same story. If you are politically Liberal/Dem you’ll be bashed. Conservative/Repub.? You’re being verbally bashed for it as you read this, this very moment. Religious or theistic? You’ll be criticized. Atheist? Same thing. Libertarian. Moderate. Still insulted by others.
If you dress in revealing clothing you are called a slut or sleaze or attention whore. But if you dress conservatively you’re a prude. If you participate in sexual activity when you aren’t married or with more than one person you’re a slut, according to some. But if you don’t participate in sexual activity much you’re a prude, a tease, or need to loosen up, some people claim.
If you drink alcohol and go to clubs or bars, you are “trashy ” or immature or whatever but if you do none of that you’re a loser or boring or whatever.
If you’re a stay at home mom you’ll be criticized for that but if you’re a career woman with children then you can be sure you’ll be criticized for that as well.
If you move in with your lover before marriage people will talk. And if you wait until after you’ll be called “crazy”, old fashioned, odd.
If you get married “too young” you will be told about it but “too old” and you’re also criticized. Not married at all? Same thing.
If you’re rich you will be criticized. If you are successful you will also be.
If you’re financially struggling, poor, homeless you will be too.
If you don’t like how you look, you are called a loser or attention seeker.
If you are very confident and love how you look, you are considered stuck up, conceited…
No matter what your occupation or job is, great or not, there is someone who has negative views of that.
If you help people constantly and give generously you will be seen by some as a pushover or someone who is weak and caves but then when you get a backbone and say no to people who ask excessively, you will be viewed by some people as unforgiving or a bitch or non caring.
This goes for everyone, children and adults alike. It’s a hard struggle wanting and feeling the need to constantly be accepted and liked by every one in every way. It’s not going to happen. Some people’s identities are so wrapped up in and intertwined in the idea of what other people think or want or what other people like or the media prefers or what society as a whole accepts or desires or thinks, that they aren’t even sure anymore (if they ever were in the first place) what their own true opinions, desires, and needs are.
Whatever society, the media, or other people want/s becomes some people’s false identity and they mistakenly believe it to be their own. They try so so hard to please others or be well liked and respected by other people that they forget or lose the focus or bury who they truly are beneath layers and layers of desire and attempts to satisfy other people.
For some people, often adolescents, they do whatever it takes to “fit in” with their friends even if it means giving up their own likes and desires.
But this isn’t just a teenage struggle; it can be experienced by people of any age, old or young. We often like to think that as we grow up, we completely stop caring about pleasing others and what they think and just be true to ourselves but as appealing as that sounds, it’s not always the truth. Many adults still do care too often.
For some, it’s often their families they try desperately to be accepted by and go to great lengths to obtain this acceptance even if it means denying parts of themselves.
And for many people, it’s the media or society as a whole that they set out to gratify by doing or acting or dressing or trying to look….how they think will please most people or at least the people portrayed in the popular media, the ones they think are “cool” or the best looking or the ones most people seem to like.
There’s an unseen audience or invisible judges in our heads who we feel the need to please. “What will ‘they’ think of me?”
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to fit in, be loved, and be accepted. That is a natural human trait, wanting social acceptance.
“While it is natural to feel some degree of
need for the approval of others, be careful.
If you find yourself unwilling to
take actions that others disapprove of,
you have lost control of your own life
and have given your destiny to others.
An excessive need-for-approval
is a sign of low self-esteem,
and in severe cases, a condition termed co-dependency.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
But when you deny parts of who you really are to please “most people” or ones who demand you to be what you are not, it’s unhealthy and wrong to yourself.
Some girls don’t like their bodies and when asked why, all they can come up with is because their bodies are not considered society’s definition of “beautiful.” and if they really stop and truly look and think, they realize that they themselves actually do not have any problem with how they look other than the fact that they feel “ugly” or “unattractive ” by someone else’s view and standards, not their own. And they have been wanting to change for someone else’s acceptance, not their own, self acceptance.
Some people grow up feeling the need to accomplish a certain thing, like a certain education or occupation(actually believing they want that) and when asked why and they really think about it, it’s only because that’s what the family of that person expects and wants, not because the person truly wants it.
They may have been feeling all along that something is missing or not right but not knowing why until they realize they are fulfilling their family’s dreams, not their own.
People may get angry and maybe insult you and reject you or argue with you if you allow your true self to show but it’s healthier, I believe, to experience that and learn to cope and rise above, than to repress yourself and suffocate who you truly are, just to appease others.
Criticism isn’t fun when it’s not directed by people with good intentions. When it’s designed to slander, infuriate, hurt, or embarrass people, it’s detrimental and just toxic but we can’t always avoid it. All we can do is empower ourselves and suck it up and handle it.
It’s ok to be like most people in some ways.
And it’s ok to be different than most people in some ways.
“You do not need anyone’s permission to be your true self.”
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
But in my opinion, we should not go out of our way to force ourselves to be similar or to be different.
If you truly fit in and are “normal ” that’s great but if you are dramatically different somehow that’s great too! As long as you allow your true self to emerge.
It takes a lot to apply this. It must be learned and practiced. And it won’t always be easy or feel pleasant. You may feel uncomfortable or awkward or embarrassed or in pain expressing your true self only to be met with hostility and ridicule by others but in my opinion in the long run, it’s for the best. If you repress the true you, you will probably have more deeper, longer lasting pain than the kind you will have not being appreciated by some people.
I have been working very frequently for a couple weeks, feeling somewhat overworked and very fatigued and exhausted. With severe (although not unbearable and stretching helps) back pain because of a messed up sleep schedule. I work at night and come home after 11:00pm and force myself to stay up late to read or listening to music because the rest of the day is taken over by work or a restless sleep and I can’t do anything for fun then. Then I get up early for work again all groggy with very little energy and much pain. It feels as if currently my life is nothing but work and fatigue, the kind that won’t allow me to do much of anything.
And I have been giving too much again, to people who take advantage. And it’s forcing me to lose touch with my deep inner myself.
I have been longing deep inside, to go deep within, deep within myself and venture and explore more than I usually do. It’s a hunger. A pining for depth and self nourishment, for my innermost thoughts and truths.
I have been reading about and listening to audios about lucid dreaming and dream interpretations and meditation.
All of this got me thinking more about what I wrote above about true Self and the struggle to be true to you but to also please as many people as possible.
Sometimes when I am faced with a difficult decision I contemplate all of my options and when I’m considering one, I think about what some people will think about me for making that choice. And when I think of a different option I think about what different people would think of me for making that choice.
And the truth is no matter what choice I make, someone will be unhappy with me or think negatively of me for my decision.
And it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what decision is what I truly want. In the end I remind myself that and I will not succumb and make a choice based on what others think of me or may think of me.
Recently I was faced with an unpleasant decision. Someone who has been taking constant advantage of my kindness and my willingness to frequently help out approached me.
This person yet again has asked me for another favor shortly after intentionally causing trouble for me. I have been doing less for her but not as a punishment or for revenge but to show that people cannot do whatever they please and I ‘ll still be at their service no matter what. That is self disrespect and shows that they can get over on me whenever they feel like it. It is my job, my responsibility to let people know where I stand and that they cannot use me to their advantage while not caring one bit what trouble they cause for me.
I have to send a message by how I treat myself.
This resulted in a bit of a quarrel with the two of us. I am not someone who favors arguing. I hardly ever argue. By arguing, I mean negatively interacting with people in an extremely unpleasant way. I don’t yell and curse and insult or even really get loud and I don’t keep things up and drag things out. I have disagreements and sometimes even a lousy attitude against people who I think deserve it. But I am not one to seriously argue.
I know that if I chose to help the girl out I would be seen as a pushover and maybe weak minded by some people. But I also know that if I chose to reject her request I would be seen, by some, as cold or unforgiving or someone who cannot forget or someone who doesn’t care.
I’m none of those things. And I decided to forget what “they will think” and look within and see what I really want to do. Neither decision will make me bad or confirm some sort of character flaw in me.
I looked within and I chose
That’s who I am. I am someone who longs to help others and so I did.
Not out of fear or awkwardness or weakness but a true desire to help.
She did not say sorry for any of the trouble she has been causing, all she does is deny it, but yet I can feel forgiveness swelling in me.
The feelings fluctuate: anger and grudge then forgiveness. A resurgence of fury. Then it mellows out again into a warmth of forgiveness.
I have also been struggling with the concept of boundaries. When does my forgiveness become a weakness? Does it ever? Does being angry and holding a grudge and not helping her anymore entail some sort of strength? What about my image? How can I find the correct balance for me? How will I know it when I find it? Is there a healthy way I can forgive but still stand my ground and not be used?
I have decided to still help her occasionally but not as often as I have and not when it will be an inconvenience to me like I used to do. I will forgive to the point I’m not bitter and I will not be hostile in my encounters with her.
I will still be someone who goes out of my way to help people in general.
But this does not entail a future of slaving to others constantly. I will make each decision as I go along based on my experiences, thoughts, and knowledge then. It is a struggle having to decide who I put first. Them or me. When they take advantage and are unkind and I still have a strong desire to help. There has to be a healthy balance. I will not always be coldly selfish and brush people off but I will also not wear myself out in attempts to help the undeserving.
It’s probably an old cliche but the people who won’t accept you as you are are undeserving of you in their lives.
Even if a choice you make will make everyone or most people happy it doesn’t mean you should do that. If being true to your inner self means sometimes standing alone and going against the masses, you may want to stand alone.
As Rick Nelson sings, “…But it’s all right now
I learned my lesson well
You see you can’t please ev’ryone so
You got to please yourself”
Some things I have found which help guide me on my quest for venturing and nourishing, and exploring within are:
Quiet moments of reflection:
When I have a few moments to drown out the background noise and the clatter of the world around me, it helps me to just be. Be with the calm. The still. My breath. Let go of my anxious, depressing, infuriating, negative, stressful thoughts and just be.
Similar to the above. I like to do this at night especially. Just go into a deep rest and focus on the source of being, which is breath. And focus on all the aspects and sensations of my body and let go of thoughts other than the present moment. When my “mind” turns to thoughts other that my breath or bodily sensations, which it will, then I gently guide it back to breath and sensation.
Look in a mirror: look into a mirror. What do you see? What do you feel? Look deep into your eyes and see beyond the irises, the pupils, the physical characteristics of you and into your self. Or look at your body. What do you like? Why? What do you not like? Why not? Don’t just answer briefly, abruptly. Really think.
Write: write in a journal. Explore yourself. Write whatever comes to your head. Think about problems you have or have had, struggles you wish to explore or eradicate and dreams you have while you sleep or dreams you wish to realize. Think about your accomplishments and your longings. What do you yearn for? Don’t set any rules for your writing in this case. Just let your head take you wherever it will and write.
Answer questions: there are some deep questions you can contemplate and ask yourself. Like: what are some of the greatest life lessons you learned? Who is the strongest person you know? What does love feel like? What is it to love? What makes you feel alive? Why do you put off doing what you love? What motivates you to be your best? What are lessons you have learned that aren’t taught in school? What is your greatest accomplishment? Why? What do you want to succeed in? What is success to you? Why?
You can go here for hundreds of these sorts of questions :
Notice how you feel at this very moment: how do you feel now? Do you know why you feel this way? Would you like to feel this more or less often? How do you think you can do that?
I’m currently reading a book by Sarah Ban Breathnach, called “Something More (Excavating Your Authentic Self)”, a book designed to help and encourage us go deep within and find and nourish the true one deep inside.
Sarah Ban Breathnach beautifully illustrates how no matter how many wonderful people we know and love, how many great material objects we possess, even if we have great work that we love, we may still long for more to be happy. Why do we feel as if we still need more? Because we do! No, not more material objects or people, necessarily, but what we need is to uncover our true inner selves and express that Self and embrace her and accept her and love her unconditionally. I haven’t read the entire book yet, not even most of it. But I already love it.
Sarah Ban Breathnach is an amazing person, a great author, and an inspiration to the world.
I have read her book, “
Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy”.
This book is one of the ones which has the greatest impact on me and one of my biggest aids in my journey of recovery of severe Psychotic Depression ( Major Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features) which I have been diagnosed with some years ago and struggled with for over a decade, and my quest for more simplicity, self-love, gentleness, and greater joy.
She writes with so much gentleness, love, passion, and compassion and encourages us to be gentle and loving with ourselves. Her writing is a guide to help us find joy in simplicity and experience true self love.
Nothing is more valuable than your self respect.
When you lose respect for yourself, you have lost everything.
Whatever it takes, and whoever you upset,
do what you know – deep inside – is the right thing.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Today, I Respect And Enforce The Boundaries I Have Set.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie
“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” -Buddha
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation; your reputation is what other people say and think of you, your character is who you truly are.”