Pleaser’s Paradox

We say “yes” to others at the expense of ourselves because we are ‘unable’ to say “no.”

Why?

The fear of losing love? Fear of disappointing others? The need to be ever present? Ever available? To prove one’s value/worth? To retain some sort of control? To avoid our own lives? 

We suffocate our self/best interest because, the idea of saying “yes” to yourself– especially if it means saying “no” to others, is unnerving.

Why does me > you?

Are we not meant to help others? Are we not meant to serve a higher purpose then ourselves? Selflessness is a virtue, right? 

Or, is saying yes to others more  self-serving/preservation?

Saying yes to oneself is to take accountability for one’s life; one’s happiness. With this comes responsibility:

Who will we have to blame for our unhappiness? 
Perhaps it is easier to live a life of servitude, a ‘victim’ of circumstance then take accountability for our own lives, but is that not a choice we make? 

Perhaps it is easier for me to help you achieve your goals then to pursue mine, because if I pursue mine and fail… How will I live with that? That’s far too heavy a burden to carry. But if I help with yours, I can console myself, “I couldn’t follow my dreams because I was helping him/her pursue theirs.” 

Let me say yes to you because I’m afraid of saying yes to myself? Or, let me say no to myself because it’s easier then saying no to you?

If that’s the case, is there even such a thing as people pleasing? I please you because it pleases me to do so. I serve you because I want to or because I don’t want to serve myself. 

So, who are we really pleasing?  

Still am. 

I still am

reactive. emotional. intense. overwhelming. elusive. sarcastic. dramatic. naive. immature. codependent. independent. petty. evil. hurt. jaded. jealous. small. cocky. tenacious. persistent. annoyingly persistent. adamant. stubborn. a believer. reluctant to believe. conflicted. honest. hesitant. hidden. analytical. observant. selective. boundless. guarded. unwanted. desired. a try-hard. a tries-too-hard. determined. disciplined. self-doubtful. angry. enraged. resilient. inadequate. over-thinker. passionate. eager. anxious. misguided. misinterpreted. compassionate. argumentative. irrational. ignorant. educated. wise. oblivious. strong. straightforward. verbose. performer. powerful. hungry. lustful. aggressive. insatiable. competitive. arrogant. guilty. remorseful. sorry. condemned. romantic. hopeful.

still am more than words, actions, and feelings in conflict with one another. More so now than ever.

I still am human and Istill aspire to be more than that. Sometimes I still delude myself into believing I am.

I still struggle every day (for a better tomorrow).

I no longer fight without fear of pain or failure because I know what pain and failure feels like (now). So I fight to avoid that pain, I fight to avoid that failure. 

Sometimes I win. 

Sometimes I retreat to fight another day.

Always fighting (if only with myself). Always struggling (if only to keep up with my own expectations). Always hoping (that one day, it will all be worth it). 

Growing Pains 

There is always someone willing to do what you refuse to, or hesitate to do. Waiting. Anticipating.

A friend once told me, “life is adversity.” 

Buddhism has taught me, life is suffering

Prima facie, these notions appear pessimistic, though they are not. If we concede that life is suffering and full of struggles, we enable a happier life. Less disappointment. Less discouragement.

I try to exude positivity and joy, but it would be fallacious to say that I embody positivity and joy all the time.

Nor would I want to.

Dark times have the potential to turn friends into enemies and family into strangers. Dark times also have potential to be cultivated into something powerful.

I’m learning. Fumbling my way through this process of cultivating my (better) self. Writing, training, conversing with others and reflecting on all of the above have been the foundations for my development in this area.

I may not be there yet; but I am not who I used to be.

Monsters Inc.

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We stopped looking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us.” – Jordyn Berner

Freud was a big believer in making the unconscious, conscious. His younger colleague, Carl Jung, further developed the concept and has since become one of the prominent figures in “shadow” work.

The idea of a ‘dark side’ or a ‘darker side’ is not necessarily unfamiliar territory for many us. Consider anger, anger is often attributed as being a dark or negative feeling.

But is it?

When we strip the emotions of the cultural and societal stigmas and judgement; i.e, learned responses, what defines what is a good feeling and what is bad feeling?

Anger can be productive. It can be even be enlightening. When channeled towards a good purpose, anger could easily be mistaken for passion, determination and/or ambition And surely, those emotions are not negative. It is good to be passionate; recommended, even. But even passion could be ‘bad’ — what if you are passionate for the wrong thing. Or the wrong person.

The question then becomes what is good and what is bad? How do we define each? Are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mere opinions? Judgements based on our preconceived notions of right and wrongdoing?

In the legal context, right and wrong are established by laws, but even laws change. Killing is wrong, but if in self-defense, is it right? We punish those who act outside of what society, religious leaders and politicians have decided as right; but who informed their judgement? We continue to judge those who behave outside what we have learned to accept as normal, but who are we to judge? Could it not be that our own judgements are ill-informed and wrong?

I have obsessed over the idea of a dark side and light side for years, there are qualities, characteristics and feelings which I have attributed to my dark side; I call him Mr. Hyde, but even in that recognition, it is clear I have categorized qualities resembling those embodied by the character in the novel as ‘Mr. Hyde’-like. What is this need to categorize?

What, or who, have we missed out on because our preconceived notions of good and bad suggested that they were bad people? Because their philosophy didn’t coincide with ours? Their life path differed from ours?  Their upbringing reflected values different than ours?

“She reacted differently (to me)” Bad.

“I wouldn’t have reacted like that.” Dismissive.

Granted these are grand conclusions from particular examples, but it almost begs the question whether ‘different’ (to me/what I know) is what we have come to define as bad?

Something to think about: “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” ― Rumi.

Triangle

“I swear, it’s as if you go out searching for ways to complicate your life.”

I heard the judgement and disappointment in his voice.

“I don’t know what to tell you, it.. just.. kinda.. happened. I don’t know.”

“I don’t understand how these things just happen to you. I mean, first Richard, now this… Honestly mate, what goes through your head?”

I stood there in silence, unable to meet his gaze. Richard had forever been my moral compass; my anchor. I knew I should have told him earlier, but I couldn’t. That should’ve been the first red herring.

What was I thinking?

I knew there would be no happy ending. Someone, at some point was bound to get hurt and I could deny it all I wanted, but I knew that that someone would inevitably be me. Maybe that’s why I didn’t tell anyone. Who would support such masochism?

I stood before my best friend, as I had many times before, broken pieces of my hear in hand, waiting for him to help me put them together once again.

 

 

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