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Pleasing the Most Important Person

Posted Apr 01 2010 8:00pm
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." -Bill Cosby

I admit it. I'm a people pleaser. I'm probably incredibly annoying. I'm one of those people who will repeatedly say "Is there anything else I can do for you?" "Is there anything else I can get for you?" "Did I do something wrong?" "I hope I didn't offend you by breathing too loudly."

Okay, that last one was a joke. Kind of.

I was always like this, even as a little kid. I needed everyone's approval. I needed everyone to like me. If someone didn't like me, there was obviously something wrong with me. It couldn't be that the other person had issues of their own. That wouldn't have even occurred to me. I had to get the best grades in school, and I had to be nice and polite always. Or else I was bad. A bad, evil, immoral person. As I got older, it wasn't enough to please other people. No, I had to please myself too. And my own standards were so much higher than anyone else's. I was the one constantly reprimanding myself in my head. "Why didn't you offer to help that old lady cross the street? You are so thoughtless!" "Why did you get an A? You should have gotten an A+."

It gets so tiresome. Your self esteem plummets and you grow weary just from being inside your own head. A while ago, I decided I wanted to combat this obsession, so I tried to picture myself as being another person entirely, an outsider looking in on my own life. In this image, I would scream at myself to just let it go already. I would say things like: You don't have to be perfect. You don't have to make everyone happy. You don't need everyone's approval. If someone doesn't like you, big deal.

I like to think that this has helped me, and I've gotten better. That I don't fall prey to this destructive and unreasonable thinking anymore. BUT...

Enter one of my family members. Someone who I love dearly, despite their tendency to pull the classic guilt trip.

"You never call me, you never come to my functions, and you are sick because you simply don't push yourself hard enough." That is the basic overview of what she said.

I know I shouldn't take this seriously. I know I should consider the source, and her history of being unreasonable and making people feel guilty for the silliest things. But I still managed to let it hurt me. Almost instantly, I felt like I was falling apart. I felt like I had wronged her so badly. I had ruined her week by not attending her party. And worst of all, she thinks I don't push myself hard enough. Does that mean that everything is my fault? I didn't push myself hard enough, and therefore I deserved everything I got in my life?

That was my initial gut reaction. Then I stopped. I breathed. And I forced myself to think logically. I came to the realization that I didn't ruin anything. These are the facts. She had a party and I had a good reason for not attending, which I shared with her from the start. There were so many people at her function...she probably didn't even notice I wasn't there. She was busy being a party host. She couldn't have been that deeply affected by my absence. Therefore, I did not ruin her night.
The last comment seemed like it was thrown in there to be deliberately hurtful. It isn't true that I don't push myself hard enough! I work my butt off, juggling classes and work and trying to be healthy. I try so hard to push forward, improve my life, recover from illness. How can I let someone else's words or opinions negate all the things that I do every day to "push myself"?

I wanted to share this with you so that I could tell you: sometimes you need to stop being your own worst critic, and start coaching yourself through the things that are hard. Life isn't easy and there will always be things that you wish you had done differently. This is true in general, and also true in terms of your relations with other people. You can't always rely on them to approve of you. You need to approve of yourself. You need to realize all of the things that you do right, instead of obsessing about the things you do wrong. If someone wants to blame you or think badly of you, then you need to let it go. Feeling guilty will tear you apart inside. All you can do on any given day is be yourself and be confidant with who that person is. The people who love you for being that person are the ones that you want to spend time with. And you won't have to worry about pleasing them...because when you are pleased with yourself, everything else falls into place.

End of speech.

Now, for some more food finds from yesterday:

Anyone who lives in Toronto and is vegan or vegetarian might know of Live Organic Food Bar . Well, they sell their products to health food stores! So I decided to try some of their raw granola. This is the Super Hero flavour, with sunflower, sesame, hemp and flax seeds, and goji berries, cacao nibs, maca, and agave. "A superfood snack high in protein".
I love this alternative to peanut butter...Crunchy Sunbutter . (Made with sunflower seeds)
Crofter's Organic Wildblueberry Fruit Spread .
Okay, so I'm showing you all of this because I went out on a limb today and made a new breakfast concoction that so many bloggers seem to love. I felt that I should jump on the bandwagon, and honestly, I was getting into a Vega smoothie rut. I love my Vega smoothies, but I really shouldn't be eating the same things every day so I wanted to switch it up. I'm actually really proud of the picture because I think it looks mildly appetizing as opposed to most of my pictures, which always look funky (and not in a good way). Anyway, it was a delicious combination. It includes: 1/3 cup rolled oats cooked in 2/3 cup almond milk, 1/2 small banana, a sprinkle of the raw granola, pinch of cinnamon, and a small dab each of the fruit spread and the sunbutter.

On another note, I wanted to share some things from around the web that caught my eye.

First of all, a very interesting article that Kim posted on her blog about self-defeating behaviours . Check it out, if you haven't already, and you can read Kim's post about it too. It makes you more aware, if not of your own behaviour, than certainly that of others. I'm such a psychology nerd; I love reading stuff like this and relating it to real life situations.

I also came across Rachel 's blog and this hilarious video post about artificial sweeteners. This girl is just so funny, I love how she isn't afraid to say anything "taboo". The stuff she says about artificial sweeteners is legit, but the way she says it is what really hits the message home. You might also want to check out her No-Asshole Diet . Funny stuff.

That's all for tonight. I'm rolling up the yoga mat and going to bed. Have a wonderful, well-rested night!
xoxo Lauren
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