For a compulsively obsessive “people pleaser” that’s a hard pill to swallow- and I’m pretty sure I’m on the extreme end of the spectrum. My desperation for approval is close to embarrassing; the tiniest suggestion that my destructive behaviour may have to come to an end leaves me feeling unnerved. You see I kind of wear my constant desire to please other people as a badge of honour, I guess it makes me feel better about myself. It’s like the perfect antidote to my awkwardness.
The thought that someone may not like me leaves me with nightmares for days (or years) on end (true story by the way -this is not just a bit of hyperbole for dramatic effect.) For instance I have neighbours who despite my best efforts don’t like me. I think it became painfully obvious by the 8th year when I realised that they had never uttered a word to me. You would think that the unreciprocated Christmas cards would have given it away or maybe the time I walked their parcel over and I was treated like an intruder. I merely reasoned that perhaps “thank you’s “had gone out of fashion. Then there’s the long held suspicion that they send their dog to empty his bowels on our front yard. (I’m really close to proving that one – by the way is it illegal to install CCTV on your property?)
Anyways I digress; the point is it finally dawned on me that perhaps politeness hadn’t gone out of fashion (a bit too late I’d like to add.) My first reaction was to obsessively ponder why they didn’t like me. I mean come on; I’m an obsessive people pleaser, who doesn’t like people pleasers??!!
I wondered if it was my race, my height, perhaps my shape. Possibly my pink coat (what grown woman wears a big pink coat with all the fluffy trimmings?) Then I ran with the idea that they had an aversion to immigrants. After all the Patriarch of the family ran for a far right party (albeit unsuccessfully) – the slogan had words to the effect of getting immigrants out! On and on my head ran with various ideas of why they were evidently partial to my wonderful presence. Then the reoccurring dreams or nightmares started. They usually followed a similar pattern – I would give them a verbal dressing down, shame them with my kindness and (arguable) intelligence until they realised the error of their ways and begged my pardon. Then we would all live happily ever after as neighbours should…
Sad really, that so much time, effort, emotions and not to mention REM sleep (which happens to be the best part of the night) is dedicated to people that contribute very little to my life. So my lesson for the week is to not try so hard; not everyone will like me. That shouldn’t somehow translate to a negative thing, I can still be the best version of me; I can still be polite, kind and loving even to the neighbours that would probably benefit from a lesson or 2 in politeness. I can even be all the weird and eccentric things that make me, me. If somehow someone happens to not get “me” then that’s perfectly fine.
And back to the day job I go, but before I bid you all farewell, I would like to leave you with a few of the Amy grant lyrics that got me thinking.
“Do you remember how the summers felt when we were kids?
Oh, we didn’t think much about it, we just lived
Taking our time, beautiful leisure
When did we start, trying to measure up
When all of this time, love has been trying to tell us…
Don’t Try so hard.”