For much of my life, I have suffered from a condition known as people pleasing. I cared so much about pleasing others that I would often take steps to please others that would be disadvantageous to myself. I’ve done favors for people who’d never do the same for me, hung out with people who had no interest in being my friend, etc. I cared more about making others happy with me than making myself happy. The root of this is a lack of self respect; it was not enough for me to like myself, I had to be sure that others liked me so that I would know that I was a likable person.
This led to other problems. When others didn’t understand me and where I was coming from, I felt very hurt. People didn’t understand my devotion to martial arts or building a life around martial arts or why that’s even important to me. It is especially hurtful when people close to me don’t understand my life goals. It used to hurt a lot.
The cure to this of course is realizing one thing: I am just as worthy as they are. My opinions about myself and how I live my life are just as good as theirs. In fact, mine are better because I am the expert on me, and you are the expert on you. The only person in the whole world who has been with me every step of the way is ME. Therefore I am the best authority on who I am and how I ought to live my life just like you are the best authority on you and how you should live your life.
It no longer bothers me when others don’t understand why I’m giving up going to a party because I have Taekwondo class tomorrow. I just don’t care anymore that no one else understands why I insist on striving to occupy myself as a martial artist instead of having a “real job” like an accountant, or a legal assistant, or corporate lacky. They just don’t understand, and I’m fine with that.
How could they understand anyway. They weren’t there when all I wanted to be as a child I stayed up all night every night wondering how to live the most virtuous life possible and found truth in the teachings of the martial masters; they weren’t there when I yearned everyday to find a way to break out of the typical life cycle; they weren’t there when all my wishes came true when I won a free month of classes at the Institute of Martial Excellences; they weren’t there when I cried at my color belt tests or when I broke my first brick; they weren’t there when I became a blackbelt nor felt all the meant to me; they weren’t there when I taught my first class or operated my first program and learned to be a leader; they have no idea the length or depth of the path I’ve traveled nor how much it has meant to everything I am and want to be, nor do they have a clue as to how much further I want to take it and why. And I’m okay with that. Because I now know that it’s more than good enough for just me to know.
But know this: the highest compliment anyone can ever pay me is to take a moment to seriously contemplate who I am and why I do the things I do. If you take just a moment to try to see why I’m doing the things I’m doing and who I am, then you are a truer friend than many who claim to be my friends. I always strive to see others as they see themselves, and it would honor me if you did the same for me.
Free yourself from trying to please others and just live your own life. It’s a pretty cool life, and if you don’t live it, who will?
Picture source: http://digital-photography-school.com/12-super-silhouette-shots
PS: There are a handful of people in the whole world who have taken the time to understand who I am, and you know who you are. Thank you for your love and support – it means the world to me. I want to do everything I can to return the gesture.