To be very honest, I’ve spent a majority of my life as a people pleaser. As a teenager, I was an annoying student, who always preferred sitting alone. I was quite popular with the other students. Ah, not because I was the stud of the class, but because I used to help people complete their assignments. I used to do all of this just in order to please my peers in the hope that this would make them love and respect me.
Nothing changed when I completed my 12th and began going to college. When my friends or batchmates were busy bunking classes in college and getting up to no good at college fests, I was busy playing mind games. I was quite popular with the teachers. Whenever the teachers used to teach, my peers used to be busy gossiping but I used to be busy taking down notes. I used to complete all the assignments and tasks assigned to me well before time. I wasn’t a popular guy amongst my batchmates.
Ah, okay, okay, I was popular with my batchmates but only when I helped them in completing their assignments. I remember the day when as many as 15 people came to me requesting me to complete their practical files and I had to stay awake the entire night in order to complete their godforsaken practical files,not even a page of which was complete. But, for some unknown reason, all these acts of mine did not make me very popular with my batchmates/peers or whatever you may want to call them and I stayed up many nights in order to ascertain the reason behind that.
I remember when I had started my first job as a news copyeditor, my people pleasing ability wasn’t intact. I never really opened up with anybody over there. I hardly had a chat with my colleagues. A majority of my time there was spent either in editing the copy of the news stories or in writing useless blog posts like this one.
During my stint as a copy editor ,I realized that craving for attention makes one feel vulnerable. Moreover, no one’s there for you ,because at the end of the day, when the chips are down, everybody else whom you may come across is busy protecting himself/herself. So, you got to be your own hero. It was here that I decided not to stick my nose into everyone’s affairs. You can’t even imagine how liberating it was. From that moment onwards, I completely refrained myself from pleasing people. I decided that the only people I would care about are my family. ( Well, I could afford to do that, to say the least).
I stopped being charming and endearing. I was polite as far as it was possible, but I couldn’t offer anything apart from that, in addition to honesty. Okay, so, once, a very good friend of mine offered me a glass full of scotch ( I’m a teetotaller but he didn’t know that). I didn’t say yes just in order to please him and decided to tell the truth instead. Thank youso much, but I don’t drink. He appeared to be a bit baffled for a fraction of a second, but then he laughed and said, “You are quite honest about your feelings and opinions”. And strangely enough, there was no thunderclap and the skies didn’t fall down either, and we continue to be friends even to this day.
I follow a page titled “The Idealist” on Facebook. One fine day, while scrolling down the page I saw a quote which read as follows:
“If you wait for the world to accept then you’ll surely die rejected”
I’m quite disappointed with myself because it took me so long to learn this lesson….