The way I see it, we can try to please people, or we can try to serve people.
Pleasing people often involves a mutation, where we become something we are not. It involves changing our DNA so that we fit in the box everyone wants us to fit in. Unfortunately, without divine intervention, DNA doesn’t just “change” – so often, we find ourselves TRYING to be someone we’re not, then we get hurt and upset when someone stops liking us because we didn’t please them.
Serving is different. This is where we stay true to who we were created to be. We nurture, shape and sharpen our talents into skills that we can use to add value to the lives of others. And then, we do our best to keep our needs in check in the grand scheme… to keep our desires and passions in the place that allows us to put the needs of our family, our friends, our customers before our own (wherever and whenever it is appropriate to do so. Sometimes we have to take care of our own needs, or have our own needs met as well!)
Don’t fall into the trap of trying to please people. The people will never be pleased. There is always someone who doesn’t like you… someone who disagrees with you… and even people who want to love you, but only serve themselves. If you tie your value and your worth to pleasing these folks, it’s going to hurt when they walk away, when they critique your methods, when they question your dream.
Instead, endeavor to be good at who you are. Be the best YOU that you can be, and then use the talents that you’ve got to serve others. Even the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company is in the service business (or should be) – leading and coaching his business to success, making sure his employees needs are met, making sure his customers, distributors, and vendors needs are met.
Be you, and be him (her) well. Be satisfied in that, and you won’t need the approval that man gives you.
I just found out this piece that I wrote several years ago was just reposted at Relevant Magazine. Check it out!
If I could give you any gift,
I’d give you
cathedrals, spires and
a gargoyle choir to scare demons
and chase monsters from your closet.
I’d give you
Serengeti grassland, stampedes of
sunset to match your eyes, sparkling.
I’d give you
rivers, and ponies, and gentle downy goslings.
And simple clouds to roll across your face in the morning.
Mountains and valleys, and oceans and lakes, and eternity
baked in a pie…
but all I can give you
are ink scribbles
and pictures painted with words,
and a forehead kiss goodnight.
If you find that your life is full of drama – people arguing and fighting with you, talking behind your back, betraying you, or a host of other “drama” related issues- then you may fall into one of the following categories:
1. You are really sensitive – and you need to lighten up.
Try not to take everything personally. Try not to assume that they are talking about you. And if they ARE talking about you – recognize it’s probably because of the way you have acted in the past. And if they ARE talking about you – and it’s NOT true – then learn to rise above the mess, not descend into it further.
2. You actually crave drama.
In the same way that sometimes I get a craving for ice cream – you have a craving for drama. You are not happy unless you have an enemy.
Guess what? There are plenty of enemies in this world. You don’t need to create more of them.
If you find yourself in this position – chances are good you’ve been raised to look for the enemy. It’s time to intentionally look for the good. Time to express gratitude. If you need an enemy – find some real evil and injustice, and tackle that. Use that energy to help someone less fortunate. It might turn it all around – IF you can get your focus off yourself. Which leads me to the next issue.
3. You are stuck on yourself.
And you think everyone else ought to be too. My friend tells me there are two types of pride (or vanity) – Big Wheel Pride – “Hey, look how awesome I am on my new big wheel!” and Worm Pride – “Woe is me. What a wretched waste of time I am. I’m just a nasty earth-dwelling worm.”
The problem in both of these forms of pride is that the idol, the subject of attention is the self.
Certainly, there needs to be SOME focus on self for a healthy life – but if we’re out of balance, we’re creating drama not just in our own lives, but that spills out into the lives of others.
No one wants to admit that any of these might be them. But the truth is – drama begets drama. You get out of life what you put into it – and while bad things happen to all of us sometimes, how we react sets the tone for the next situation. If our attitude is negative, we will only perpetuate the cycle.