Tuesday, January 18, 2011

You Can’t Please Everyone…

“But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.
Ya see you can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself.

Ricky Nelson

These words have struck a cord with me for many years. Maybe it’s because for as long as I can remember I have been in the people pleasing business. It started from the very beginning, with wanting to please my parents. As a toddler I had to eat all my food, as a child I had to behave and obey the rules, from the moment I set foot in school I had to have good grades. My parents were pleased with me for the most part, except when PMS kicked in and then I was a “bat out of hell.” My teachers loved me.

Then I got a job and gave it my all. My employer rewarded me with raises and promotions. After a few years I got married and was set on making my husband happy. I cooked all his favorite meals until his cholesterol went sky high and then changed his diet to bring it down again. I kept the house clean and the laundry was always done and it didn’t matter because he was so easy to please. Three years later we decided to start a family and my first daughter was born.

Having a baby changes who you are. You are now a mother with a huge responsibility. This little life you brought into the world depends on you for everything. I had waited so long for this moment. I had my babies on a schedule for eating and sleeping from day one. We went to places that were baby friendly for vacation. We did things around their schedules. They were always happy babies. And, as they got older, I tried to be there for them in every way. Even today, they know they can count on me and I still try to make their lives easier, especially when I see them struggling or going through a rough time. You never stop being a mother.

But, as I got into my forties and the girls were more and more independent, I started thinking about “me” and what would I like to do for myself. Because, as hard as I tried to please everyone all my life, no one really was 100% happy with me. There were always some complaints or grumbling. When you try to please people all the time, their expectations grow and grow until they become unreasonable. And then what happens is, the first time you can’t quite fulfill a request or do what you normally do, there is hell to pay. No excuse is good enough. Everything you’ve done before is “forgotten” and only this one incident is remembered. And you start to think, why am I even bothering trying to make everyone happy, it can’t be done. I am going to start pleasing myself and then I can be sure at least one person will be happy! It works.

I accomplished this new outlook by making friends to go out with, not just “mom” friends. I went back to school and took college classes for the fun of it! I was still able to fulfill all my other roles, but I added a new role to my list…I became my own best friend. Some people think that is a self thing to do, when in fact it is quite the opposite. By taking care of your own needs, you have more to give to those you love. You are happier and healthier.

And, after all, isn’t our happiness just as important as anyone else’s?


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