It seems as hard as I try, I can’t please everyone. Should I even be trying? Since I can remember, I have wanted to please my family, friends, employers. I push myself to be the best I can be and will go out of my way to do whatever I need to. Unfortunately, I am too hard on myself. I may seem tough but in reality I get my feelings hurt easily. When I am challenged, confronted or someone tells me I have not met their expectations, I crumble inside and can become defensive. With age has come reflection, a better grasp of my tongue, honesty within, and a slightly thicker skin. Still, there are times I don’t understand the motives or criticism that come from others.
A good friend recently tried to break this down for me. He said I am seeking approval from people, but I need to be happy and satisfied inside first. If not, I will always be manipulated into thinking I am doing something wrong. This is sage advice and something I am working on. I have to say this is not easy. When you have been one way your entire life, changing how you feel or react to things takes a lot of hard work.
Then there is the issue of dealing with someone that continually criticizes your performance. This may be your employer, teacher, or even your parents. The feeling of being falsely accused of something is self defeating. I would venture to say most people feel the need to defend themselves. You may be 100% correct in what you did, but as soon as you try to protect yourself, you immediately look guilty, or you look like you are not willing or open to a new idea or technique. It never feels good to be wrongly accused but if you can learn to diffuse the situation calmly with positive comments like, “I’ll continue to improve” or “thank you, I’ll try harder”, you will come out ahead. This action makes you the bigger person, shows great strength and not weakness. When possible, it’s best to observe. Don’t absorb. It’s a psychological issue, and extremely hard. Some people do it for power. You can take that power from them and keep it for yourself, just by staying calm.
I speak from a place that is raw and real. I move through cycles where I feel I am not good enough. It’s torture just like the Chinese finger torture game. You pull back, and it gets tighter. I also expect and want people to react to me as I react to them. If I work hard then they should work just as hard and be pleased with our effort. That just isn’t the case. I have to learn to manage other people based on their challenges and deal with them on their level.
Life is a series of lessons and if we remember that those who spend time looking for faults in others usually make no time to correct their own. As I move forward, I will continue to learn. I will not give up on myself. I will become stronger every day. I will live my best life, and I will not let anyone take that away from me.
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