Anthropological studies have shown us that womankind (and mankind!) is happiest by association and the reactions and vibes of people around us make us content or sad. Our primary endeavour then remains an effort to maintain congenial ties with everyone around us, toeing the delicate thread that we believe will help us keep all these people in our favour. But is that possible? To burst the bubble, hardly. You can’t please everyone. Even if you succeed at keeping (almost) everyone around you partially satisfied (happiness is fleeting and we’ll come to that another day), you will end up losing your own true self. What then does one do?
Be your own honest self
Irrespective of whether or not a large number of acquaintances are impressed by you, keep yourself real. A people pleaser may succeed at initial interactions but whether that leads to meaningful relationships or not cannot be ascertained. If you try to change your behaviour and true self for everyone around you, you will end up losing your true self. This does not mean that you need not say or do things to make people around you comfortable or be unpleasant in your interactions. It just means that be who you are in your actions, opinions and interactions. Ultimately, what matters the most is how honest your reflection in the mirror is.
Build a net of people who understand you and who you trust
There will be people who will like who you truly are and others who will merely pretend to. Learn to distinguish between them and remember it is not your life’s ambition to make everyone happy. Be polite in your words and kind in your actions but know that not everyone will acknowledge your goodness. Don’t direct harsh words at them but do not bend over backwards either for them. For those who truly understand you, keep them close. They will sometimes be pleased with your behaviour while at other times you will have to explain your stance to them. Even these people may be disappointed with you at times.
At such times, you may want to ponder on what made them feel this way. Put in some effort to explain your perspective to them and they will understand or come around to doing so. Even in these times, remember how you behave and what you say is your choice but how they perceive it is not upto you. People will almost always perceive situations based on their perception of the relationship you share and the strongest relationships have the deepest hues.
Learn to deal with approval and disapproval alike
People like success stories and strong personalities and no one likes ‘pushovers’. It is important to learn to take approval and disapproval in your stride. While we may like the former and dislike the latter, it is important to take both with a pinch of salt.
Rudyard Kipling famously wrote “If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much…you’ll be a man (I say, woman)”. Take everyone’s feedback with an open mind but none to heart. Learn from them, grow from them but do not let them ruin your composure.
Remember your peace and self-worth is in your hand and must remain your priority. In the pursuit of appeasing everyone, do not lose yourself!
Also Read: Be Mentally Strong, Be Happier