People-Pleaser

I am jealous of people who don’t care how others feel about them. I envy those who can do whatever and not worry about how others feel. I don’t think this is how anyone should live 24/7 but I am jealous of how different they are compared to me.

photo credit: Michael Rehfeldt via creative commons

photo credit: Michael Rehfeldt via creative commons

We tend to look at others and see only the difference between us and them. Even if the difference isn’t good we desire it. It’s normal to look at someone who has less than 1% of body fat and want to have it for yourself. It’s another thing to look at someone and see a flaw and want it only because it is different.

I am a people-pleaser. I desperately want others to like me. I know this is one of the reasons I hate conflict. In true conflict you can’t please everyone. A compromise has to be met and nobody is fully satisfied.

Life is made up of many tough decisions. When I was first out of college and trying to handle the responsibility of being in the real world I didn’t know what to do most of the time. Half of growing up for me was pretending to know what to do in every situation. I felt ready to be an adult but I was amazed at how little I knew. Even now I don’t know as much as I want to know. I always felt there would be a year where everything would click. I’m slowly coming to the understanding the longer I live the less I know.

Professional athletes always talk about the moment when things slow down for them and they can predetermine what they want to do instead of reacting. I think in life certain things slow down. I don’t worry about retirement or savings because I have a plan. At the same time is there ever a point where you feel comfortable with your retirement or savings plan? What number is good enough? We want backing. It reminds me of the Don Draper quote about happiness: “It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams with reassurance that whatever you’re doing is OK.”

We are all looking for a sign like a billboard or advertisement on a wall that whatever we are doing is OK. I don’t want to make mistakes because they disappoint others. People expect mistakes from immature kids but when you are an adult you aren’t allowed that luxury, unless you are Ryan Lochte.

I want to make others happy by handling all my business on my own. I want others to not feel sorry for me and look at me and think I have it all together even though I don’t. Why are we so obsessed with what other people think about us? If you are doing the right thing why does it matter?

In the age of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and God knows what else will come out soon we all search for likes and mentions like it’s manna falling from Heaven and we have no other options to eat. Here’s an idea: Be Yourself and don’t worry if people like you. It will make you happier and the people who do like you will like you because of the person you are not because of the cardboard cutout you try to be.

I struggle with this immensely. I want to be popular. I hate admitting it but it’s 100% true. I want people to like me. If you try too hard for everyone to like you then nobody will. My closest relationships are those where I’m real and I know I need more of it and less people-pleasing.

305 Days

There are three hundred and five days left of 2016.

photo credit: Hey Paul Studios via creative commons

photo credit: Hey Paul Studios via creative commons

Next week I will eat better.

Next week I will finish that book.

Next week I will do whatever it is I have been pushing off for weeks.

These are several things I have been telling myself throughout 2016. I procrastinate about procrastinating. I am good at handling certain things but others I will put off as long as possible. I’m trying to find a balance between handling everything and being at peace with a lack of perfection. I’m never going to watch every movie I want, read every book which interests me, or visit everywhere.

It’s not the most optimistic way of viewing things but it is realistic and it brings peace. Attempting to do everything you want to do brings frustration. Deciding what you want to do and making it happen is satisfying. I find a lot of the stress in my life is brought on by worrying about what I am not doing.

There are certain things which I am never going to want to do. Scheduling a doctor’s appointment is not something I want to handle but I find the quicker I do things like this the better.

I’m a stickler for a budget. I make sure it is set before every month begins and put every dollar in its place the Dave Ramsey way. However, there are always unexpected expenses which happen. An emergency room visit, water line exploding in the front yard, and a million other things can and seemingly do go wrong. When it happens I don’t throw away the budget and spend like crazy. I don’t wait for next month to roll around and decide I will do better then. I prepare for these things by having money set aside for the problems. For some reason I don’t treat other situations the same way. I’m learning to adapt my goals and things I want to achieve to this model. I’m creating margin in my life to complete the things which are most important.

Chasing perfection is something which is consuming me recently. I am learning there will never be a perfect house, perfect day, or perfect candidate. I was encouraged by this post from Allison Fallon last week about the damage this way of thinking can bring.

I hope you hit all of your goals for 2016 but don’t let your satisfaction with life depend on it. There will always be a never ending to-do list and something you want to improve. If you wait for happiness to come when you are done with everything you need to do it won’t happen.

A year from now you won’t remember your to-do list but you will remember the people who matter most in your life. You will remember the time spent with them and the memories you made. Make sure to focus on what matters most for the next 305 days.

An Insatiable Desire for Perfection

Have you ever beaten yourself up for making a mistake? Have you ever regretted how you handled a situation? Have you ever gotten angry with someone over something insignificant?

photo credit: MeeshBomb via Creative Commons

photo credit: MeeshBomb via Creative Commons

If you are honest with yourself, you have probably done all of these. We are imperfect people who strive to be perfect even though we have no chance of getting there. However, we get angry with ourselves (and more destructively others) when perfection is not reached.

I recently watched the movie, The One I Love. In the movie Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss are in a floundering relationship they are attempting to repair. Their therapist recommends spending a few days at a cabin. He sets it up and informs them it has worked well for his other clients. (Spoiler alert) When they arrive at their home for the weekend, they discover in the guest house on the property there are people staying there who look exactly like them. Not only do the look exactly like each other but they talk and act identical. Even better, and more problematic, they are the perfect versions of the person. Every imperfection is gone. As the story goes on they each want to spend more and more time with the perfect version of themselves in the guest house as opposed to the real version they came with. It’s an interesting dynamic because we all expect our partners to be perfect. We know we can’t be perfect, and they can’t be either, but we desire it anyway.

You love someone in spite of their shortcomings. You love them because there is an inexplicable feeling you get when you’re around them. It feels right. It feels like this is where you’re supposed to be. You don’t fully understand it which is partially what makes it great. We want them to be there for us to do anything and everything. We want them to love us all day every day, even if we mess up. We want them never to be angry with us even if it is warranted. We expect from others what we ourselves could never be.

I struggle to deal with problems and choose to avoid them far too often. I can’t fix anything in our home which breaks. If I don’t sleep well at night I am in a bad mood. If I don’t drink coffee first thing in the morning I am a terrible person. I like spending a great deal of time alone which can be challenging at times when you’re married. I could go on and on. Morgan knows all of these things and she loves me anyway. She doesn’t like these but she accepts me. When someone loves you in spite of your faults you will do anything for them.

There is an intimacy we have with our spouses and close friends because they know our faults. They know we have messed up. Not only do they know we have, they have specific examples they could recall. They accept us anyway. We have the same experiences with them. We know their faults and accept them as well. True intimacy is about accepting another person’s imperfections.

This isn’t hard to understand. It is incredibly hard to follow through on. People you love will disappoint you. You will disappoint people you love.

Instead of searching for perfection, which you will never find, saturate yourself with the acceptance others give by loving you even though you are far from perfect.