A while back, Kristen at Motherese posed a question via a quote from American Wife, by Curtis Sittenfeld. The question was essentially are you mutable and shape-shifting or fixed and unbending. Not only did that question and the accompanying quote from American Wife make me think about people pleasing, so did the quote I received several days later in my email.
I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.
– Bill Cosby, comedian
It seems that the females in society, myself included, tend to spend time trying to make everyone happy, bending to please every person. As Bill Cosby said, that is the key to failure.
If we cannot set our own goals and work towards them – not trampling on others but keeping our own aspirations in mind, how can we consider ourselves successful? I am not saying that we should all just stop trying to please others. I think helping others, within reason, is important to all lives.
Often by trying to put everyone else first, by not saying no, we put ourselves in a lower place in our priorities than we should. Women tend to do this more but it is by no means a female-only trait.
The same email with the Cosby quote contained these last few lines:
Remember that helping yourself and doing what you feel is important should be valued. Find worth in your own opinions and viewpoint, and don’t let your desire to please others compel you to keep yourself in the background. Falling short of perfection only proves that you are a normal human being.
Do you value your own desires? Do you occasionally put others first? Do you realize that you are human and not expected to be perfect?