Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Its ok if you don't like me....

If my first goal is to make sure that everyone likes and approves of me, then i risk sacrificing my uniqueness, and, therefore, my excellence.(Source: an age old proverb)

Am i a people-pleaser? I am not sure if i am. I have felt like one at times. I generally hate arguments and debates and a lot of times, I agree knowing that the other person is wrong. At times, when i do come out and argue quite strongly, it often leads to disagreements of a different kind. Maybe, i have never learnt the art of raising my viewpoint, and yet make sure i respect the other person's viewpoint. No, that that i don't i do respect someone's opinion even though i may not agree to it. But a lot of times, it might appear otherwise. For these reasons, i stay away from arguments and maybe, i might be interpreted that i am a people-pleaser. At the end of the day, i want to be liked and appreciated, just like most others. Who doesn’t want to feel accepted, respected, and appreciated?

A major portion of my life has been spent in trying to "prove" things to others. It could be education or a job or a project well done or money or whatever. In these circumstances above, though most part was for self, a big part was for the alter ego, just to "prove" i could do it, because someone at some point had told me i couldn't achieve certain things. Most part of my life was fixated, and was never fixed. Why? Because, i wanted that him/her who made me feel low to accept that i did prove them wrong. In a way, they were forced to respect me and eventually like me(convoluted, but that's how it was). Hence, for a major part of my life, my need to be liked and respected, overshadowed all other needs. I was always trying to trick perception, and constantly adapting myself to receive "external validation". I believed(still do) that "external validation" gives rise to self worth which eventually transforms into internal validation. It always has been draining(personally and for my friends) and counterproductive. In the bargain, i realized, there are very few people who actually know me - the real me - and that became the prerequisite to liking me. And fortunately, a few of these people have been around my life for a while and i have realized very very  recently, if there are some who don't accept or agree with me, its a good sign.

I am not suggesting to be rude, inconsiderate or disrespectful. I am not writing about disregarding other people's feelings or opinions. This is about releasing my stress about other people's opinions. Its about getting comfortable with the feeling of being disliked by someone.

So, i started wondering and reading what could be some pros and cons to the above:

1. It allows me to be true to myself:  The biggest treachery i can do to myself is trying to please my audience. Its pointless. No one will get to know the real me. If they don't care about me, why would i care about them? By not doing the above, a lot of times, i have felt empty.

2. I am more comfortable:  I don't really have to pretend for someone else's sake. I am not saying one should get drunk and hit someone or shout in anger or disturb others. I am realizing that its perfectly ok to say "I am scared(or lonely or weak or struggling)" regardless of what people think.

3. I can freely express my thoughts:  I have often been told that i am a good listener. "Most" people think i don't judge someone when they are talking to me about something. I deserve the same kindness too, which i don't get a lot of times. I have realized that people will form opinions as i speak. Should i continue talking to these people? How do i even know someone i don't know very well is going to form an opinion anyway? I have realized that if they are interested in talking, then i shall continue talking. My words, should be kind but needn't necessarily be defensive or fearful.

4. Feel like a celebrity: Pick a popular artist and look up their profile on facebook or twitter. And check to see the harsh comments about their album or work or anything. The higher someone rises, the higher is the probability of receiving attention, both positive and negative. A willingness to be disliked is important in these circumstances.

5. Do what is right, not just for something in return:  A lot of times i have done things because i thought they were right. It could have been having a heart wrenching conversation with someone who i hardly know when they were sharing their problems with me or going out of my way in helping someone because he or she genuinely needed me at some point etc. Some of these have not even bothered to find out if i am dead or alive in a while. Some, have gone a step further in spreading word on what a distasteful person i am. I wonder then as i wonder now, if all these are worth? Why should i care for someone i don't know. But then again, if i don't care, how would i know the person? How do i stop constantly getting hurt and feeling used? Should i shut down? But then, will i be true to myself? My true nature dictates that i have always been a helpful person. Should i become completely self obsessed? I don't have answers to some of these. But the biggest dilemma i have is, should i change myself due to this insignificant bunch?

PS: Some of the above thoughts have been inspired from tiny budha articles.

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