“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”
– Bill Cosby, Actor and Comedian
The people I admire most in the world are unapologetic individuals, secure in their own creative gifts and happy to walk a path that may or may not prove popular with the masses.
People like Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp personify this kind of confidence and personal integrity. They’re not afraid to take risks and a large part of their appeal is they’re quirky and don’t seem to care what people think of them. I am big fan of both these people, and there’s a lesson in that.
I believe the people we admire say a lot about who we want to be and what we struggle with in ourselves.
Nelson Mandela is considered a hero by many and for good reason. His courage and strength of conviction is rare. This is not a man who cowered and pleased others to have an easier life. And when his principles were tested to extraordinary limits he would not back down. Most of us would have and that is why we are mesmerized by him.
I hope my principles are never tested the way Mandela’s were and I can only marvel at the sacrifices he has made, but I do try to live according to a certain code of honour and I am not afraid to take risks for what I believe is right.
For me people pleasing comes in at a very personal level. I may not adopt a ‘sheep’ mentality to better fit in, but I struggle with how to own my choices when they are not supported by my family and the society in which I live.
Sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had been comfortable with being different from a young age, if I hadn’t tried so hard to do what others expected.
If I had scorned university to go work on a boat and sail around the world
If I had not apologized so much for being emotional, intense and creatively scatty
If I had left MusicMan to live and work in London like I had planned
If I had believed in myself and toiled as hard on my novels as I did at chasing a ‘successful’ career
I have changed course so often in my life because I didn’t want to upset, disappoint or lose a loved one, and the result has been a life of frustration. As I approach my 37th birthday this is what I regret.
I regret not seeing the beauty in my difference. I regret trying to quell the individual within. I regret questioning my values and feeling guilty for what I want. I regret every time I have shut up and let others push aside my needs and desires.
I’m sorry to off-load my life crises on you, but an important part of SHE-POWER is sharing personal growth, and expressing my thoughts, worries and inspirations.
Often growth isn’t comfortable or palatable. It’s just plain hard.
Sometimes I worry I am too pithy and not emotional enough in my writing. Today, I guess I have corrected that. I am emotional about this. I’m sick of being a people pleaser, of holding myself back so others can nod their head with approval.
Today, I say this to please myself. And if I can please you, well that’s good too. If not, sorry but I can’t be funny and positive all the time.
Photo by indoloony