The weathermen forecast snow. New York is turning to rain and ice. The temps dropped to the low 30s but the storms are losing their vim and vigor as they hit the Big Apple.
I was walking outside my office with Donna one evening, she wore a bright turquoise dress and turned crimson when I complimented her. Our conversation went from her work to personal life and I realized she needed constant validations, and appreciation for everything she was doing. She was constantly fishing for compliments and also showering me with unconvincing praises now and then, I realized she is in the “please others” mode.
I was interested to know since when my liberated, happily single mother-of-two, friend developed this attitude.
When I poked her she said recently she’d met with a man who she thought was perfect for her and she fell head over heels for his charms.
He felt she needed to be perfected, she was a mess according to him. Living alone for many years had made her tough. The only conversation they had was how could she be more graceful, feminine, polite, slim and attractive or how she should dress up to be with the current fashion trends and so on. His happiness and smile mattered so much to her that she lost touch with her own preferences and gave in to his choices.
She lost her mind in trying to please him. The relationship did not work out because he couldn’t sculpt her one hundred percent with his skilled hands. He left dissatisfied. She was left in smithereens.
The residue is lost confidence and self-esteem in my friend. She is having a grave issue in negating something or someone even when she wants to.
If her friend wants to go to a party while she is all in to staying at home, she would say yes, despite of her inner voice screaming a loud no.
The insecurities mounted and she started to say yes to unreasonable demands made by her children, colleagues and neighbors.
I reminded her of the ways she’d pulled out of a rough marriage and raised her two kids bravely, she had the guts and gumption to be an independent and courageous woman who could be in her skin and still be loved.
I said, “I understand others are important for you, but aren’t you at least as significant as they are for you. So, you could put your preference forthrightly and choose accordingly.”
“My wish to stay home tonight is at least as important as my friend’s wish to party.” She sniggered.
The three things we need to take care of, if we want to live with self-esteem and confidence.
- Drop the need for perfection.
- Stop looking for external validations and approvals.
- You don’t need to please others. You are at least as important as the other.
We walked back and the skyline extending in front of us was shimmering gold. The snow was melting away and the breeze wasn’t hitting us rather gently hugging us. It felt beautiful when she exclaimed, “Bob, I feel beautiful.”
To make others happy unconditionally is the unvoiced promise in any relationship, there isn’t any pay off if it is true affection.