If you’re a person, chances are you know someone that no matter what, you just can’t make them happy. Or, if you’re really lucky, you could know several.
I’m finding that the older I get, the more I see that I am the captain of my ship and dictate how I can respond to these individuals. Seems pretty simple in theory, but could be much more difficult in practice. Why? Well, let me tell you a secret, I’m a recovering People Pleaser. I know, I know. Deeply rooted in my own issues that date back to probably elementary school bullies was that nagging sense that I had to please everyone and be liked by everyone. I still struggle with the feeling that I want to be liked by everyone, and I’m thinking that I’m not alone in this. To be frank, knowing that someone else is not happy with something I’ve done- even when I’m trying my best- feels icky and I just don’t like sitting with that feeling. But, the thing is, sometimes you have to, because you literally cannot please everyone and some cannot be pleased at all.
Does this sound like something you needed to hear? Good, me too. When it comes to responding to people that cannot be made happy no matter how many times you do a headstand and spit out wooden nickels (anyone else’s Grandma use that old adage?), I’m finding that the best thing to do is just stop.
Yup, just stop. Even if it feels icky.
If you’re unable to find some common ground, stop trying to please them and do what you think and feel is best. Not only is this person using up their own energy, you’re letting them use up yours. This is energy that can be spent in more productive, adaptive ways, rather than spinning your wheels and gears for someone that won’t do the same to meet you half way. I’m finding, especially in my social work career, that if I can balance trusting my gut with doing what is the most ethical and well-intentioned, I’m usually on the right path. This can- and does!- ease the ick factor.
Now, when I say that you should stop, I’m not saying you should be rude. You can agree to disagree, hold your ground politely, or disengage- depending on the scenario and your relationship with the person involved. Sometimes I practice the art of ‘hold my ground, be polite, keep the conversation moving, get the hell out of there’- in that order. Whether it is professional or personal, I’ve been trying to be mindful of this and practice it when I can.
I’ve made a pact with myself, and I guess now with my blog readers too, that I’m going to reduce the negative energy I expel or feed into and really make an effort in nourishing the positive energy. I’ve heard that this can help increase that thing that everyone is talking about… I think that they call it “happiness”. Maybe you’ve heard of it? In all sincerity, sometimes you have to work at happiness and for me, this is a big part of it.
So far, so good.