I write this based on some soul searching reflections I carried out recently. It came as a rude shock to me that half or even more than half my life has been lived to please others and live in conformity.
When I consider that my life is mine alone, then the choices I make should be mine, the way I live my life ought to reflect my personality and not that of the world around me. Most of all, consider the fact that when death calls, it would call just me without seeking permission from my neighbours and friends. Even if death seeks their permission, they do not have that permission to give, not forgetting that some would willingly give death the permission to take me immediately.
Moreover, the journey to death, as is that of life, is mine alone and as I leave this world, very few people out of all those I lived to please would genuinely cry for my death, few would genuinely miss me, some will attend my funeral if their jobs, business, health or weather suits them, but none will go with me to the other world.
Then why have I been living to please them, to accommodate their whims and caprices, why have I been living for them, losing myself in the process, cheating myself? Sounds stupid when you actually think on it. I do that in major and minor decisions, in little and big daily actions. In the market, I buy vegetables from my neighbor whose pumpkin leaves are withered and yellowish rather than buy from a stranger and have my neighbor angry with me.
I work as a health care giver so my family will be pleased that I am following the family tradition when all I want to do is write and travel the world and make tons of money. I have sex with him because it is what he wants and expects from me as his partner, not because I enjoy it so much. I hide the ugly truth of their actions from them so I do not displease them even as they displease me. What is wrong with me? What is wrong with you? Where is the self-love? The world will certainly not end if I tell them how I feel, if I insist on what I want rather than what they want. They might be angry for a while, or even forever, but it does not really matter in the long run.
I know I am not alone in this ‘living to please others’ syndrome, many of us fall into this societal trap that we laid for ourselves. It seems it is wired in the genes of most women, to live to please their husbands, kids, neighbors, parents, anybody but themselves. Worst of all, it has become so ingrained in us that it is now an unconscious everyday action. We give so much of ourselves to please others and in the process, lose our personal identity, our goals and dreams. I was once in a relationship where, even though the guy had good intentions but running a pharmaceutical shop was just not what I wanted; neither was going to Japan for post graduate degree. So why did I agree to those suggestions of his even though I later began falling in love with the idea of studying in Japan? I did not want him to see me as ungrateful or unambitious.
But on a deeper level, when I began to analyze my life and my choices, I realized that I succumbed to those suggestions of his because I have begun to neglect my dreams, I was losing focus and depending on him and the world to decide for me rather than seek to please me.
What a shame. Why are we scared of displeasing the world? Because we care too much about what the world will say, because we are scared of alienating them, because we want them to like and love us. But take a moment to look at those people we know that do not give a damn about what the world thinks of them, I know some of them, so do you. Their lives are happier, more fulfilling, richer, more successful and with floods of friends, families and trumpeters.
So I ask myself, I ask you who are in this same boat with me, what do we personally gain by letting the world carry us on its wings? What have we been able to achieve based on the fact that we have been living to please others? The ugly truth is that you cannot please the world, even if you die trying, look at Jesus Christ! The world will be pleased with your success, your wealth, glamour, fame, but they will tear you down in an instant if given the opportunity no matter how patriotic and philanthropic you have been.
Let me begin to channel that energy I have been using in seeking to please the world into seeking to please me. Sometimes, being selfish can be liberating and fruitful. I have begun the journey of self-pleasing rather than world pleasing by first trying to learn and understand me. To do this, I am giving myself some me time, no matter how busy I am otherwise. In that me time, I think over my life, the choices I have made, the actions and decisions I have taken and where they have cumulatively led me. You should too, assuming you no longer desire to live for the world like me.
Heaven will not fall on me if I chose to buy vegetable from the stranger that sells the fresh greeny vegetable rather than my neighbor that has the dead leaves. My partner will not love me less or leave me if I stand my ground and follow my dreams. If he does, then, he does not love me and it would be good riddance to bad rubbish. Taking little baby steps towards blocking my ear and my mind from what they will say and think by focusing on what I really want and deserve is a start. It has been so ingrained in our character and thinking that it will be an uphill task to overcome. But with a burning desire to change and little daily, conscious shift in our thinking and actions, it is possible.
See you at the top, happy and liberated if you happen to be on this cruise to self-love with me.