Pleasing all of the people all of the time…or not

You know, working as a site staff member for a study abroad provider isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  You must stretch yourself to accommodate a variety of personalities and attitudes; seek to be ever positive; and, of course, fix everything that goes wrong with ease and efficiency.

I’m a people pleaser.  I’ve been one for as long as I can remember.  When someone is upset with me and I don’t know why, and even when I do have an idea of why, my whole body shakes and I have to keep myself from crying for hours until I can finally get a grip on myself and accept the truth, a la poet John Lyndgate:  I can’t please all of the people all of the time.  Dagnabbit, I’d sure like to, and boy do I try very hard (too hard) to succeed at it, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen.

But I’ve been thinking (a dangerous pastime) and you know what?  Maybe I don’t want to please all of the people all of the time.  Maybe some people merit a greater effort than others when it comes to earning their approval and respect.  I could be as sweet as molasses and discover that someone sees it as timidity, or artificiality, or meekness.  I could be cruel and be seen by someone else as direct, or efficient, or as some other strange, positive spin that a person might put on cruelty.  When it comes down to it, I think that every person is worth loving, but not every person is worth pleasing.

So question next.  Who do I want to please?  In my state of frustration with being unable to make everyone happy, I typed into Google the words “on people pleasing,” hoping to find an interesting article or something to provide me with some mental nourishment and comfort.  The first result that caught my eye was not an article, but a Bible verse, and one that I hadn’t taken notice of before.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

What an eye opener.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to let go entirely of my desire to make everybody happy.  I think it’s an oldest-child-goody-goody-overachiever syndrome that’s a little too strong to wipe away completely, but I definitely plan on spending some time thinking about the kind of people pleasing that matters.



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