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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Still Trying To Please Everybody?

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
~Bill Cosby

If you are still trying to please everybody, then how’s that working for you?

I know from time to time that I am guilty of trying to please everybody. I want to make sure everyone is happy. I make the mistake in thinking that I am responsible for other people’s happiness, when in truth I am not. You are only responsible for your own happiness.

Still, that doesn’t stop us people pleasers. We bend over backwards to help people and try to make their lives a little easier. We will do this at the price of our own health and sanity. We often times stretch ourselves so thin, that we break under the pressure. We don’t set out to be that way, we just love and care about the people around us. We want them to be happy and when we do something that elicits a positive response we want to keep doing it.

The problem with that is it becomes a vicious cycle. We do something to help someone else that makes them happy. In turn it makes us feel good so we keep on doing it. Ultimately you become worn out, used up and taken for granted. And believe me, other people will begin to expect certain things from you and then you feel the need to not let them down.

So what can you do to break the cycle? Start by taking care of your own needs first for a change. Now I’m not advocating ignoring the needs of your children or other close family members. I am suggesting that the best way to help others is to help yourself first, then be very selective on what you do and for whom.

“But aren’t we supposed to help everyone?” you ask. Yes, we are expected to help others, but no one expects one person to do it all. You are not meant to overdo it. You must choose where you want to help and who will most benefit from your help. Then gently let go of the rest. Learning to politely say the word, “No” is a very hard lesson to learn, but must be learned if you expect to enjoy life.

The bigger the circle of people in your life, the more selective you must be in how much you help. You can only go so far, so choose wisely. Select who you will keep in your inner circle, the ones closest to you. Help the people outside your close inner circle only when you have the time, the resources and feel you are the best person for the job. Sometimes the best way to help them may be to suggest a different source, whether it be a mutual friend or a professional.

So you want to continue to help others? Great, just be sure to do it wisely. Start by helping yourself first, then your inner circle of the people closest to you, then someone else outside your circle next and only if you can without over extending yourself.

God said to love one another and help each other. He didn’t say to kill yourself trying to help everyone!

So remember this good advice,
"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
~Bill Cosby

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