Wednesday, August 3, 2011

[pleasing other people]

I read this today and it got me to thinking. Thought I would share....
"A young man and his old father were traveling to the nearby town with their donkey. On their way, they met some laborers who. One of the laborers remarked “What a fool these two are. In spite of having a donkey, they are both walking” Hearing them, the old man asked his son to ride on the donkey.

In another 10 minutes, they passed a tea shop. The owner of the shop blurted out “What an uncaring son ...
- making his father walk while he himself is comfortably sitting on the donkey. The son upon hearing this comment, got down from the donkey and asked his father to ride on it.

As they carried on their journey, they met a couple of men on the road. One of them remarked to the other “Look at the selfish old man riding on the donkey, while making the poor boy walk” The father became very uncomfortable with the comment, and asked his son to also sit on the donkey.

Further along, they met a group of women washing clothes. One of the women said “How cruel these men are. Look at the poor donkey bearing the weight of two men. It would be better if these two people carried the donkey for a change”

Eager to please, the men found a bamboo stick, tied the donkey’s legs on it and carried the donkey on their shoulders. As they passed over a bridge, they met a few children playing. Upon seeing the sight of the men carrying the donkey, the children bursted in laughter, and said “Haha - Look at these fools! Carrying the donkey on their shoulders” At this time the donkey got restless being carried upside down. The poor donkey jumped and fell down the bridge and died!

The moral of the story is that it other people will always have an opinion about what you should and not do. It is impossible to satisfy everyone. In trying to constantly yield to other people’s opinions, we give up our own best interests and become losers!"
Although the story may appear simplistic and we may laugh at the stupidity of the two men, we are ALL prone to the seeking of approval in subtle and not so subtle ways.
Dr. Wayne Dyer mentions in his book “Your erroneous zones” several ways we seek to please other people. (I am reading this book due to the suggestion of a friend on Facebook. It's a great read.)

• Changing a position, or altering what you believe because someone shows signs of disapproval.
• Sugar coating a statement to avoid the reaction of displeasure.
• Feeling depressed or anxious when someone disagrees with you.
• Feeling insulted or put-down when someone states a contrary sentiment to your own.
• Being excessively agreeable and head nodding, even when you don’t agree at all with what is being said.
• Performing chores for someone and feeling resentful about not being able to say no.
• Being intimated by a sharp salesperson and buying something you don’t want.
• Saying things you don’t mean just to avoid being disliked.
• Trying to impress others with your knowledge of something that you know nothing about by “faking it!”
• Begging for compliments by setting yourself up for approval, and then feeling bad when they don’t come.

Many wise men have spoken about this need in us to seek approval from others, in their own ways. For example:

“Self-actualized people are independent of the good opinion of others” -Abraham Maslow

“Do not be a football of other people’s opinions.” -Sri Sri Ravishankar

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

Each and every one of us enjoys appreciation, praise and approval. It is only natural. There is nothing wrong with that, and we do not have to give up feeling good when we are approved of. The problem starts to happen only when the having approval starts to become a need rather than a desire.
So many times our actions are defined by “what will they think of me?” This is simply our ego not letting us be genuine. When having approval from others becomes a need, we can no longer be comfortable with who we are. We can no longer think independently. We become slaves to other people’s opinions. We give up a part of ourselves in order to win the approval of others.

For any opinions that you hold on any subject, you will always find someone who holds the exact opposite opinion. It is impossible to please everyone, so you might as well stop trying. If you have a strong need for approval, then you stand to be easily manipulated by others, as you will go to great lengths in trying to please them. If you do it enough, you will begin to lose confidence in your own self, in your own thoughts.
When we seek approval from others, we are not confident of our own opinions, and rather rely on others to tell us what to do and how to think. According to law of attraction, this is situated in an energy of lack, and the more we seek approval, the less we get it. Conversely, the less we seek external approval, the more confident we are in our own independent thinking. The more confident we are, the more approval we actually tend to get. Seeking approval is like trying to run after your own shadow. If you stop running after it, it will automatically follow you.

It's also important to remember that the opinions that people have about you are simply their opinions. Whether it is good or bad, it has nothing to do with you. It is you who has to decide whether something to applicable to you or not. In case of disagreement, there is no need to argue or try to convince others of your stance. It is impossible that everyone will understand everything that you think/believe and do. You just need to become more self-reliant and trust your own judgments more.

The point here is to remain centered in your own self, even in the face of disapproval. Say it with me!: I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others. I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others. I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of other. I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others. I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others I am totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others …”

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