We are born knowledgeable. Knowing exactly when we need to eat, sleep, cry, laugh, be social or be alone. Born knowing what we want to do, what we want to eat, what we like best and what we do not like at all. We have self-awareness.
However, as we grow up, we learn to mold ourselves to the external world and suppress the things we like best while enduring the things we like the least. And it’s ok, it’s part of growth. Knowing that socially there is a moment to cope and please others, while other moments it’s important to please oneself is learned. But at this point, the unaware ego of others (in the most human and natural of ways) interrupts. By unaware ego, I refer to that innate action of doing what we want – regardless of others’ opinions, feelings, or needs. The distinction between an unaware ego’s action and a true self’s action is almost unrecognizable. It lies in the intention behind it. It is your true self’s desire as long as your intention is not linked with a result but with the feeling itself. Ego, on the other hand, is always linked with an unwavering desire of a rigid result.
Seeking love and acceptance
As we grow up, that unaware ego conditions us to please others or please no one – both being signs of complete disconnection from the self. When you please everyone, you seek love and acceptance through approval you aren’t getting from yourself. When you please no one, you seek love and acceptance through respect that again, you aren’t giving yourself either.
Through both actions, one tends to disconnect from one’s true aims, needs and wants – making it harder and harder to really listen to the inner voice that knows better. All this intro boils down to the main idea: self-awareness.
Through personal experience, I can only speak of people-pleasing. I was seeking a kind of acceptance or approval that wasn’t real – as it wasn’t coming from myself. But from what I thought would make others feel better. Now, 23 years later, I realize that actually all of those little decisions made for others to be happy were not only making me unhappy. But they were also making others love, approve, and appreciate me over false ideals.
Shockingly, those who aren’t willing to meet you halfway on your needs, aims, and wants aren’t the people who truly love you just the way you are. They are loving themselves. And probably getting or accomplishing their goal while you don’t accomplish yours at their expense. Why would you fulfill somebody’s needs or help accomplish that person’s goals if they are not willing to meet you halfway and fulfill some of yours?
I am sure that a lot of people may have popped up into mind. But sadly, the exact person I described above, that person who is not willing to lean into their discomfort in order for you to accomplish a certain goal, is ourselves. And most of the time it’s our “disordered self”.
Next time you see yourself in a situation where “…something just doesn’t feel right” ask yourself, who is asking me to compromise my intention? Why am I sacrificing my long-term goals for that “person’s” goals if he/she/it is not willing to compromise one inch for mine (not now, nor ever)?
Do not give in. Be self-aware. Whoever is not willing to “meet you there”, in your needs, is really not interested in your happiness or success but in theirs. Especially if that “person” is yourself. Who sabotages healthy intentions and long term fulfillment for unhealthy results and short term satisfaction.
It’s definitely not about not giving in or leaning into others’ desires. It’s about understanding your needs and learning that unaware ego asks you to let go of your intentions. While true self asks you to let go of a result.