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How I learnt to Stop Pleasing and Start Living

I looked at the fuchsia dress, strewn with pearls and sprinkled with sequins - the dress seems to stand out. Delight crept in, this dress was a change from my usual dull, pastel colour attire I wear.

My sense of dressing is self-consciously plain. “Uhh, ‘Boring! the unfaltering clothes you wear simply lackluster,” Buggy sighed inside my head.

Buggy is the sneaky, nagging voice in my head - a devil with red horns. It keeps bugging me, claiming to be my inner innate voice - whom I have been ignoring and crushing for years.

Buggy keeps sneaking in my head, at the wrong time with “listen to me, this is not what you want. No, don’t take this up, you hate it.” A voice keeps rumbling in my head and I continue ignoring it.

Did it ever happen to you that you like someone and desperately want them to like you back?

But the same person judges you on the way you look and pass not so appreciating remark on your appearance, what would you do?

Remarks like, “go for a change, why don’t you try something different with your look?” such comments are enough to press my panic button.

After all, I have been a people pleaser all my life. I needed approval and confirmation throughout my life, to me unless ‘others’ appreciate, nothing counts.

Through out my life I have given control of my happiness switch in anonymous hand. I seek continuous conformity from people around me. If they consider worthy, it is acceptable to me; otherwise – I just drop it.

Past sets the stage for future:

In short, I have been seeking approval and validation throughout my life. All my achievements were in pursuit of unending approvals – honestly it sucks, I accept it.

Could I pass the credit to my intellectual, busy and controlling parents? I could do that, after all from there it all started.

I was brought up in a culturally rich and academically focused family. To get my parents attention, love and recognition, I learnt to perform exceptionally well in my academics.

My super busy parents shed their love when they see the brilliance in the results, that’s what counted - I guess. I learnt to please them. Their validation was important to me. Even a hint of disappointment used to crush my heart.

Lesson derived:

My lesson, score well – please your parents.

When I turned into a people pleaser, I couldn’t remember. I participated in the list of activities my parents had decided for me. Inside screaming to turn into a rebellion, but it never happened.

As a saviour, Buggy originated in my mind, telling me to stop pleasing and seeking conformity from others.

Each day Buggy voice started growing “stop wallowing girl, develop guts, face and take up things you want.” It keeps reminding me.

Buggy persists, “there is an air of restrain around you, why can’t you loosen up the grip and let your hair down and relax?”

Me – “It’s not only me, look around everyone is trying to please or influence others.”

Buggy - “Ye and you take it to the next level.”

And the dialogue continued.Till now Buggy couldn’t yield results - No apparent change at my end.

But Buggy is determined and hopeful that one day I am going to change – I say, a wishful thinking.

You know the problem but unable to fix it, this is what conditioning do to you. Change is difficult, habits develop at the course of time and require a lot of effort to get rid of.

Validation has become a part of my life. I hate to admit, but unless others approve my actions, work, attire, and everything about me, I do not feel happy.

Is it possible to please everyone?

Nah, as a result, I am un-happy - A lot.

A pursuit to impress:

Today I came for shopping again with the objective to please the person I set my eyes on. Avi, a hunk, moved from overseas corporate office to take in charge of a crucial project. I am working with him, after all my work record is immaculate. Dedication, skill, knowledge, and hard work difficult to beat me in these areas.

But the matter of the heart is different. Since my heart started missing the beat in his presence and he started passing remark on my looks, I panicked. I want him to admire me.

“Do you always dress like this,” he probed? Instead of getting offended and giving him back, I jittered.

Buggy screamed, “tell him that is none of his business. He has no right to pass comment on what you wear and how you look.” I tried opening my mouth, but choked, the words died before coming out.

“We are going to the pub this weekend; would you like to join?” Avi offered.

“Oh my God! He asked me out.” I could hear the thud inside my heart, hopefully he didn’t hear the same. Failing to stop the eagerness in my voice, I replied, “Yes, sure! Why not.”

And He grinned.

While Buggy sneaked again, “you hate pubs. You feel claustrophobic inside just refuse politely”

“Why would I disclose my weakness and miss the opportunity to be with him,” I shrugged Buggy.

And today I am here to get something to create an impression that I could look bold and beautiful. This fuscia dress perfectly fits into the plan.

Self Love

Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

Acknowledging self:

Glaring at the image appeared in the mirror, I could not recognise myself. The colour gave a tinted blush and natural glow to my skin.

Artful make-up transformed my look. I shocked myself. Everything about me was different today, hair, skin, moreover attitude.

Stepping out of the car, breeze greeted me. The air was cool and carried fine drops, with a promise of the rain to come.

It lifted my spirit in gentle ways. I sucked in the air as if nothing had ever been so sweet.

I wanted to dance on the road – barefoot. I was elated today.

How could I do that now, I never did it before?

I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and sucked the earthy aroma into my lungs.

A shrieking honk got me back to the senses. I hurried towards the door to the pub. I strolled towards the bouncer, waiting to open the gate.

The heavy door swung open, smoke forming curls and illuminated by the age-speckled bar lights, loud music, bar food, and the jangle of voices received me.

I searched the busy pub. He sat like he owned the pub, leaning back in the chair in a display of relaxed power.

Our gaze met and I saw amusement fluttering in his eyes. That’s what I wanted, right! I longed for his appreciation and attention.

He sauntered towards me and embraced me with a warm hug.

A jolt, or a tremor should have passed within me, but surprisingly, I felt nothing in his embrace.

I turned my back, parting and leaving him in disbelief.

“What happened?” he queried

“I am sorry, I do not like confined and closed places. I feel suffocated." I stated. His eyes widened in disbelief.

I remember, he once told me, “people never turn me down.”

I walked away ignoring his muddled question behind me.

I was on my way out in open. I felt relieved removing stilettos crushing and numbing my fingers.

The strain was removed not from my aching feet but soul.

A sighed, came out. The breeze fluttered around, gently caressing, comforting over many long, lonely years.

As if I have just arrived here, beamed in from some other place and time. Now able to see clearly. It feels like a refreshing drink of cool water after hours of walking in a desert.

A new me:

Yes, I felt liberated. Today onward I want to please only myself and nothing else. Walking on the pathway, soaking myself in the rain, I never felt alive before. A new day, the path of self-discovery, and the shunning act of undue people pleasing.

I am on my way of liberating myself. Living for my own belief and embracing self-love.

Buggy winked - a wicked wink.

Will share my journey with you soon!

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Hi there! I’m Muzna, the Founder and Editor of The Bliss Key, I live in San Francisco with my family and by profession I’m an eLearning consultant with more than a decade of experience, and a degree in Business Management and Instructional Design

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