We've all been faced with tough decisions. I guess unless you're like a trust-fund baby or something, but even then, I highly doubt trust-fund babies spend their free time reading Odyssey articles. So yeah, if you're reading this, you've likely been met with a tough decision or two in your day.
But there is a specific breed of person who will always choose the route that makes everyone else happy. I like to call these unique and selfless individuals "people pleasers." You know the type; the girlfriend who always says she doesn't care what you two eat for dinner (she cares) or the sibling who always gives up the cool toy to the younger sibling (they wanted that toy) or the friend who lets you rattle on about the fight you had with Greg for 6 hours (her day wasn't easy either.) The people pleaser will always do exactly what everyone else wants them to, no matter the emotional cost.
I myself have encountered more than one instance where I had to choose between what made me happy and fulfilled my personal and professional goals and what made the people in my life happy. And to be totally honest with you, too many of those times I chose what made sense for the people I loved, not what made sense for me.
Maybe this is a result of Catholic guilt or our intense desire to never disappoint another human being (seriously, the idea of pissing someone off gives me hives), but it remains true. Until now. Today is the day we stop worrying about everyone else and start putting ourselves first. Right? (See even now I'm seeking validation.)
I guess the real question we should be asking ourselves is "Why?" Why do we let the feelings of others dictate our own actions? Why do we ignore our own happiness for the sake of another's? Why are we such push-overs?
I guess empathy plays a big part in it. But maybe on a deeper level, it has to do with our own sense of self-worth. Maybe we are so eager for others approval because we don't get that sense of security and approval from within.
If you're a people pleaser like I am, let's make a deal. For every time we give in to another person's will, let's make a selfish choice for ourselves. Did you buckle and see the action movie your boyfriend wanted to see? Cool, time to drag him to that new chick flick. Did you let the barista get away with making your order wrong because you didn't want to stress them out? Cool, time to be that asshole who walks back up to the counter and demands to get what you paid for. Did you choose the career your parents wanted you to when you really wanted to be an artist? Cool, take a sick day tomorrow and create your ass off.
Stop being what everyone else expects you to be and start being you. Even if it's just for today. I think you'll be surprised to find they all still love you the same tomorrow.