Why you can’t please people anymore.
Are you compromising on your dreams because you are an affirmation seeker, a people pleaser? Has approval or disapproval always decided the movement of your life ? Do your parents, friends and relatives think you are a bum? Well, they are right.
There was once a famous King, whose beautiful palace overlooked a never ending desert. This palace had a huge central dome that cast a mammoth shadow everyday over the city. It went as far as the King could see from his abode. (Think of Agrabah from the Arabian Nights cartoon). The King spent his entire life in the palace, growing up looking at this shadow every day. He never went beyond his city and as he grew, so did his ego. And, the King slowly started believing that there was nothing beyond what he saw. All realities of the world resided within the shadow casted by his dome.
Of course, he was not right. But the King had no reason to think he wasn’t. All he knew was what he saw all his life.
Of course I just made up this story and there was no such confined, unexposed, stupid King. But this story is relevant nonetheless.
Yes, your parents, relatives and others who don’t understand you and think you are a bum, are right. But they are only as right as the fish inside a deep ocean, that believes land doesn’t exist.
They only see as far as their dome of beliefs castes a shadow. You have flown beyond that, invisible from their palaces.
And here you are, trying to explain to them what you want to be, how you think, what you believe in.
Stop trying to break mountains. You are only human.
Don’t you get that you are simply not understandable for them anymore? To them, you sound like Jabba the Hutt when you are so eloquently speaking about all your ambitions and beliefs. You are a mess when seen through their frameworks.
Everyone has a framework, a set of beliefs based on which they judge situations, people and themselves. More often than not rules are more stringent for others than people have for themselves. Let us call these frameworks pyres, for they are upon which your dreams and ambitions get burnt.
If we dig a bit deeper we realise that these pyres are a direct function of personal experiences, place of birth, environment at home while growing up, teaching of parents, education level, exposure, company of people among other factors.
Do this, think of any 2 people around you who are not pleased with you. They can be your parents, siblings, friends, partners or even an aunt living in another country expressing her cross border dissatisfaction about you.
Now think about what factors would have lead to the development of their frameworks. Why they are what they are? How did they go about from loving the innocent you to questioning every thought and act of yours?
You should actually do this. Make a mental note of all factors that might have lead these people to have beliefs they have.
What the hell did you do wrong for this metamorphosis to happen?
They just opened a gift-wrap with a lot of excitement and did not find what they were looking for. They found you instead, with all your mad beliefs, twisted ideals and insane ambitions.
You, your beliefs and actions just do not fit in their list of My Beliefs anymore. This list, that they seem to carry with them everywhere is nothing but a result of their rusty framework. You are not crackable by their framework.
Maybe, they once did agree with you. Maybe, there was a time you and your parents high-fived every time you came back from school.
But that was when you wanted to be the best in your class, when you wanted to take part in that debate competition in school, when you wanted to win the drawing competition organised by RWA of your society and your parents believed that holistic development of a child is important during school.
Those days are gone, my friend. You need to move on.
Now that you want to leave your job in that big MNC and become a film maker, you are a stupid, idiotic, bum.
No, they do not understand you anymore.
“Children should do what they wish to do” is the hundredth item on their list of My Beliefs.
But, do, not, blame, them. Just don’t.
Do not hold them responsible for they are just a fish questioning land’s existence. To them, your words, your ambitions and your beliefs are what dreams are made of. And sadly, they do not believe in dreams anymore.
But, let us talk to ourselves for a second here.
Why do we have these ambitions no one seems to understand?
Are they for real?
Do we really want what we are constantly trying to defend? Or, is this battle between their beliefs and ours, is all what our ambition amounts to?
Will we be as focussed on our goals, if there was no resistance to them?
But let us admit, resistance or no resistance, it is scary as hell to get where we want to.
We know what it requires of us inside and maybe, sometimes, it is easier to blame others than to justify our own framework, our own list of My Beliefs.
So, once you stop fighting this battle of pleasing others, there is still a bigger battle to fight, pleasing yourself. There is a bigger hurdle to overcome now. Fear.
To actually let go of everything, these battles, other people, their beliefs is scary as hell. In fact, it is similar to death. You have to go to the other side carrying nothing with you. You are afraid you will be lonelier than ever. You think you will fail.
But then again, it is nothing like death, for you will be more alive than ever and that is why it will all be worth it.
PS — Most of the things I write are a result of personal obstacles that I am facing or overcame sometime in my life.
Have you read my flash fictional short story about Death? Before After, the final chapter.