Whom do you live to please? First reaction may be, “No-one but myself!” I think society has programmed us to think that this is the correct answer to give.
I believe that we have become a very me, me, me society. There is this sense of entitlement that exists and I see it creating dissatisfaction and unhappiness in some people. If a job or a relationship doesn’t bring them instant gratification, excuses are made for why it is time to move on. Loyalty and commitment take a back seat to I want to please ME and I want it NOW!
Ask a few senior citizens to share their life stories. (Spend an afternoon in a retirement home and offer to spend time with the residents.) Listen carefully and you will hear about childhoods filled with chores and obligations, marriages that took the until death do us part very seriously and often many years spent at the same job that provided for their families. They may never have put themselves first but it doesn’t mean they don’t look back on their lives with a smile on their face. As they say in Yiddish, “They reaped nachas from being able to do for others.”
I believe that life is a compromise . It’s not always going to be, “Me first, me first!” I am not ashamed to say that at different stages of my life I have lived to please others. First it was my parents, who made it clear that I was the child and they were the parents and rules were not to be questioned. Today we would call that strict overbearing parents…back then it was called LOVE. When my four children were young, I lived to please them by providing a nurturing environment and fostering their creativity. I loved being a Mommy and would do it all over again in a heartbeat! My only regret is that the years passed much too quickly! Now that the children are grown and out in the world, I can live to please myself but wait…I am doing that AND living to please the man I have loved for 35 years.
This is where the you get back what you give comes into play. I am blessed to be spending my life with a loving, loyal man who loves me unconditionally. I reap nachas (there’s that word again) from making him a priority in my life. I adore doing nice things for him like making him a late dinner when he’s worked all night or handing him a hot towel fresh out of the dryer after he showers…I love the look in his eyes when he realizes that I am doing this because he means the world to me.
What are your thoughts? Do you live to please yourself, others or both?