Cat From The Mat

The Disease To Please

Do you care about what others think and accommodate their desires before yours?   Do you take responsibility for things that are not yours to take?  Do you have the disease to please those around you?

Over the past 20 years, as part of my yoga practice, I have done of a variety of trainings on how to live a more skillful life.  A primary theme that comes up often is the power of choice in taking responsibility for where you are.  Don't suit the life others want for you; rather choose your life.  Your perception of the world is your reality.  To shift your view, in turn creates a whole new realm.  To be the author of your experience is empowering and exciting, and it requires constant attention.

If an adjustment in perspective has a supportive environment, then there's no dissent.  Inner change can feel organic.  However, when this endeavor is surrounded by external expectations that are often at odds with how you envision your life, the task is harder.  There's the rub.

I grew up in the south, where people are friendly and frequently indirect.  I was raised to be a good girl, which I was.  The social context upheld a desire for me to fit in and to not make waves.  However, from the get-go, my innate tendency has been one of questioning.  There was discord between what others wanted for me and what I wished for myself.  In order to persevere, I would acquiesce.  As I got older and moved to new environments, that learned behavior would still crop in my decision-making.

Living in New York City has helped unleash my direct self, albeit blunt at times.  Those urban environs have affirmed a candid attitude.  Of course, being diplomatically truthful is a skill that takes practice.  But I still wonder.  Just because the context validates me, am I still being a people-pleaser?

The flip side of authentic self-expression is being accountable for how you "land" on others.   Can you be proficient in speaking your truth (inner dialogue) while taking responsibility of how you are being received (outer dialogue)?  There can be a disparity between the two.  You might either take too much liability for the lack of communication or you can lose yourself in deference.  I have been on both sides of this slippery slope.

I invite you to ponder this paradox of life.  It's a constant embrace of listening to your inner voice while considering feedback from others.  Learn to accept the fact that you might care what others think, without self-diminishment.  Find that appropriate balance.  After all, we live in relationship.  This is yoga.  

On the mat, you practice holding complimentary contrasts in poses, so that you can become familiar with engaging in a world of friction.  You hopefully in turn become more fluent in the art of difficult interactions.  You connect, you shift, and you thrive…at work, at home, inside and out.  How you relate to the diversity within, will inform how you handle a multiplicity of perspectives.  Begin with integrity, with self.  Welcome to your seat…the way you posture yourself in the ebb and flow of life.  There are no do-overs, just do-betters.  (*pleasantries not included)

Cat From the Mat
May 2014