Wanting To Do Better To Please Someone Else Is Not Selling Out, It’s Just Motivation!

Photo: gettyimages.com

Coming into 2018, many people are coming up with their New Year’s Resolutions, some appearing on their list for several years in a row. Whether it be to quit smoking, go on that diet, or start hitting the gym. They may be things that have no downside, they give you more energy, improve your health. Maybe it’s the year you go back to school or find that better job. You’ve wanted to do it but for whatever reason, you never find the motivation.

Then you meet him or her, someone that either consciously or unconsciously makes you want to do better. Therein lies the rub. You see some people have issues about doing a thing that makes them better, to please another person.

“I ain’t putting myself out there to please some man.”

“I shouldn’t have to buy someone’s love.”

“They’ll have to accept me for who I am.”

“I’ll look like a punk if I do that for a woman.”

Lest we forget, you wouldn’t be doing it for them, it would be for you. They were simply the motivation.

Photo: getty images.com

I think the thing we fear the most is rejection. If we do that thing, whatever it is and it doesn’t result in what you might have hoped for. Your efforts will have been for naught. It is my observation (generalization alert) that women are more likely to object to doing something to please a man in advance, while men are more likely to complain after the fact. Unfortunately, basic man think is that there should be a return on an investment whether it be dinner, a movie, flowers, or the sacrifice of a bad habit. They “can’t believe” that their efforts went unappreciated. Women are more often concerned about getting used, you see they expect a return on their investment as well.

I submit that men and women alike are looking at it all wrong. True enlightenment lies in receiving joy from the act of giving, doing, sharing, solely for the purpose of pleasing another. The benefits don’t go only to the receiving party. The giver is rewarded as well. Often the unintended consequences is that the mere act of a gesture with no reward intended, the effort without expectations… will be rewarded a hundred times over precisely because nothing was required in return.

So if the thought crosses your mind to cook a meal, wash a car, bring flowers, or take a class. Don’t consider it in terms of, what will I get in return? Think of it in terms of, how much happiness can I bring? The return will be greater than you imagined, the benefits unceasing.

Honest Conversations…

I was having a conversation with a close friend who was describing a relationship she was not in and sharing the reason why. She started telling me about what he thinks, but after a number of pointed questions. It became clear that there was that which he actually said, and those areas where she’d filled in the blanks. Because we’re good friends, I was able to suggest to her that she wasn’t engaging in honest conversation with the man but had superimposed many of her suppositions and created an outcome that perhaps neither wanted. Feeling smug, which I am wont to do after scoring a rare victory where she conceded the point. It didn’t take long before she turned the tables and asks me to consider my own history and wondered if perhaps honest conversations might have created different outcomes for me. She didn’t quite throw my two divorces in my face, I think she was saving them in case she needed more ammunition.

I looked back at my own failed relationships and decided that perhaps I could have done better in the honesty department. I conceded some of those relationships shouldn’t have gone past the first date. Let me be clear that honest conversation is not the opposite of lying. You can tell only the truth without ever sharing the important things that could end a relationship if you fail to discuss them or strengthen your bond should you dare.

An honest conversation starts with how you represent yourself initially. People will naturally try to put their best foot forward and try to make a good impression. I am great at that part of a relationship. Without bragging I’m smart, have a few good stories to tell about myself and am considerate and thoughtful. I’m tall (which by the way isn’t a character trait) and have some remnants of the athletic build I had in college. But an honest conversation would include weaknesses I’m reluctant to share. Pride has humbled me on more than one occasion and I don’t readily trust others to accept things about me which I would immediately accept in them. I’m slow to acknowledge (or discuss) that a relationship isn’t working and do what it takes to get it back on track.

I recently had dinner with someone with whom a relationship had ended badly. At her request, we met and talked and shared some of the things we didn’t say to each other when it might have mattered. She apologized for her role and me for mine. We might not have survived anyway but an honest conversation could have made a difference. I was able to remember the things I originally liked about her.

Another woman once asked me, “You seem too good to be true, what’s wrong with you?” I gave her an accurate list in that everything I mentioned was true. It was an opportunity to say the things I feared to say and I missed it. Second chances don’t always come around. There are some people I would say, I’m sorry” to. There are some apologies perhaps to me owed. The point is, we can all do better; me, my friend, perhaps you? When given the chance, try providing more than just a truthful answer. How about an honest one?

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