Photo Credit: Google Images --Authorized Use
Last Sunday, I was lounging on the couch in our living room after my husband, daughter and I had spent the morning hiking not far from our house. It was a beautiful, cold day, and I was wrapped in a blanket just enjoying the opportunity to lay down and rest my pregnant body. My daughter was asleep (well, not yet), and my husband had run to the pharmacy.
What joy to have several minutes to myself.
Bzzz. A text message.
My neighbor: My son just made a cake, want to come over?
Me: Can’t come over, but you can come here.
My neighbor: Great, be there in 10 minutes. Okay if I bring a friend?
Me: Of course!
I slowly put the phone down and glanced around the house.
I practically leapt off the couch.
I spent the next 10 minutes running around the house picking up toys, wiping the table, putting away dishes, and desperately trying not to look like a busy, pregnant mom who just went hiking.
But the fact of the matter is that I am a busy, pregnant mom, and I had just gone hiking (as was obvious by the hiking clothes I was still wearing.)
What the hell was I doing? Why the frantic rush to not look like the person I am?
The truth is: I am a trying-not-to-be-people-pleaser. I want to impress people. I want their approval.
That was what all the rushed cleaning was about.
I wanted them to look around the house and think:
"Wow, this woman really has it together--all the toys are put away, the dishes aren’t in the drying rack, and there are no crumbs on the table, despite her having a 2 year old. Impressive.”
Of course, I knew they wouldn’t say that out loud, but at least they might think it, which to me was better than:
“Holy sh*t, this woman’s house is a disaster. How can someone live like this? When can we get out of here?”
I have written about people-pleasing before and the difference between people-pleasing and kindness. (People pleasing comes from the ego, and kindness comes from the heart.)
But despite knowing all this, and coaching others around it, my people-pleasing side still rears his ugly head from time to time.
At this point, you are probably wondering, "What does this have to do with prostitution?"
Last week I was reading an essay by Martha Beck in which she compares people-pleasing to prostitution. She says, “Anything we do solely to please others, in the absence of either real desire or moral necessity, is a way of selling ourselves, our time, our energy.”
It’s a bold comparison, but one that I find works.
I would rather have continued my lounging on the couch for 10 minutes. There was no real desire to clean, nor was there a moral necessity.
I was selling my time and energy for the approval of my neighbor and his friend.
Until next time...
It's Your Life. Live It Boldly.