notoriouslyidiosyncratic asked: Dear Lazy Yogi, I am trying to change my life. Trying to rid myself of certain habits that are not true to my heart... It seems I always feel too obligated to other people to make the changes necessary. Some people seem to help and hurt too, they're the ones that confuse me the most. I'm trying to figure out how to let go of being a people pleaser, to stand up for myself, and to not give in time and time again.
From a young age, many of us were taught to refrain from causing harm to other people. However, there is a difference between causing harm and allowing displeasure.
Pleasure comes from circumstances being perceived in an acceptable way to the mind. Displeasure comes from those circumstances being judged as unacceptable. As both pleasure and displeasure are the result of the judgmental mind, you are responsible for neither when it comes to another person.
The opposite of harming someone is helping someone. But pleasure is not what helps someone. You are not helping people by pleasing them. This doesn’t mean to say you can only help people by displeasing them. Rather, pleasure and displeasure do not enter into the equation when it comes to helping others.
Consider both a mother and a doctor. Both have their charge’s best interest at heart. The mother wants what’s best for her child and the doctor wants what’s best for her patient. That focus of what is best takes primary importance over what pleases the child or patient.
You aren’t giving in and being weak, you are just trying to help in the way you think is best. However, it isn’t working. Does a mother need to stand up to her child? Of course not, she is the child’s alpha and omega. It is by her grace that the child lives, and the same goes for the doctor.
You do not need to stand up and assert yourself. You need only to refrain from indulging the urge to cater to the pleasures of others. Don’t look for recognition, acceptance, validation, or approval from any of the people for whom you feel that urge. The more thoroughly you detach yourself from that identity-seeking delusion, the less you will feel moved to please them.
“Even as a solid rock is unshaken by the wind, so are the wise unshaken by praise or blame.” ~ Buddha
Stop being hooked to people for either help or harm. When it comes to changing your inner life, you are the master. What power others seem to have is only what you have knowingly or unknowingly given them due to your estimation of them.
Meditate daily. Practice tonglen. Read The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.
You will know where to go from there.
Namaste :) much love