(Translation of Theognis)
Not even Juppiter pleases everyone.
(pron = nay YOO-pih-tair KWEE-dehm OHM-nih-boos PLAH-ket)
Comment: I drank deeply and early at the well of "pleasing others". That
drought is so potent that for many years in my life I could not see that
"pleasing others" was not exactly how we were all supposed to be. It works out
so well . . . for a while.
Pleasing others earns parental and familial approval which feels so good (and it
signs you up for more parental and familial obligations as well, but that is
easy to slip in while you are basking in the glow of a recent pat on the head).
Pleasing others earns good grades. It simply does. Do whatever the teacher
wants you to do, and you will get a good grade. It's those non-conformists who
challenge teachers and who do not do their homework who fail, and it's so easy
while under the influence of this poison that people who please others are
simply more intelligent than those slaggards who do not. Besides, those who do
not please others are simply selfish. So, people who please others are not only
more intelligent, they are also people of high moral fiber.
Pleasing others earns good jobs, promotions, and higher pay. People who are
successful at their work and who make a lot of money are those who do as they
are told and please their bosses (it never occurs to one who is on the juice
that people pleasers are never the bosses).
And finally, pleasing others, or rather, pleasing the Other, earns you a place
in heaven. Those who do not please the Other go to hell.
It's a simple universe, this pleasing others. And it's all delusional. Not
even Juppiter himself could please everyone--even if he wanted to, and quite
frankly, Juppiter was too busy being himself (Mr. Lightening Bolt Thrower of
the Year) to bother with pleasing others.
And that's the rub. We can choose to devote the short lives we have to pleasing
others for the occassional pat on the head, or we can live the one life we have
been given, explore it for its own gold, let it's uniqueness be what others
find delightful or damning about us, but we cannot do both.
I suspect that there are others like me who spent a goodly part of their early
lives trying hard to please everyone. And then they ran into that someone who
simply could not be pleased. What a wonderful, awful moment. It jolts us
awake to realize that this business of pleasing others ONLY serves the petty
interests of others and enslaves us. Do you remember that one you ran into one
day who simply could not be pleased?
WE are likely to run into some of those folks today. When we do, let's quietly
thank them for the reminder: we do not exist to please them, but to live the
one life we have been given.
(Used with permission)
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