Who are you trying to please? What arrogant asshole has you feeling inadequate or less than? Don’t lie to yourself. The sooner you face the reality that you allow your happiness to be determined by how someone else feels about you, the sooner you’ll be cured of this. Sometimes, we fall in awe with people, i.e. being starstruck. We are taken by who they are and where they came from. In a way, we aspire to be that person and so we break our backs unsuccessfully to please that person. I am here to say, you must confront this person and move on, whether that person is a best friend, lover or employer. Whoever that person is, it’s time for you to realize they’re not worth impressing, and it’s time for you to spread your wings and soar.
The other day, my youngest daughter was watching an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. After SpongeBob’s boss decides to impersonate a famous clown instead of paying the money to hire the clown, SpongeBob calls his boss “Cheapy the Cheapskate.” Mr. Krabs’ true colors crushed SpongeBob’s false perception of Mr. Krabs. Instead of thinking of him as generous, SpongeBob knows his boss is selfish and cheap. While my daughter giggled at the episode, I processed it, having recently uncovered a phony in my own life.
Maybe you have a mentor or boss you look up to. Up to this point in your life, you’ve done all you could to impress them; you’ve taken their advice, strived to be a better you and made sure not to make the same mistakes twice. Yet this person you seek to impress doesn’t respect you. Where you listen to their opinions, they half listen to yours and stomp all over them. If your viewpoint isn’t their own, they can not let it go. You feel pressured into agreeing with them. Don’t.
The biggest part of growing is accepting and defending your well-researched viewpoints or holy-held spiritual or moral beliefs. Once, my former boss took the entire office out to lunch. She asked what I was getting for lunch, and when I said, “ribs,” she said I should get something different. I didn’t. When my steaming, tender plate of ribs came, red-faced, she said, “I thought I said get something different.” And I said, “I wanted the ribs” and enjoyed every artery-clogging bite.
As you grow, you’ll see you really like some things the person you wish to impress does too while really disliking others they love. So what? For instance, you may be against the death penalty while the other person is for it. Though the death penalty is essentially a moral issue, there are facts to bolster both sides of the argument. Just because someone has facts doesn’t mean their facts are more powerful than your own. Don’t let anyone tell you your opinion or belief is wrong.
Moreover, it is time to stand up for yourself. You must address every condescending remark your mentor, friend, parent, boss or whoever throws your way. Take a moment. Breathe. Then address the person. It is best to check the person at that moment for impact. Or you can wait, mull things over and call or text the person. Don’t let them tell you that you misinterpreted what they said. Don’t let them tell you what you’re feeling is misplaced, isn’t real or based on a false premise. No. You have to say, “Maybe you didn’t mean it that way, but I took it that way, and that’s what matters.”
If the person doesn’t apologize, tell them they have not apologized and why they should. Don’t accept “I didn’t mean it that way” as an apology. Getting them to give a real, meaningful apology is important in preventing them from making condescending remarks in the future. If they don’t apologize, they will do it again. So, without a sincere apology from that person, I would suggest you nix that person from your life.
Sometimes, we fall in love with the idea of a person. We place them on a pedestal and seek to impress that person, be it a friend, parent boss or coworker. In doing so, we often whitewash who we are. Mentors can sometimes build cages around you, trapping you in a world of their opinions and beliefs. They intentionally drown out yours. You must stop trying to impress that person, spread your wings and take off. You got this.
*Jermaine Reed, MFA is a writer from Chicago who writes fiction, nonfiction, local news stories and national news stories. For self-publishers, authors and other writers and creatives, Jermaine provides proofreading on Fivver. Please join Jermaine’s email list to get updates on blog posts, writing advice and free books. Get my recently released Science Fiction novel A Glitch in Humanity by clicking here.