I have a sister. I have two sisters, actually, but this particular entry pertains to one sister.
I like to think of myself as independent, strong, courageous … really any adjective that could be used to describe a lion would fit. I’ll resist peer pressure once and think ‘Man, what a pillar of strength I am.’ I’ll say no to dessert and suddenly have the urge write a ‘Dear Abby’ column, since I’ve clearly got self-control in spades. I’ll argue my dissenting opinion with passion and immediately rethink my career path to include law school and a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
So here I am, this [insert lion characteristic of choice] young adult. (Pictured below are my two sisters playing while get a paw to the ear. Classic family time.)
For all of my lofty self-impressions, all it takes to change my strong-as-a-lion-with-the-mane-that-gods-created mindset is one word from the aforementioned sister. Let me go ahead and clarify: My sister is wonderful. She’s always giving to people and going the extra mile when I think a foot would’ve been more than generous. She’s also hilarious in a way that’s semi-unintentional. Now that I think of it, both of my sisters fit this description.
At any rate, one sister influences me more than the other, for some unknown reason. Case and point:
I used to hate abbreviations. When a giggly adolescent would say something with a third of the syllables required by the English language, I’d glare another hole into her already air-filled head and mutter something like, “If Noah Webster could hear you right now, he’d throw his dictionary at you.” This trend of glaring and muttering was my go-to reaction until the day that my sister used the word (or half-word) totes. For you literary purists who I admire greatly, this means totally.
What began as me using abbreviations to show her how ridiculous they were became me understanding phrases like “it’s totes the best hun cal fro yo.” And then understanding changed to amusement, then usage. I was the abbreviation queen in a matter of weeks, and the crown was full of shame.
It’s a staggering realization—the person you’ve become in your mind is different from the person that others see. No one likes to be a hypocrite, but we all are at some point in our lives. If you have great expectations for yourself, then there will definitely be times when you don’t practice what you preach. It’s called being human. If you don’t accept that, then here’s a helpful test to determine if you are, in fact, human. http://www.ted.com/talks/ze_frank_are_you_human
For people pleasers who have great expectations for themselves, your life is so incredibly difficult. It’s impossible to please others and have strong convictions simultaneously, and trying to be true to yourself is most likely losing in the fight for likeability and soothing ruffled feathers.
What if we did something radical? What if we became God pleasers instead of people pleasers? What if His opinion mattered more than the woman’s sitting across the table at lunch? Or the friend’s that you’ve had since childhood? Or the boss’s that determines your worth at work?
I had this realization about six months ago. Since then, I’ve been trying be a God pleaser instead of a people pleaser. I’d say I’m successful about 5% of the time, if I’m being generous. It’s not an easy proposition, but I can attest that a 5% increase in doing His will feels so much better than a 95% increase in pleasing people.
Whose opinion matters most to you? Comment below or email me at email@example.com.
Margaret, The Rope Editor