My childhood was full of tension. There were eight of us so the house was full of fighting for physical territory, emotional support, and food. Being one of the youngest I learned quickly who to avoid and who to pick on. Often I found myself enjoying the sport of a good wrestle for the couch or the beloved remote control. Quickly these friendly banters turned to rough housing, screaming matches, and yes, a quick punch to any available body part.
My mom sometimes tried to intercept such situations by saying things like "Be the bigger man!" or my personal irritant, "You can catch flies better with honey than you can with vinegar." I wish you could hear her tone...almost like sweet goodness coated around a pill of "I mean business!" These attempts worked. I never wanted to let my sweet mother down, but as I grew (well into my 20's) I started asking the question...Why would I want to catch flies anyway? There are some people I don't want in my circle of friends! I know my mom said this mantra mainly to keep peace within the household but for some reason I over-nurtured my people-pleasing seed which has the ability of overshadowing my own needs if left unchecked.
My life has become dotted with emotional hurdles. Sometimes I soar effortlessly over these lumps of anguish. Other times I'm clawing my way up, hoping for a peek at the clarity that lies beyond. More often than I'd like to admit, these hurdles stem from my old vice, people-pleasing. After each climb whether it be easy or profoundly hard, I've come to realize that I have no time or room in my life for "flies." In fact, I think it absurd to try to catch people when they don't want to be caught. My older and wiser sister once explained to me that by spending so much energy trying to please everyone, I'm really robbing those I love and need me most. I'm too concerned by what others are feeling or thinking that I've exhausted my reserve. I've nothing left for myself or those who really love me.
So now I'm more picky about with whom I share my honey. And I'm trying not to feel guilty when I spit vinegar. Life is too short to be fussing over flies anyway! I just want to spend my love and energy on those who will appreciate it most and who will lovingly give in return.
I know of so many women who struggle with pleasing everyone connected with them. It's hard to stay grounded when you depend on the approval of others. Do for yourself. Follow what makes you happy. Realize it's okay to take a different path than everyone around you; it just might make you happiest.
1 hour ago