I’ve done more harm by the falseness of trying to please than by the honesty of trying to hurt. ~ Jessamyn West, writer
This quotation hit me today as I was about to journal. It seems to speak to the codependency so many suffer from. This “trying to please” isn’t about doing something kind; rather, it is about changing “me” so as not to displease “you”. Jessamyn suggests that this form of hurting others is far more pervasive than intending to cause harm “honestly”. For example:
- saying what I think you want to hear in order to get you to like me or to keep you from feeling uncomfortable
- agreeing to “it” (an activity, a restaurant, a TV show) because you want it even though I would be bored
A relationship built on the codependency of trying to please breaks under the weight of maintaining its falseness. I harm me by denying my truth and desires while conforming to yours. I harm you by denying you the opportunity of seeing and loving the real me which might provide you opportunities to grow and stretch as you embrace the ways I differ from you.
Today, notice where you cause harm by trying to please and start to practice more honesty – kindly. Acknowledge the other person and yourself. Begin simply in situations that aren’t overly charged with emotion:
- “I hear your preference for Italian. I would like to eat lighter, perhaps a salad. Could we do Italian another night?”
- “I appreciate that you would like to take me parachuting, thank you. I would prefer not to, though. Truthfully, I am afraid of heights.”
As you become more confident in expressing your needs, preferences, inner truth, you’ll find that others open up to you as well. Watch as honesty replaces people pleasing and joy replaces fear.
With whom do you people please?
What impact would honesty have?