Author – Gulraj Singh Bedi
While scrolling down a page titled ‘The Idealist’ on Facebook, I saw a quote recently:
“If you wait for the world to accept then you’ll surely die rejected.”
I’m quite disappointed with myself because it took me a long time learn this lesson.
To be very honest, I’ve spent the majority of my life as a people-pleaser. As a teenager, I was an annoying student, who always preferred to sit alone. I was quite popular with the other students. Not because I was the stud of the class, but because I used to help people complete their assignments. I used to do it just to please my peers in the hope that it would make them love and respect me.
Nothing changed after I completed 12th and started college. When my friends or batch mates were busy bunking classes in college and being up to no good at college fests, I was busy playing mind games. Whenever the teachers taught in class, my peers would be busy gossiping but I used to be busy taking down notes. I used to complete all the assignments and tasks assigned to me well before time. This time, I wasn’t a popular guy among my batch mates.
Well, I was popular with my batch mates but only when I helped them complete their assignments. I remember the day when as many as 15 people came to me with a request to complete their practical files. I had to stay awake the entire night in order to complete it as not even a page was complete. But, for some unknown reason, all these acts did not make me very popular with my peers. I stayed up many nights in order to ascertain the reason behind that.
I remember when I started my first job as a news copyeditor, my sycophantic ability wasn’t intact. I never really opened up with anybody over there. I hardly ever had chats with my colleagues. A majority of my time there was spent either editing the copy of the news stories or writing useless blog posts.
During my stint as a copy editor, I realized that craving for attention makes one feel vulnerable. Moreover, no one is there for you because at the end of the day, when the chips are down, everyone else is busy protecting their own selves. So, you got to be your own hero. It was here that I decided not to stick my nose into other’s affairs. You can’t even imagine how liberating it was. From that moment onwards, I completely refrained myself from pleasing people. I decided that the only people I would care about are my family members (I could afford to do that).
I stopped being charming and endearing. I was polite as far as it was possible, but I couldn’t offer anything apart from that, in addition to honesty. During this time, a very good friend of mine offered me a glass full of scotch (I’m a teetotaller but he didn’t know that). I didn’t say yes in order to please him and decided to tell the truth instead. I told him, “Thank you so much, but I don’t drink.” He appeared to be a bit baffled for a fraction of a second, but then he laughed and said, “You are quite honest about your feelings and opinions.” And strangely enough, there was no thunderclap and the skies didn’t fall down. We are friends to this day.