When Did Being Nice to People Become "People Pleasing"?

 

Credits: anaanyatyagi on instagram

Have you noticed little kids walk up to you with flowers/ shiny objects or anything they hold dear, if they like you? Have you ever had a welcome more endearing than that given to you by your furry buddy? Why, retrievers pick up their favourite toy or anything they can get their snout on and come to you with their tails and behinds shaking vigorously! What is your reaction when you are at the receiving end of this affection/adoration? Does it raise an eyebrow or does it make you feel make you feel on top of the world? I am guessing that in a normal world of sane people this would bring warmth to your heart and a big smile to your face! My question is when did the happiness of a flower given to you by a kindergartner turn into buttering up the teacher in grade one/two?


Till date, when I am happy and when I love or even like someone dearly/not so dearly, I instinctively want to do something for them, to see a smile on their face. It brings a broader smile on mine. And people dear to me and who know me pretty well (close family and friends) have actually accused me of buttering up my teachers and “people pleasing”, in the past!! Sadly enough, in the forty years of fighting people off and explaining that I don’t do it for an ulterior motive and that I have been intelligent enough to get those grades without buttering anyone up, I have finally succumbed to having a distant expression, and controlling my urge to compliment another or going out of my way to do a good deed for someone not well known to me. Guess what, now that I distance myself from people and don’t make them feel comfortable, everyone wants my time! I just don’t get this dynamic. I do know the runner-chaser dynamic in courtship but this is ridiculous!

I am not naïve and I do understand that there are people who through their corrupt ways and glib talk take advantage of many a situation but do we consider that a norm and brand all human beings as cunning and devious minded? Sadly, today when my daughter or son for that matter, go out of their way to do something for someone not familiar to them, I find myself telling them not to get taken advantage of and not without a pang of regret!!

I have given this so much of thought. Why do niceties have to be out of formality only? Do you not genuinely feel warmly towards people in general unless they have wronged you? Why have we become so skeptical and cynical that we refuse to take a warm gesture at face value? Yes, we have been betrayed in the many years we have lived on the planet and I bet despite all the walls we put up and stuck-up attitudes we adorn, we might be let down again but do we minimize that beautiful experience of trust and affection, warmth and goodness in fear that we will be walked over by someone again? Is it so difficult to mark that episode as a one-off incident?

There is no need to bend backwards and put yourself ill at ease to make someone happy. This usually is an offshoot of not loving yourself enough. I have been there as well and this usually happens in relationships that become so important to you, that you give your power away. I would never recommend it. Please have your boundaries in place and do not let anyone get you to do what you do not want to do but don’t let that stop you from cheering someone that needs it or compliment someone around you. It doesn’t take from you but usually a warm gesture is paid forward just as a rude one is!

There are a few videos that pop up from time to time of someone buying a poor person a meal or buying someone a pair of shoes. Goodwill gestures to the needy are important but why stop ourselves from extending warmth to the less needy or to our equals.

It is time to change belief systems about man being untrustworthy by nature. Let love flow. Let kindness flow. Most importantly, let us not corrupt our children because of our bad experiences. Let them learn to live in a society that trusts and that is nice to one another. I do see a lot of positives in the future generations. They are not hung up about gender, race, language, cultures, economic strata or even waiting for a favour to be returned. Naturally, they are without malice so let’s not scare them into believing that they will be butchered if they are not crooked enough.

Let “People Pleasing” revert back from its derogatory reputation to a more positive footing of being nice and kind. Let this be the new trend. Hail the Dawn of the Age of Aquarius!

Comments

  1. Read your blog after really long! Too many things to attend to! You've so rightly highlighted the scepticism that has engulfed our sense of kindness and benevolence.

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    1. Good to have you back Anu...whenever you have the time, is cool with me! :)
      Sadly, it is true but the good news is that it is a learnt trait. Naturally, we are kind and I believe if we consciously encourage our kids to be kind and teachers in school actually have marks for kindness, we can get it back!

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  2. You have again hit the nail hard and exactly where it should be hit... You are so right when you talk about teaching our children the precious pearls of kindness, humanity, humility. The magnanimity of small, kind gestures cannot be denied.

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    1. Thank you Anvita! Parents and teachers have to lead by example, even keeping incentives for the kindness kid so that everyone strives to be kind till it becomes second nature!

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  3. Very well expressed, a big thumbs up to this pertinent thought... being genuine in your behaviour and dealings with others is always the simplest way to be !

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    1. Thank you Rajat :) Absolutely. Anything kind and compassionate is simple. I have never understood the need for complex interpretation to simple acts of kindness!

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  4. Unfortunately we are the perpetrators of the skepticism and cynicism! We socially condition our gen next to believe what we believe to be true and that’s how the pattern just continues!
    Such a wonderful and pertinent blog as always... ♥️

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    1. Sad but true! It can be fixed though, I believe, with effort and over time. A small change in our thought process with a shift from "me" to "us" will go a long way. Thank you confabulations_anonymous! :)

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