We sometimes get caught up in the day-to-day challenges, forgetting our capacity to handle what comes our way. I am convinced some days are so demanding that getting through it seems impossible. I am in the middle of the day and be so overwhelmed by challenges that it seems that success is impossible. How we approach the burden, our attitude, energy or how we feel about it, all affects our experience. We can hear thoughts inside our head play over and over repeating the same old negative speak. Thoughts play the same message for days like, “I can’t do this, I hate myself and it isn’t fair.” Everyone is pushing us to work harder, make more money, produce more, sell more or simply give more. All this pressure can consume our life.
What if you have nothing more to give?
One of my favorite fables of AESOP is the story of The Old Man, The Boy and the Donkey. (Sixth century B.C.) Fables.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.
The story goes something like this.
An old man, a boy and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.
Later, they passed some people who remarked: “What a shame, he makes that little boy walk.” They then decided they both would walk!
Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.
Now they passed some people who shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey. As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.
There are some days that when we can feel like anyone of the characters in the fable. Trying to please those around us can lead to failure.
Last night, I watched the movie “Boyhood,” written and directed by Richard Linklater. This movie was filmed over a period of 12 years showing the growth of a boy and his sister. This coming of age film focused on the young character, Mason, Ellen Colltrane.
The movie was emotionally sad to me primarily for one reason. While this movie was a fictional tale, I focused on the life of Mason. No matter what he did, it was not right, Individuals in his life where never satisfied with him, hurt him, emotionally abused him sometimes pushing their own psychological agenda on the boy. Even more sad, Mason tried so hard to grow up and become a young man by pleasing everyone around him. While doing this he was overwhelmed by low self-esteem.
While it is true we are all guilty of pleasing those our life. We have to be careful not to end up like the Boy, the Old man, Donkey and Mason. I think what is important is not to let society define who we are or the journey of our life.
The moral of the story? if you try to please everyone, Kiss your ass good-bye.