You Can’t Please Everyone, So You’ve Got to Please Yourself…

Years ago, when I left the cult, the words of one song stayed with me and played over and over. The song might have been something my dad or mom told me about, as they often have a good way of referring to song lyrics to tell me why things worked out the way they did or to make me feel better. Either way, these few lines seemed really profound:

But it’s all right now, I learned my lesson well.

You see, ya can’t please everyone, so ya got to please yourself

I spent so many years pleasing the pastors and directors of the ministry school I was in. I did anything they asked. I worked in the office for over forty hours a week, came to their home and nannied their children, washed their dishes, scrubbed their toilets, folded their laundry, and stayed up all night with their infants when they were sick with earaches, etc. I wore baggy jeans so guys “wouldn’t stumble,” wore an undershirt to cover up any remote chance of cleavage showing, and monitored any dress or shirt or skirt I wore to make sure it wasn’t too tight or form-fitting. I sacrificed my dreams of being a missionary, to the pastors dreams of me being an Administrative girl and a pastors wife. I took their children to tennis practice, homeschooled them, made them snacks, and watched cartoons with them. I grocery shopped for the pastors.

When I left that cult, I was lost and confused. How was I supposed to live and operate my own life now after it had been controlled for several years, right down to the smallest decision? Was I capable of making decisions on my own without “checking in with someone else?” Did I have to pray about everything and check my heart and my motives over everything, as I’d learned in the cult?

In other words, did I have to be manipulated by the guilt even though I was free from it?

The answer I found within myself on my own journey was….NO. The bottom line is that life comes down to it being about YOU. Of course, we’re a community of human beings, so we have to be fair and just to one another. But what I’m saying is that no one can make decisions for you, or dictate your life. You are smart, and capable. And the bottom line is you can’t please everyone. You can’t please those pastors: I know when I left, I didn’t. They would have people spy on my myspace and facebook and report back to them about how I was doing. Since I wasn’t living in their group, running by their dictates, they were unhappy. But, I decided that I was the one who had to take responsibility for my own life, actions, and thoughts and I was not going to please everyone.

In fact, I was going to piss a lot of people off. And I have pissed a lot of people off.

But, my journey is not your journey. You have to please yourself. And you have to realize that “it’s alright now…you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself.” Forge your own path, your own beliefs and your own ethics. Don’t let them be dictated to you. And when people come against you for how you’ve changed or what they don’t like about you, just tell yourself that, “it’s alright now…you can’t please everyone so you’ve got to please yourself.” And if that doesn’t help, realize that remember that there is good in the world and there is good in your soul. In the words of Allen Ginsberg, “Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness of the soul!”




Ricky Nelson–Garden Party


6 thoughts on “You Can’t Please Everyone, So You’ve Got to Please Yourself…”

  1. life is never about pleasing others or pleasing yourself. The later is so self-centered and will only bring misery on yourself, at least thats what I have experienced in my life. First and foremost its about pleasing Christ, even if you were wrongfully harmed, (and i don’t doubt that you were on certain levels) next life is about serving others not pleasing them, look at Christ’s whole ministry thats exactly what he did. You should definitely understand this if you have a heart for missions as you have said. But you cant serve others unless you have a willing heart. The great thing about truly serving from your heart is doesnt matter what people do to you because your not trying to please them. Im jus not seeing eye to eye with your view, can you help me out?

    1. In my experience, pleasing yourself can be a learning process that evolves over time. For instance, habits, thought patterns, actions, ect. that brought me pleasure when I was 18 years old may not reap the same benefits today. You live and learn. That is the way life is. i.e. If I learn that certain actions have consequences then I will naturally tend to avoid them later. If he likes self sacrifice so much, perhaps Thomas should try self flagellation. It would be the ultimate denial of self.

      To me, trying to do the whole “Christian Walk” and “dying to self” thing that religion expects you do to feels like self flagellation. I could never stick to it. It was like a diet that I just kept falling off of. I would keep going back and saying, “Yes, this is it!” “This time it’s going to stick and I have surrendered my life to Christ.” But, I would always fall off of the wagon because I couldn’t deal with the suffocation of always trying to deny myself in thoughts, words and actions.

      I still believe in God. However, the dying to self thing is what has always disillusioned me about Christianity.

    1. “The great thing about truly serving from your heart is doesnt matter what people do to you because your not trying to please them.”

      I’m sorry, but that’s just insane. Yes, it DOES matter how other people treat you, but let’s take your perspective to the extreme, to see if it still holds up. (And it it’s a logical perspective, it will hold up even at the fringes.)

      A working mother of three comes home to her boyfriend after working a double. She hugs him and brings him his choice of beverage. It doesn’t really matter that he’s been at home all day instead of looking for a new job. She changes out of her work uniform and starts on dinner. Afterwords, he thanks her by drunkenly knocking her around. The bruises will heal just like they always have.

      She’s just serving from her heart, so it really doesn’t matter how he treats her, right? It’s cool, she’s just being Christ with skin on to a sinner in need, right?

      Wrong. It does matter how others treat us, and it’s insulting to the grace of God and the simple human dignity that He’s given each of us to reduce ourselves to the abilities that we have in service to anyone, especially clergical leadership.

      It’s a simple lesson that you’ll pick up when you’re abandoned by the leaders that you’re slaving for. Servanthood should never be a badge. That’s how people become convinced to work a crappy job for little or no pay for years.

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