I think I've spent the majority of my life trying to make others happy - which would be ok if it were some altruistic goal about loving others. It's not. It's about THEM being pleased WITH ME. For some strange reason, I have fought the urge to put my own self worth into the eyes of other HUMAN BEINGS for years.
And I know I'm not alone. Right? Others of you out there think through your outfits before you go out, wondering who you'll see and whether THEY'LL think it's cute? Ever bought something because "so and so" would like this - not even sure if YOU like it? Or worse, ever made choices based on what others do or have done that might not be the best for you?
The biggest one that I fight is allowing others' opinions of me as a person, mother, wife, woman and -in my world - a performer, to shape my opinions of myself. I don't like that I do that...but it's somehow a weird addiction for which there's no 12 step program.
I'm currently in a show and today, a review of the show came out. The reviewer started off by admitting she didn't like the original tv show on which it's based and wasn't a fan of the script itself. (Hello, 8 Ball! May I stand behind you?) While she DID LOVE some of the people in it - and I truly am SO happy for them - she was NOT fond of me. She didn't bash me, question my parentage, suggest I be excommunicated or anything terrible - but she wasn't fond of my choices as a performer.
She did go on to say a few lukewarm compliments about my voice and dancing, but in general, she was not rushing out to establish the "Amy Parsons Fan Club." Now, for those of you with the same affliction as me, you know exactly what I did! Completely skipped over the tiny compliment and proceeded to DWELL ON THE NEGATIVE! I put on that badge of shame like a rookie sheriff on his first ride-along!
I am sitting here questioning whether I ever "Hassled the Hoff" and feeling guilty if I did as I feel like we're kindred spirits. Am I the musical theater female equivalent to The Emoji Movie?! Have I become the unpopped kernel in the popcorn bucket of the theater world?! (One more, folks...this is fun)... Will I forever be known by this review the way some know Janet Jackson by her Superbowl nipple reveal instead of the incredibly artistic "Nasty Boys" video?! (Not me, Janet!)
The answer is "no."
We are NOT measured by one performance in a show, one action in a heated moment, one person's opinion of our outfit and a myriad of other external factors. I'll take it further and stress that we SHOULD NOT be measured by our financial status, our race, our gender, our sexual orientation or even what religion we practice or whether we do.
Our measurements of ourselves are based on just that: Ourselves. How do you treat others? Are you kind, respectful, encouraging and supportive? Do you build people up or tear people down? These are the ACTUAL important things in life.
So why oh why do we People Pleasers lose sight of that concept day in and day out? Yes, I spent two years in therapy wrestling with this topic. Yes, I spent years as a closet co-dependent. YES - I've gotten MUCH BETTER through the years! (Isn't THAT scary?! This is "improved Amy" admitting to her pleasing needs...imagine me before! HA!)
I would venture to say that many of us in the performing arts are people pleasers. Applause=affirmation. We just forget that LACK of applause does NOT equal rejection, a reason to self deprecate and something inherently wrong with outselves!
SURE - If you don't like something about yourself, change it. But if others don't like something, well lah-dee-freaking-da! (WARNING: This is a perfect example of an "easier said than done" comment. Good luck!)
So - here it is, folks.
I've had a great time working on the show I'm doing. I lost 20 lbs in 8 weeks with the show as an inspiration. I've met and gotten to know quite a few wonderful people and grown very close to one or two. I've had an opportunity to sing, dance and act that I haven't had in several years and it has been a BLAST. So I disappointed someone who didn't like my character before I even walked out on the stage. Oh well, MOVING ON!
People Pleasers like me: Let's unite and yell out a collective, "Kiss My Grits!" to the world who doesn't like something about us. For those for whom we MIGHT not match up, let's quote "Friends" and say "Va fa Napoli!" to it all.
More importantly, let's focus on the fact that we are made perfect in God's image and not let humans take anything from that - ever. We can't please everyone - no matter how hard we try!
We are enough.
Now - if I can only get myself to BELIEVE everything I just wrote. ;-)
"I thought that Victor Hugo's Epic Novel could not get any more boring...alas, I was wrong." - London Times original review of Les Mis which has now been performed in 44 countries in 22 different languages over 32 years.
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