I am in a constant battle to rid myself of “people pleasing” behavior. Just when I feel this ever looming monster has been conquered, again it rears its ugly head.

I am in a constant prison of self loathing as I find myself unable to achieve the heights they set. They look down their long noses in disdain. Self righteousness is their bedfellow. 

I wonder how they live in such a state. I question how they sit high in their towers day after dreadful day. They point their bony fingers and utter hypocrisies. “Do not do this!” “Do not go there!” They plan my path before I can consider, “what do I want?”

I want to be free..free from their haughty eyes and unattainable expectations. I want to soar the skies, sail the seas and go places they never dreamed. I want to be free from their prison of disdain, as they look down on me from their castle walls.

For you see, I am not like them! I’ve had my moments of self righteousness, delusions of grandeur. The difference is I  quickly come back to a place of remembering. 

For this reason, I glory in my mistakes and the low places I’ve walked. It is in these places, I’m met with compassion, truth, creativity, sheer genius. It is in these places I find people like me, broken people with a story to tell and kindness to share. I find an authenticity I won’t find in the circle of the esteemed. No, I’m quite sure these are my people.

Knowing the sting of an icy cold winter, they will offer a coat or a seat by the fire. They will help you chop firewood selflessly and tirelessly. They know what it is to walk home from work after a long day, feet tired and blistered. That is why they will stop for a road weary traveler. They know what it means to walk alone, without a soul to help shoulder their load. This knowledge equips them for empathy and they are quick to offer a helping hand or listening ear. These brave souls have traveled many miles. They’ve carried unimaginable pain and this is why they refuse to see another endure the same.

These are not perfect people by any means. They struggle with addiction, anger, brokenheartedness and dissapointment. The truth is all of humanity bares the stain of sin and struggle. The difference is these people are painstakingly aware of theirs. The other half chooses to wear a mask, esteeming reputation and position above truth.

I guess in their own strange way, they too are people pleasers, only their motives are self gratifying. Power is the name of their game and this comes at an expensive price.

Never sell your soul for the approval of man. You may walk a lonely path, but the strongest and most impressive warriors often do. This life will pass us by in the blink of an eye, and we will all be changed. The things that we once thought meaningful will become but a vapor. The things we forgot while we were busy with the mundane, will suddenly hold great importance.

 People pleasing will leave us empty and striving for that which we can never attain. Be the most honest, beautiful, unique YOU! You were meant to shine! 

“Shine on you crazy diamond!” ~Pink Floyd

Written by: Tiffany A. Jackson

Photography by: Robbie Osborne