Mankind has a common enemy. While one nation draws up battle gears against another and people of the same household give birth to dissent, this enemy schemes to consume the feeble, strong, and mighty.
This brute of an enemy steals the lives of countless infants, spits in the face of the rich, and laughs at the poor. This unbiased foe isn’t impressed by your extravagant home, the fancy car parked in your garage, the gracefulness of your skin, or the labels you wear. Its only interest lies in the breath you breathe; the very substance that keeps you going.
This enemy is unpredictable, ruthless. It doesn’t linger for convenience, nor does it care about your lows or highs.
This enemy isn’t partial, and if it had a heart, it’d be frozen over.
A Formidable Foe We Cannot Overthrow
Death isn’t the typical enemy we encounter each day. We all expect it to happen, but when it does, the news can be shocking, even crippling.
The deterioration of her condition was rapid. A miracle was needed to get her back to a good place. Maybe her undoing was expected, but no one wished to state such. She had the BIG C, the bad one.
The disease was active, and when we initially spoke, she mentioned that it had spread all over her body, just consuming what’s left of her good cells.
Chemotherapy wasn’t an option. She had enough of that, after already getting about 200 or so sessions. A strong woman she was, and regardless of her condition, she never got the opportunity to worry about herself but tried to care for her husband and children.
She passed away on October 26, 2019, a bright, yet sad Sunday afternoon. The news got to me Monday evening, and I told my husband when he got home from work.
It had us thinking. How is it that we get to live together for years, build empires, bear children, weather storms, knowing that one day one of us will watch the breath of the other slip away?
How do we undo death? How do we stop it in its tracks? How do we stop the inevitable?
Mankind’s Quest for Forever
It’s apparent, mankind was carved with a burning desire to live forever. It’s engraved within our hearts, even though it’s elusive.
We fear death, and even the very man who sniffs the lives of others cowers when death knocks at his door.
Mankind’s quest for forever has been ongoing. Alchemists in China, who lived in the fourth century, created an elixir that they thought would prolong their lives. The concoction was rife with mercury and arsenic elements. As you can imagine, those who took this elixir met their doom. It was said to cause the undoing of many Chinese emperors.
Today, mankind still continues to search for a way to cheat death. Scientists continue to study the human cell and have purported more than 300 theories in an attempt to explain the reason behind old age and death.
Success has been had by some molecular biologists who have manipulated genes to slow down the aging process. Even Elizabeth Blackburn and her team have brought to the fore an enzyme that slows down cell aging. Despite it all, we still die.
Science clearly cannot conquer death; who can?
At the end of it all, my goal is to live a satisfying life, not one focused on self-indulgence or gratification. My life should be rich in meaning and purpose. It should be impactful, and one that my friends and relatives will remember.
Since mankind’s enemy, death, remains impartial, let us all grow in love and widen out in our affection. We don’t know when death will come, but we can leave our touch on hearts.
The desire to fit in is natural; it’s only human nature. But, to what lengths would you go to get ‘everyone’ to like you? There’s a steep price to pay and I settled a heavy score.
Recollections of my identity crisis conundrum are clear.
There’s always this period where adolescents need to develop their own convictions, find themselves, and choose the sort of character they wish to assume.
The pathetic people-pleaser.
I shoved my goals to the rear with politeness, accepted rebukes without question, and ran errands like the efficient gopher.
Through it all, with emotions suppressed like an inflated balloon and the burning desire for acceptance, I endured.
I was about to gain well-meaning friends who’d walk through a burning furnace for me.
I was wrong.
It seemed too good to be true… and it was.
The bullying, self-denial, and embarrassment was a crippling albatross.
The need to be liked was strong.
Getting everyone to like me meant rapid transformation. When master yelled, “Jump”, the puny slave cowered, “How high?”
To this day, those experiences left vivid slashes across my heart and an intestinal uproar that I’ve never been able to leave behind.
How could the people I loved and cared for deal such a treacherous blow?
The denouement was ghastly – they didn’t love me.
Your experience of trying to get under the good graces of others might be different, but it reveals something about people of our disposition – we love people and cherish loyalty.
As unfortunate as it is, people of our nature would rather dodge confrontations by waving sayonara to our rights and wishes.
After dealing with verbal, physical, and emotional abuse from people who weren’t blood, I came to the grueling reality –not everyone would like me.
The same is true for you. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
You’re Perfectly Normal
I’ve had several awkward moments growing up.
I considered myself a misanthropic, so when I decided to reach out and get friendly, it felt weird.
I was climbing out of my comfort zone, and although it was new, it was oddly refreshing, until you really get to know people.
We are creatures of community. As much as some of us love solitude, the need for company eventually overthrows us. Being liked by others gives a sense of purpose and belonging.
It’s something we yearn for, and it’s something you’ve likely pursued, friendship.
If that desire is strong, don’t sweat it.
You’re perfectly normal.
That’s how you were made. ‘No man is an island’, right?
But, sometimes it gets overwhelming and you realize the same lengths at which you’re willing to go, others aren’t willing to climb that high.
If you have to throw yourself under a bus for people to accept you, it’s not worth it.
You must break free.
Breaking Free from the Pushover and People-Pleaser Syndrome
You’re on a journey. If for every step you take you’d have to proceed with meticulousness to please Johnny, Tim, Dick, and Harry, how long would it honestly take you to get to your destination?
What if your demeanor and goals displease others, even though they are morally acceptable? Would you be willing to forgo them just so that others can have their way all the time?
Living that way is unhealthy. No one should deny themselves simply because someone else doesn’t concur.
It’s important to break free from the pushover and people-pleaser syndrome and I’m going to highlight how I subdued this albatross.
Yes, it’s that simple. Say NO. There’s no need to shout it out, a simple one should suffice.
If your first ‘no’ was called a bluff, repeat firmly, but with respect. Your eyes and body should show that your ‘no’ means just that, no.
Without proper, clear boundaries, people will think they have 24/7 access to you or you’re obligated to jump at their every call.
Set clear boundaries. Let people know when you are and aren’t available.
As a freelance writer, I’m not location dependent. I have relative freedom and can work anywhere in my country.
I can also comfortably engage in activities that would otherwise be difficult if I worked a typical 9-5.
Many people don’t understand what I do in Jamaica.
Because of my present work situation, people could readily conclude that I have all the time in the world to run errands for them.
How do I create a balance? I make things transparent. I talk about work often and how much I have to get done.
Recognize that You Won’t Be Able to Please Everyone
A good man dedicates his life to giving and raising up those who aren’t in a position to help themselves. What do people say about him?
“He’s full of himself”
“He’s working to be seen by others.”
Varying reactions to what this person does are endless.
On the other hand, we have someone who lives a selfish life. He does what he wants, when he wants, and at the expense of others. Naturally, people’s reaction to this sort of persona is apparent; they’d stay clear of him.
The characters I’ve zoomed in on are fictional, but the situations aren’t. The moral to it all? You can be the best character there is, and people would still curse you to your very face.
Be true to you. You won’t be able to please everyone. The reality is, not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.
Let me repeat that again: “Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.”
Let that sink in for a moment.
Embracing the Real You
I’m all about making improvements to ensure that I’m my best self. Maybe I need to work at cultivating more humility.
Maybe I’m too impatient or maybe I just need to open my heart and be more generous.
Improvements, they are necessary.
But, I do not believe in changing who you are to fit someone else’s agenda or who they think you should be. That’s not their call to make. Their standard of living should not dictate the form or shape you should assume.
I’m a God-fearing person. The Giver of Life is the ultimate compass I use to direct my life. If he says there’s something that needs to be thrown out or reworked, I’m all for it.
If you truly believe that you’re doing everything you can to improve you and do what’s right, there’s no need to push ahead to succumb to the wiles of others.
The decision to choose what you want to do is set before you.
Whether you choose to be the pathetic people-pleaser as I was or choose to say no to the unrealistic and everchanging demands of people, there are consequences.
You get to decide what repercussions you get to live with.
At the end of it all, remember that regardless of what you do, not everyone is going to like you, and that’s okay.