What joy to have several minutes to myself.
Bzzz. A text message.
My neighbor: My son just made a cake, want to come over?
Me: Can’t come over, but you can come here.
My neighbor: Great, be there in 10 minutes. Okay if I bring a friend?
Me: Of course!
I slowly put the phone down and glanced around the house.
I practically leapt off the couch.
I spent the next 10 minutes running around the house picking up toys, wiping the table, putting away dishes, and desperately trying not to look like a busy, pregnant mom who just went hiking.
But the fact of the matter is that I am a busy, pregnant mom, and I had just gone hiking (as was obvious by the hiking clothes I was still wearing.)
What the hell was I doing? Why the frantic rush to not look like the person I am?
The truth is: I am a trying-not-to-be-people-pleaser. I want to impress people. I want their approval.
That was what all the rushed cleaning was about.
I wanted them to look around the house and think:
"Wow, this woman really has it together--all the toys are put away, the dishes aren’t in the drying rack, and there are no crumbs on the table, despite her having a 2 year old. Impressive.”
Of course, I knew they wouldn’t say that out loud, but at least they might think it, which to me was better than:
“Holy sh*t, this woman’s house is a disaster. How can someone live like this? When can we get out of here?”
I have written about people-pleasing before and the difference between people-pleasing and kindness. (People pleasing comes from the ego, and kindness comes from the heart.)
But despite knowing all this, and coaching others around it, my people-pleasing side still rears his ugly head from time to time.
At this point, you are probably wondering, "What does this have to do with prostitution?"
Last week I was reading an essay by Martha Beck in which she compares people-pleasing to prostitution. She says, “Anything we do solely to please others, in the absence of either real desire or moral necessity, is a way of selling ourselves, our time, our energy.”
It’s a bold comparison, but one that I find works.
I would rather have continued my lounging on the couch for 10 minutes. There was no real desire to clean, nor was there a moral necessity.
I was selling my time and energy for the approval of my neighbor and his friend.
Until next time...