Cartoon ‘Zoned and Boned’ by Kirsten Harris
Please Your Self!
‘Oh just please your self!’
Have you ever had that said to you in anger or annoyance, or in judgement of your behaviour? Or perhaps you’ve said it to someone else, said in disagreement. Does ‘pleasing your self’ sound like a criticism or something that a narcissist or a really selfish person would do. Does pleasing your self make you question yourself as being someone who is selfish, worthless, not deserving of friends, someone who doesn’t think about others?
Here is my take on it. First a few dictionary definitions of the words involved-
- cause to feel happy or satisfied
- take one’s own wishes into consideration in deciding how to act or proceed
- a polite way of saying yes
- to have kindness
- a persons essential being that distinguishes themselves from others
- the evaluation by oneself of one’s worth as an individual in distinction from one’s interpersonal or social roles.
If you look at the meaning of the words than pleasing your self seems like a very worthwhile activity and one can make sentences from these short definitions such as-
- Having consideration for your true self
- Taking the wishes of your essential being into consideration before deciding how to act or proceed
- Being kind to yourself
- Saying yes to your own self worth
- Feeling satisfied with your essential being
- Being happy with that which distinguishes yourself from others
- Evaluating yourself kindly
- Being happy and satisfied in your social roles
As a seasoned people pleaser I know it can be tricky to learn to please your self. And when you do … sometimes people don’t like it!
From an Alexander Technique point of view I would suggest simply stopping as a good starting point. We can learn how to ‘inhibit’, find a pause in the moment, and notice our thoughts and habits. We can learn to stop criticising ourselves or take on other peoples criticisms. I could go on …
Taking time out and lying in semi supine aka constructive rest does more than just sort the physical body out, it suspends the habits of our activity, meaning that our personality constructs can have a bit of time out too. Pausing allows layers of social behaviour to float away and the jewel of our true self to be revealed. This is a psycho-physcial technique after all! Making space for yourself is a very satisfying thing for your true self.
As an artist I value my time alone. I enjoy being solitary, though I am probably quite extrovert in many ways and like being with people too. But truthfully, really pleasing myself at this point of my life is being creative, and being at home and in my garden. I have been criticised for being a workaholic and not going out or being sociable enough. Pleasing your self definitely takes a bit of practise!
I find myself making excuses not to do social things and I realise that instead of feeling guilty about this and wondering what is wrong with me that I don’t need to rush around the planet to be happy. I just really enjoy being alone a lot to paint and draw and be with my animals.
I remember as a child being given a desk and an angle-poise lamp for a birthday by dad and being delighted, seeing myself monk-like filling a book with wonderful illuminated drawings and magical things and then realising I had nothing much to say and the desk had been bought to do my boring old homework on anyway! But that moment of delight was some aspect of my true self that is still present.
I wonder what pleasing your self means to you? I wonder if it makes you feel selfish even thinking about pleasing yourself? Does it make you think other people will think you are selfish or won’t like you? If so, spot the people pleaser! Maybe it is time to give the gift of you to you. Notice do the words ‘please yourself’ make your heart harden or some other tightening or constriction in your body because it resonates as a criticism? This is body magic information for you.
I wonder if taking a bit of time out this solstice to please yourself, your essential being, will reveal a hidden gem or two. I wonder if you will find a gift of gold lying underneath the magical Christmas tree – that true gold that is you!
Go on – really please your self for a bit today and see what happens! What do you really want to do?
I am beginning to think that perhaps the only way we can truly move forwards and upwards as humans is when we realise that being kind to our individual essential being is the way. Pleasing our true self and letting go of all the shoulds, oughts and demands that we have absorbed that diminish our capacity for love, truth and fearlessness. Perhaps then we will bring more kindness, friendliness and thoughtfulness into the world, for when ‘please your self’ i.e. be happy is a criticism perhaps there really is a need for change!
And if you are not sure how to start the change be like Maise and me in the drawing and start by lying down in semi supine for 20 minutes and just let the magic happen as you let go.
Body Magic – audio link here