People Pleasing-An Exercise In Futility

When I was a very young girl, of about six or seven, I remember reading this fable. It has stayed with me throughout my life.

Every time someone has expressed their opinion of me or what I do, this little story always pops into my head. I never discount people’s opinions, thank goodness that people have opinions and that they can be different but that is all that they are, THEIR opinions and have nothing whatsoever to do with me. I respect that.

So next time, when you are going about your daily business of being your totally AWESOME self, and someone offers their opinion that you did not ask for (keep in mind, opinion is different to advice; and advice you did not ask for is also different to the advice you did ask for) especially if it has the potential to make you feel bad or shroud you in doubts, think back on this little story. A simple story yet a story which carries wisdom of ages….


The Man, The Boy and The Donkey


“The old man, the boy and the donkey”


A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?”

So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.”

So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.”

Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time, they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said:

“Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?”

The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders and carried him.

They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.

“That will teach you,” said an old man who had followed them:

Moral of Aesops Fable:

Please all, and you will please none

So, as you can see, trying to please everyone is a complete waste of time as it is an exercise in futility.

There is only one person in this world whom you need to worry about pleasing. That person is YOU. You always know if you have lived your day well and if you have not. You are the person you have to go to sleep with every night, now and always. You will most likely agree with me when I say that it is much nicer to go to sleep with a person who is pleased than the one who is not. 🙂

Aesop has many more fables, and if you’d like to have a look here is the link for you.

So please, go forth and be as awesome, as you were put on this earth to be, and if someone has a problem with that, just be grateful they are the person having to sleep with them tonight while you get to sleep with awesomeness itself. xxxxx


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Jan Morris

I love how you know the difference between people pleasing and people loving 🙂

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