The Moment I Stopped Pleasing Others

I've always tried to please people. It didn't matter who it was or how good my relationship was with the individual. It didn't matter whether it was friends, family, significant others, or complete strangers. I never wanted to let anyone down and I always wanted to do what others wished. If you hadn't already assumed...This desire can come with a lot of challenges because you're never going to be able to please everyone.


I learned a few years ago from the wisest women I have ever met that "Disappointment is part of life." We cannot live in a world that does not include disappointment, but I still never truly applied this statement into my life until recently.


In my experience, a lot of people associate with you because of what you bring to the table. This is human nature. We all want something that we feel we can't or are no longer able to possess on our own. The problem with this is that these are not real friends. You know who a true friend is when sh** hits the fan in your life and they're still there by your side. True friends don't give up on you when things go wrong. This is why true friends are few and far between.

I had many friends that I believed to be true, but that wasn't really the case. As many of you readers know by now, football was my thing and a lot of people associated with me because of this fact. I always thought these were true friends, but I hadn't suffered yet. I hadn't gone to that dark place and lost what I had worked for my entire life. When football disappeared from my life, a lot of associations were buried with the jersey. I'm not angry about this fact. It is what it is, but three years ago I was not at peace with this like I am currently.


I felt like I had done something wrong. People left my life when the game ended and I felt like I had let everyone down because of this fact. As I look back on my nineteen year old self though, I now realize that I wasn't the issue at all and I was definitely more than a football player.


After football, there was a period where I conformed myself to a person that just wasn't me. There were people in my life that I valued at the time and I didn't want to lose those relationships. I tried pleasing to not lose what I still felt lucky to have after my first true love was lost. I am lucky that I can say this now and mean every single word: If you have to change yourself in order for someone else to be your friend there is a massive issue. If someone doesn't like you for your true self they're NOT a true friend. I can GUARANTEE you that!


Overtime my mindset changed. The toxicity in my life was removed and there were a lot of things that were cut out. I had gotten a goal in my head. I had a new vision that was completely for myself. I'd say the majority of my goals in my life up to a couple years ago were for others. I wanted to play football, but I wanted to be the best for my dad. I wanted to get good grades, but I wanted to get straight A's for my mom. I hated bars, but I went out for others. I never wanted to get in trouble, but I was extremely cautious because I didn't want to disappoint. I had lived my life for others and this wasn't okay.


The new vision I had for myself after football was a marathon. I never believed I could do it and many others didn't either, but I worked my tail off to put myself into a position to complete the distance. When I crossed the finish line at my first marathon I broke down because those 26.2 mile were for one person: ME.


This was the moment I stopped pleasing. Disappointment is part of life and if I'm not doing what others wish that's perfectly okay because they're not Tanner Kern. Tanner Kern has to make Tanner Kern happy and the same applies for everyone reading this blog.


My life is completely different than it was in my freshman year of college. I may not be buckling up my helmet on a Saturday afternoon, but I am lacing up my running shoes. These are two diverse situations, but lacing up my running shoes makes ME happy. It's not that buckling my helmet wasn't personally fulfilling, but there was a part of me that was running out of the tunnel for other people.


So take a lesson from Tanner Kern. I was always afraid to disappoint others and that's just not healthy. It's an impossible task and when I learned this it was shocking. People left my life, but that's okay because they weren't meant to be there long-term in the first place. Make yourself happy and do what you WANT because in the end of the day we all sleep alone. We are the only person in our own head so do the things that fill yourself with gratitude and happiness.


What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear them! Send me an email or reach out on social media.

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Tanner Kern is a 22 year content creator and endurance athlete from Connecticut. He is the host of The Tanner Kern Podcast and creator of "It's a Process: My Tips for Becoming the Best Version of Yourself."

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