Being Okay with Disappointing Others
Ryan had a problem with strippers.
It's not that he had issues with their line of work. It's that he couldn't get enough of them.
He frequented so many strip clubs he soon became an expert on them. Yet, even after reaching this (weird) status, he still didn't get enough of strippers.
So Ryan decided to make a tweak.
Instead of going to strip clubs, he and his friend would hire strippers to come directly to him.
Ryan was living a wonderful bachelor life.
Throwing money at strippers and getting a lifetime's worth of lap dances.
One day, Ryan and his friend wanted some strippers to give a private show. So he booked a hotel room and ordered a stripper to come.
They expected the usual process.
But when the stripper came, she asked to be paid first. It was an odd request, but Ryan gave her the money. The stripper counted the money, said thanks, and walked out of the hotel room.
Ryan and his friend figured the stripper was getting ready. But when they looked out the window, they saw her get in a car and drive away.
They couldn't believe what had happened.
They lost their money but, most importantly, got no strip show. Ryan was utterly disappointed.
We have to be like that stripper a bit and not be afraid of disappointing others. Now I'm not saying to be questionable with your ethics. More so in learning to be okay with disappointing others' expectations of you.
This is a big ask.
But if you live a life where you don't want to risk disappointing others at all. Well, it comes at a steep price.
Try sacrificing your well-being.
That's what happens when you care more about other people's opinions than your own. Someone rarely lived an honest and authentic life by refusing to disappoint others.
And it makes sense.
Because repressing your honest wants and needs to avoid conflict leads to a pathetic life. Anybody with self-respect understands this.
Frederich Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil, said it best:
"Sympathy for all would be tyranny for thee, my good neighbour."
Funny enough, this isn't even the most critical reason.
And I'll tell you what that is.
The thing about not being afraid to disappoint others is that it proves this: You see reality and are not blinded by illusions.
You understand that not everyone will agree with how you want to live. And that's okay.
Many people don't want to rock the boat because they believe in the illusion that everything can be smooth.
Life never stays smooth.
Warning: Cringe analogy incoming.
The best analogy for life is the ocean. The ocean can be smooth, chaotic, and random. You never know what you will get with her. But an experienced sailor accepts this and doesn't shy away from it.
When you accept the truth that your decisions and values will not have everyone's support, and you still commit to them. Well, my dear reader, you are one step closer to being the ideal version of yourself.
However, as lovely as this sounds, we can only prove this definitive version by not being afraid to disappoint the people we love.
This one is tough.
These are people whose feelings and opinions we care about.
And that's fine.
But the way to go about this is to consider these people's views and feelings. But make sure you are being honest with what you want. And trusting yourself enough to care more about what matters to you than others.
Yeah, we could be wrong.
And we can admit it without hesitation. But to ignore yourself in place for another usually builds resentment.
It's better to be honest and deal with consequences. It's more admirable to live like that. It shows courage, self-trust, and the willingness to stand up for ourselves.
That being said, when you're in a moment standing up for yourself, it might feel like an emotional tsunami crashing down on you. So how do we survive this?
The best way to survive is by preparing yourself.
And the way to do that is by creating the standards you want in life and reviewing them.
This is because you need a clear idea of what YOU want. So that when someone wants you to do something you don't like, you can say no. Because you know it's either betraying your standards or not.
And when you put it that way, it makes it easier to fight for yourself and not crumble. I recommend reviewing your life standards weekly, if not daily. Because you need to have it ingrained in you so you can live according to it.
So no matter what type of uncomfortable conversation, disappointment, or conflict, you will know what you stand for and are willing to fight for it.
However, some of you still want to avoid causing conflict with people that matter to me.
I get it.
But I'm not saying to fight and argue all the time. I'm saying not to be afraid of disappointing them on matters that are meaningful to you.
You should love and care for your friends and family. But they can't steer you from how you want to live. Otherwise, you will build resentment and anger. And that's just poison for life.
Conflict is king, as Heraclitus said.
Because of conflict, relationships either become more vital or perish.
Because of conflict, people will either respect you or leave you.
Because of conflict, you will either get closer or farther from your ideal self.
One person who used conflict and disappointment to get the respect of the world is Antigone.
If you don't know the story, Antigone was the daughter of Oedipus. And she was condemned to death because she refused to listen to her king/future father-in-law.
What was this refusal about?
Leaving her brother, Polynices, unburied due to treason. Antigone loved her brother despite the betrayal. And she was devoted to burying his body with funeral rites.
King Creon threatened her with everything in the book. From cancelling the marriage to his son and even to death. King Creon was serious about punishing Antigone.
Antigone's sister and others tried to persuade her to leave Polynices unburied. But one by one, Antigone disappoints all of them. Because she loved and respected her brother and wanted to give him what he deserved.
Nothing could prevent Antigone.
So she buried her brother and got sentenced to death. In defiance of King Creon, she killed herself to spite him.
Countless readers are in awe of Antigone because she stood up for herself and what she believed. Regardless of who it disappointed. It's a commitment to values that are sorely lacking today. And it makes sense why Antigone is the epitome of sticking to your beliefs.
And we, too, can take after Antigone; we just have to avoid this simple mistake.
Mistake: Not committing to your standards consistently.
Sometimes we get hyped up in the beginning and create standards. Follow them for a bit and then run out of steam in the long run.
Leading us to default to our bad habit of not wanting to disappoint others, even at our own cost.
It's an honest mistake but also a painful one.
So the way to avoid this is by making it a habit to review our standards daily. Maybe in the morning or evening, just spending a minute or two. Then after some time, check the standards weekly.
This will prevent us from losing steam. By consistently remembering what we want, we will naturally have this in our minds. And when the occasion calls, you can stand your ground when someone wants you to betray your standard.
And not to betray your reading standards, let's hop on to the summary.
The problem with never disappointing others is that you disappoint yourself.
Being okay to disappoint others shows you see reality. And don't fall for the illusion of a smooth life.
You need to be okay with disappointing the people you love. Since they can have the strongest pull on us.
To stay strong when disappointing others, you need to consistently review the standards you want in life.
Some don't want to rock the boat with people they love. But you must remember that you are the most important person in your life. And you need to trust yourself enough.
Antigone is a prime example in literature of sticking with your beliefs no matter who disagrees with her.
A simple mistake to make is not committing to your standards consistently. To avoid this, review your standards daily until it's dedicated to memory.
Life is full of nuisances.
And it's rough waters at times navigating them. But we must learn about them as soon as possible to deal with whatever difficult conversations come our way.
It's not always going to be pretty.
But at least you know you acted from a place of authenticity and self-honesty. And over time, this will lead you to enjoy life like Ryan does strippers.
Until next time,
The Charismatic Nerd