People try TOO hard to impress others

In recent weeks, I've written various posts with one common refrain: You should never change just to please other people.

Still, many of us find it hard to contain this impulse. We place such a high premium on others' approval that we go to the ends of the earth to get people's attention, fishing for their compliments whenever and wherever possible.

A generous compliment every now and then is nice, but isn't your validation of yourself sufficient?

I know people who tailor everything about themselves -- from their hairdo to their car to their home -- to others' specifications. And I'm not just talking friends and family members -- these people cater to even their coworkers.

When did going with our own opinion -- the one that really matters -- go out of style?

Why give someone else so much power over your decisions?

I understand that at times we may take our cue from others who are more knowledgeable in certain areas. For example, maybe your cousin or neighbor is a trendsetter when it comes to all things fashion.

Asking for tips and suggestions is one thing. But letting the person dictate your entire wardrobe is a stretch.

That goes for so many other things -- from what kind of home we should buy to what breed of dog to get. If I based my decisions solely on what others say I should or shouldn't do, I wouldn't:

  • have bought a condo
  • be a bookworm
  • find staying in to watch Netflix on a Friday night more enjoyable than hitting the club
  • have majored in marketing 
There's nothing wrong with impressing others until it forces you to do things that seem unnatural or conflict with your values. If buying a $300 purse doesn't feel right, don't do it to impress your coworkers. They're not the ones who will be left to pay the bill.

What's more, trying to impress others can lead some people to become awfully cocky. They lose all traces of the humility that endeared so many people to them over the years. I've seen this happen firsthand with a couple of friends. Some of them eventually overcame that phase, but others, unfortunately, have remained that way to this day.

Being yourself and taking pride in it is gratifying and empowering. Instead of impressing others, we ought to strive to impress ourselves. 

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