You Can’t Please Everyone

Respectfully, Be You.

Regardless of how you choose to live your life, you will discover that some people think you’re wrong. They won’t like you. They may disregard your choices. They may think less of you.

Writer? Get a real job.

Suburbanite? Snore.

Fashionista? You’re shallow.

Minimalist? You’re smug.

None of this has anything to do with you. 

And accepting this truth – that you cannot ever come close to pleasing everyone – will actually release you of the weight of caring so damn much.

Because the fact is, we are all different. Different upbringings, ideals, values, likes, dislikes and prejudices. It’s called being part of the human race.

So just let go of trying to be everything to everyone. Instead, focus on the people you care about and decide how you can be right for them.

Ask yourself how you can be there for them. How can you support them? Do things that make a difference in their life?

In his incredible book, On Writing, Steven King says:

“You can’t please all the readers all of the time; you can’t please even some of the readers all of the time, but you really ought to try to please at least some of the readers some of the time.”

Realising you can’t please everyone all the time is a wonderful lesson to learn. But on the flip-side, no-one likes a jerk.

Be considerate. Be mindful. Be generous. Be thoughtful. Be open to change. Be open to learning and growing and finding your path. But be you.

Respectfully, be you.



14 Responses to You Can’t Please Everyone

    • I’m assuming this is RE the quote? I’ve seen it attributed to Aristotle (turns out that’s not likely) and a variation attributed to an author named Elbert Hubbard. Apologies if I got it wrong. :)

  1. I just wanted to share something very personal. First I like your blog and read it regularly. Secondly, I’m a lot older than you and have lived thru a lot of different things. For the last 9 years, I’ve lived with an incurable cancer, for which I still take a monthly drug that costs $9000 for 21 pills. Thankfully, we have insurance.
    But, that’s not what I’m trying to say. Your statement by Aristotle really affected me today, why? Well, the short story is, my husband , who has no contact with his 2 brothers for 11 years, got an email from one, saying he like a chance to “re-establish ” contact.
    Well, let me tell you why this is not possible. 11 years ago, before I was even diagnosed with multiple myeloma, my husbands grandmother passed away. She was very wealthy . She left 11 grandchildren a million dollars each. Including said brother. My husband and one other grandchild was left a very small bequest. ( small)!! We reached out to both brothers that how we felt this was morally and ethically wrong to leave it so imbalanced. They both replied in horrible emails that my husband was not entitled to anything and it went bad from there. We cut off all communication as it was so hurtful and negative. So when we got this email and you just wrote this post I knew we did the right thing and said no, we really can’t see you and “reestablish what is probably a phony contact. He would would say, oh you look good, how’s work, etc, etc… Superficial BS.
    I’m sorry to share this much, but it is cathartic to write about it.
    All we ever wanted was for both brothers to acknowledge what she did was wrong. But from their right wing conservative position it wasn’t. So, I cannot have this person in my life. I deal every single day with my cancer, my husband at 64 will need to still work for our insurance forever. And his brothers on vacation in San Diego and wants to see us. So, what Aristotle said really rang true.
    Other people may read this, or you and not agree but what can I say, I cannot have that negativity in my life.
    So, it’s say nothing really significant to this brother, do nothing to try and reconnect, as it would not work with where he is and where we are. And once we were zen Buddhists , and that would cover , be nothing.

    • Sounds like there has been a huge amount of upheaval there, Christina. I really hope you’re able to find some peace in the situation and through the act of writing about it. My thoughts are with you guys. x

  2. Thanks for the post I really needed this reminder after having a few “words” with my mom on my anniversary. She always wants to be a victim and for me it is exhausting so no matter who is at “fault” she never is and will do her best to come up smelling like a rose. She also never apologizes if she even is wrong. I can never seem to please her so I will stop trying and start remembering that you cant please everyone (mainly my mom) all the time.

    • That sounds like a really tough situation, Rebecca. Hopefully you can let go of a little of that guilt and stress by realising you can’t change it. (Doesn’t make it easy, mind you.) xx

  3. Brooke,

    Thanks again for a great post. I especially like your advice to “Instead, focus on the people you care about and decide how you can be right for them.”

    We each need to grow where we are planted, and do the best we can for the people immediate in our lives: our family, our neighbors, and friends. They are the ones that matter most to us.


    • “We each need to grow where we are planted, and do the best we can for the people immediate in our lives: our family, our neighbors, and friends. They are the ones that matter most to us.” I love this, John. Thanks!

  4. Hi Brooke,

    Thanks for the reminder. It makes me think it’s an impossible and unnecessary job to please everyone. It helps me to have a small group of friends who are naturally kind to each other, like a small garden to enjoy myself in.

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