Serving vs Pleasing: Stop Changing Diapers

Look, we all want to help others.

It’s just part of being human.

But some ways of helping help, while others don’t.

Some ways of ‘helping’ actually make the other person worse off.

If you’re a teacher or a parent, you KNOW that pampering people does them no good.

And while I’m not a parent, I did get taught this lesson, over and over again.

Each time I would go to my abbot for some help that wouldn’t help me, his reply would be:

“I’m not your nanny”.

And with that, he kept throwing me back onto my own resourcefulness.

Harsh, but fair.

And oh so effective.

Sometimes, the best help you can give someone is a bit of tough love.

And the one kind of help that never helps:


Instead of pleasing people, why not serve them?

Like my abbot did: he never tried to please me, but always served me.

And that’s something we can all do.

Serving vs pleasing…

One strengthens and helps, the other enables the other person’s helplessness.

And nobody deserves the latter.

I suppose people-pleasing is hardest to stop for parents.

After all, it is or has been your job, for years, to provide safety, and food, and an environment that enables growth.

But at some point the child no longer needs that, because they need to stand on their own two feet, a bit more every day.

And I often see parents who carry the people-pleasing, taking-care-of-everyone-but-themselves to an extreme.

So if that’s you: stop changing diapers.

People are old and wise enough to take care of themselves, and if you people-please them, you rob them of that power.

Help people by serving them, not by pleasing.

You’ll do them (and yourself) the biggest favour possible.

And if you want to do yourself an enormous favour, maybe get yourself a coach.

If that would be me, be forewarned: I’ll serve you, but I’ll never try to please you.

You know, just so you know what to expect.



Also published on Medium.

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