The Anguish of Pleasing Others

Robin Ciresi headshot



by Robin Ciresi,
Live At Choice Starfisher Coach



Growing up as a little girl, I was a shy, quiet and loving kid who lived most of her life in fear of doing or saying something that displeased others.


In first grade, I feared my teacher because she would hit my hands with a yardstick if I didn’t speak up in class or pay attention.  Fast forward to me as a young woman, I dated men who seemed unhappy in life and had all sorts of issues.  I remember trying to help them and please them, so they would become happy.  By doing so, I became a victim of rape and teen pregnancy.   My first husband picked out my career and school for me.  I just wanted to please my husband, so I enrolled into the school.  Later, I found it just wasn’t what I enjoyed doing, so I dropped out of the school, which then led to my husband divorcing me.   I later married my second husband and found myself tangled up in the same pattern of behavior.


Two weeks after my daughter was born, my father died of cancer.  It was one of the most devastating times of my life.  Prior to his death I found out my kidney was a match for him. I so badly wanted to save him and please him that I was willing to give up my own kidney. At the time, I was pregnant, and I was told if I went ahead with the surgery, it would be a huge risk to my unborn baby.  I was torn up on the inside about not going through the surgery. I wanted so badly for my father to be pleased with me.


To recap, I spent most of my life trying to please others, and living in fear of saying or doing something wrong.  I could never understand where I fit into this world, nor could I see my purpose… I suffered enormously.


woman with tape on lips


With a burning desire to change how I was living my life, I signed up for the Live at Choice workshops.  They helped me to see something incredibly important: that the cause of all the anguish and suffering I experienced throughout my life was my resisting what I saw happening to me.  Prior to the workshops, I would blame my pain and suffering on the events in my life.  I didn’t know that the pain really came from my resistance, not from the circumstances that happened in my life.  I was pointing fingers at my life events as the cause of my anguish.


My major transformation in the Live At Choice program came when I finally accepted that I would never have control of anyone or anything.  I also accepted knowing that I will never be right… only then did the pain and suffering subside.  I realized that the judgments and expectations I had of myself were making me unhappy; I could never fulfill all of them 100% of the time.  I made peace with not having to meet others’ expectations 100% of the time.


Now, I live my life without the fear and anxiety of having to please others and needing to make a difference for others.  I can say NO without feeling guilty.  I now listen to my feelings and my highest thoughts, and I connect with my inmost self.  I understand that -I- give birth to my reality, and choice is the greatest gift given to me.  I am now happy and present to the experience that love is.


  1. cz on March 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    incredible article! so true and touching. thank you for sharing, robin.

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