Mind & Spirit

I don’t need to please anyone but me



Mad Hearts, be Brave…” ~ Agha Shahid Ali

This line captured my attention when I first read it. How appropriate this is, that we all have mad hearts — difficult to tame — and which need to learn what bravery is.

Bravery is a feeling that keeps fluctuating for me. On one hand, it arrives unexpectedly, giving me both joy and satisfaction. On the other, it leaves my side and dives down deep into unreachable corners when I call out for it.

My heart shudders with fear even at the smallest of issues, making it difficult for my mind to give proper command to it. Any number of things can send shivers down my spine and make me tremble, but one of my deepest, longest-standing fears was of not being accepted. Growing up, I had always wanted to be accepted, appreciated and loved by everyone I met.

Meeting new people always meant going through an entire process of trying to act in an acceptable, pleasing manner. Perhaps this sounds wrong but I believe it is how we have long functioned as humans and it is very much a part of our nature to try to please everybody around us. It took me years to recognise how wrong I was, to see that the path I was walking on was one that led only to degradation, not growth.

I was the kind of person who always wanted friends around me, to not feel alone. It was only after years of contemplation, and of feeling lonely even as I was surrounded by groups of people that I realised it was not about others; it was about myself. Only when I accept myself as I am will I be at peace.

Pleasing others does not matter — I only need to please myself and keep myself happy. There is no point in being surrounded by hoardes of people when you feel nothing but loneliness. I always had people around me but I felt lonely and I was never able to understand what this feeling was. I felt trapped in a cage with no opening, until I understood this was not how life works, this is not how I am.

After staying within that fear for years, I finally left. I left all the traces of the fear and moved on. My mother had a big role to play in this: she advised me in every situation, encouraged me to read motivational quotes and writings, and reminded me I was amazing just as I was.

Today, I know it is and will always be only about me.

I need not prove my worth to anyone; I need not let the fear of not being accepted take over me. I am a free spirit, flying to wherever my heart feels comfortable, resting on trusted branches, chirping to those who are naturally drawn to gather around me.

I still have other fears to conquer, but for now, I am happy standing triumphantly on the corpse of this fear. I am finally free. My jumbled pieces no longer need anyone to fix them, hold them together or define them — as I so needed before. I know now they are beautiful just as they are.

I need not please you,
I need not trust you,
What I am is not because of you,
I am because of me,
Love me as I am,
See beyond my mask,
Wander off in my tangles,
Study my pieces,
Dance in my colours,
Sing in my joy,
Accept me as I am,
And I will love you as you are,
Embrace my heart,
Let it stay forever mad,
Let my bravery never fade away,
And I will love you forever more.


{Photo: Rodion Kutsaev/ StockSnap}

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Sonia Shrestha

Sonia Shrestha

Sonia is a literature student who is on a journey to know herself, and is passionate about reading and writing. She loves deep and meaningful conversations. A good book and comfortable surrounding is all she needs. You can find more of her writings on elephant journal and The Tattooed Buddha.

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