Disappointing the Right People

Posted by on Jul 20, 2012 in Personal Development | 6 comments

Who are you living your life for? Are you creating a purposeful and thoughtful life, or more often than not stumbling through your life, reacting to people and situations?

The best way I know how to live my life is to live it for me. To be thoughtful and intentional in my choices, and loving and grateful in my attitude.

I tried for years to do all the right things all the time, yet I never stopped to ask what the right thing really was. I was usually doing what was right for someone else, not what was right for me. I was so busy trying to please everyone, I was pleasing almost no one. Do I really need to tell you I was pretty miserable at this point in my life?

I decided to start disappointing the right people. Let me explain; I can’t control what anyone thinks of me, really. Spending my energy trying to be something for someone else and living up to other people’s expectations is the kind of behavior that leads to feelings of resentment, frustration, and unhappiness. That’s not what I want- I want to be happy!

As I practiced putting myself first and living a life that is meaningful to me, I found the more I minded my own opinion of myself, the more others valued my opinion. The more I respected myself, the more others respected me.

Disappointing the right people doesn’t mean that I have a free pass to act like a jerk, ignore commitments, or otherwise treat others unkind. What it does mean is that I am honest about what I can and can’t do, I say no when I need to, and I do my best at whatever I do.

Accepting that sometimes I will have to disappoint the right people takes practice, and some days I need a refresher. Today just happens to be one of those days!

Just make sure when you have to disappoint someone, you disappoint the right people.” ~Jon Acuff

Disappointing the “right” people

The only person I can truly make happy is me, so I put myself first on the list. My immediate family comes second. In my life, everyone outside of myself and my immediate family falls into the “right people to disappoint” category. My friends, my acquaintances, my co-workers, and even my boss!

Doing my part

Putting myself first means taking responsibility for myself- for my health, my attitude, my thoughts, my feelings, and my behavior. I must do my part to be the best me I can be. When I’m not doing my part, I’m disappointing myself.

In my personal life I take care of my health by getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, scheduling me time, enjoying time with family and friends, and caring for my mental, emotional, physical, and financial well-being.

At work I do my part by doing my job to the best of my ability, asking for help when I need it, challenging myself to learn grow professionally, respectfully communicating with co-workers, and having a positive attitude.

Considering others

To be happy I must live in harmony with those around me. I will try to the best of my ability to be open and approachable, and be willing to work on problems to improve the situation for everyone. I don’t have to concede to others opinions, but I will at least consider them.

Though I regularly give my best effort to whatever I do, sometimes other people don’t appreciate what I do. When my efforts are not appreciated, hopefully that person has some productive feedback to share. Whenever possible I will do my best to accommodate others, and work together to achieve shared goals.

Setting boundaries

Disappointing the right people often means I am setting boundaries. Boundaries allow me to be considerate and kind to myself and others. I do this by being honest about what I am willing to do, as well as what I am unwilling to do. I show respect for myself and others by telling them what I am willing to do.

Setting a boundary can be as simple as agreeing to show up or leave by a certain time, setting a deadline, taking on a specific task, or saying no when I am honestly unwilling or unable to agree to a request.

Being flexible

Sometimes life brings unexpected change. As I work on living a great life, I must be adaptable to change and reassess my position as needed.

If I find myself over-committed, or unable to follow through due a change in my situation, I can quit. I can cancel plans, or come up with a different solution. Adjusting to change doesn’t mean I’m irresponsible- I’m being honest about what I can and can’t do.

Making mistakes

It’s okay to make mistakes! Making mistakes is how we learn and grow. Making mistakes can lead to great revelations. We’re all human and we all make mistakes.

Sometimes making a mistake is the very thing that disappoints another person. Though I do my best every day, I hope that when I make a mistake the right people will be understanding.

Giving back

When I am taking good care of myself and living a purposeful life, I can share my happiness and health with others. Disappointing the right people means sharing my life and my gifts with others when I have first taken care of me.

put yourself firstImage courtesy of shawnchin

I love your comments! Do you disappoint the right people? How often do you put yourself first? What does disappointing the right people mean to you?


  1. Remember when I attached you at Blissdom and told you how much I adore your blog? This is a perfect example of why. You have hit the nail so squarely on the head for me, and I’m sure for just about everyone else in the entire world. I love how you point out that you have to take responsibility for yourself first in order for others to respect you and your opinion. After all, you need to be in a place where you’re centered and sure of yourself before you can think about going out into the world and contributing anything of value or merit.

    This is something I’m working really, really hard on right now as I go through health issues and other such stuff. I’m trying hard to get my life in order and do what I need to do for me but also to balance work, my passions (life’s work), family, friends, my spirit, everything. It’s not easy. It’s a long road. But I know it will be worth it.

    I’ve struggled with guilt but you know what? Unless I’m taking the best possible care of myself, how can I contribute anything to anyone or anything else? Two back-to-back hospital stays have pretty much confirmed that I can’t do it all – even as I worked from the hospital. Okay, so balance is a long way away… 😉

    Keep sharing stuff like this and I might just attack you again one day. :)

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Jen! I loved meeting you at BlissDom and feel free to attack me next time I see you. :)

      I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I thought things were my responsibility and I made myself sick more than once trying to live up to all my assumed responsibilities without taking care of myself. I wasn’t living up to my responsibilities when I was sick.

      In my experience work-life balance isn’t an accomplishment, it’s a practice. Some days I experience balance and other days I’m a little less balanced. I do what I can, and when I’m unable I can take a break and take care of me!

      I really loved your comment. Thanks again!! Have a grateful day!


  2. Hi Chrysta,

    This was a lovely post. I liked how it was both reflective, and included some excellent advice in it as well! :-)

    I totally agree we can’t please everyone, and it’s a fruitless exercise trying to do so.

    What I’ve found is that by working on developing a stronger sense of self, my need to please others has reduced a lot. I still love to help. However, it is now coming more from a position of being comfortable in my skin and really wanting to help, rather than doing it just to be liked by others.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Hiten!

      I enjoyed reading about your experience trying to please others. The idea of being comfortable with yourself and wanting to help is a great place to be in life. Too often we react to life trying to do what we think we should to get what we want instead of simply making choices that are honoring of ourselves and others. I am far more likely to actually get what I want when I act from a place of self-respect and caring than when I act because I think it’s expected of me or think I should.

      Have a grateful day!


  3. Hi Chrysta,

    I find it is truly important to not disappoint myself and, as you said, to take care of my happiness first of all. If I am not happy I don’t think I can make anyone else happy. Sometimes we try to put everyone else ahead and we end up in chaos with no control over our lives. I strongly believe that it is necessary to set these kind of boundaries in our life.

    • Thanks for your awesome comment, Mariella!

      I completely agree I cannot make anyone happy if I don’t make myself happy first. When I am happy it shows and those around me often become happy by association! The reverse is also true- if I am unhappy, no matter what I do, others become unhappy by association.

      Have a grateful day!


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