The Recovering People Pleaser by Juli Wilson
For most of my life, I spent my days playing a little game called people pleasing. Here’s the crazy thing about that game—no one ever wins!! There is no pleasing in people pleasing, because it’s not possible. I was never created to make people happy, and neither were you. Did you just breathe a sigh of relief? I know I sure did! I was constantly trying to say and do the right thing, and I certainly never said no to an invitation—out of obligation, and a deep-rooted fear that someone would be upset with me. I couldn’t handle that thought. It crippled me. I so badly wanted to make everyone else happy, that I compromised my own desires and was left unfulfilled when the other person still wasn’t satisfied with what I could give.
Does this sound like you? Don’t beat yourself up over it. Admitting you’re a people pleaser isn’t a slam on your character, it’s just a realization that you care a whole lot about other people, and that’s never a bad thing. We’ve just got to get back to a place of healthy boundaries, a place where real, authentic relationships are free to grow. There is no room for conditional love at the feet of Jesus, and there shouldn’t be room in your life, either.
So, how do we do this? Here are a few things I do to keep my life and my relationships with others rooted in Christ.
Ask the Lord give you His heart for people, but also His discernment. He will help you know who you should be closest to—who you should primarily “do life” with. I’m talking about your best friends. If they aren’t seeking after God, they probably shouldn’t be the 1st person you call for advice when you have something going on in your life. Keep in close communication with God. He will never lead you astray. He’ll bring the right people to your path.
2/ Say No.
If you are already in over your head at work, with homework, family and other obligations, it’s OKAY to say no to an invitation. It’s actually vital that you do. We can’t say yes to everything, and for recovering people-pleasers like me, that’s a punch in the gut! But, it’s also a necessary step towards finding balance and peace in your life. You’ll never reach what is best for you in life if you say yes to every opportunity. Turn down some things so you can commit to better opportunities for the path you are on.
3/ Remember Who You Belong To
It can be a little intimidating to go against someone else’s wishes, primarily because we all have an inner desire to belong. We were created for it, and that’s the beautiful thing—you don’t even have to try. God already has your seat saved, and it’s right next to His! How beautiful is that? Shift your focus to serving people, instead of trying to impress/please them, and watch how beautifully your relationships will begin to flourish.
YOU CAN DO THIS. Seek after God. Say no to a few things. Stay focused on your calling. Quit trying so hard to fit in, and allow yourself to fall into the Fathers arms—that’s where you belong, after all. Good bye, people pleasing. Hello, meaningful, fulfilling relationships.
Join me in praying this prayer today:
Help me to remember that my worth is found in you alone, not in my ability to make other people happy. Only you can do that, Father. Thank you for not putting that burden on me, and please, take it off when I unknowingly put it back on myself. You are such a good Father, and I am so grateful for you. In Your name. Amen