People pleasing is something that many people suffer with. Many of us suffer from this every day as far as saying yes to things when we really want to say no. Pleasing our supervisors, co-workers, and managers to keep our jobs. Pleasing people at church and the pastor. Especially when it comes to our family members, who wants to say no and not prove our loyalty?
People Pleasing produces the feeling of wanting to be accepted, loved, appreciated, validated, and acknowledged to the point where you want everyone around you to feel happy. It is not until you get to the point in your life when you are dried out like a prune from being abused and misused. No one to turn too when you are in need of help the most.
You as an individual know in your spirit that you have a yearning to serve someone and something but you are not sure what exactly “it” is. That yearning later becomes similar to an annoying itch on your body that you cannot seem to scratch away.
You began to ask yourself how could this be? I just want to be fulfilled. Suffering from this feeling can put you in a place of isolation where you began to question your worth, your purpose and your identity. Am I really here to please others? If not, what do I do next?
I have been there countless time, where I felt my only worth was to be there and reliable to prove my worth to others.To me productivity meant worthiness. That stem down from our western society, my black culture, and family. The more work I invested in and the more time I invested in pleasing people.
I felt I would be rewarded in some sort of fashion. Possibly I would get the love that I yearn for, the time, the attention, or the recognition I knew I always deserved spiritually. Not what others thought I needed but what I felt in my heart that was needed for myself.
I could not figure out why I was so drained. It took for me to get overweight, bad acne breakage on my face, and hormonal imbalance for me to recognize that I was suffering from bad case of people pleasing. I sacrifice my own happiness for others, which lead me to feel unhappy and unfulfilled.
I woke up one morning looking at myself and realized that I wanted to live a more free life. I began that journey by growing and not staying the same. I wanted to be satisfied and not content. My journey started with these four steps:
1. Letting go of things that no longer served you.
In the western society, letting go is seen as a negative because letting go involves emotional pain whether if it’s from objects, relationships or people in general. We feel letting go is so difficult because we attach objects, relationships, and people with memories. Spiritually, we know that our time here on earth will not be forever. Every moment here on earth is here then they are gone. We feel that once it is gone so is the memory, which is a myth.
2. Learn what made you feel happy or feel compassion.
Notice I mention “feel” and not “you”. I placed feel because a lot of time we rob ourselves from feeling any emotion especially the negative. In order to feel happy. You have to know, acknowledge, and recognize how it feels to be depressed, sad, mad and lonely. It is the small things that count the most in life. We the have the whole world under our feet, but we chose to indulge in possession rather than God gift on earth. Maybe it’s going for a walk as you look at the trees or listen to nature’s music as the birds sing. The key to this is Seize the day.
3. Be assertive and stand up for yourself.
I mention earlier that saying no is hard. It’s key to people pleasing. Every once in awhile you must stand up for how you feel or what your gut feeling is stating. If you cannot stand up for yourself, how can you expect others too? Know your worth and stand solidly on how you feel. If you are tired or feel bad about the situation. Stand on it! It will lead to good things like self-esteem and possibly less trouble along the way.
4. Pray your way through
Saving the best and the strongest step for last. Asking God to expand your mind to overcome people pleasing. Learn to love yourself as Christ does. Asking for courage to understand that your worth is not built in pleasing people, but serving God for all his good and mercy.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10 (New International Version)
Praying your way through is a way to help you stay aligned with God’s purpose for you. When you please people your alignment is imbalanced and more aligned to people’s purpose which changes at the drop of a dime.
It is righteous to serve others but not so with pleasing others. Serve means to perform duties or service for another person . Please means to take one’s own wishes into consideration in deciding how to act or proceed (Merriam-Webster). It exhausts too much in us rather than bring more out of us which is meant for growth. Do what you want every now and then, but remember to keep things balanced. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (A Time for Everything)