Do you feel that you only matter when others are pleased with you? Do you find yourself excessively happy when others show approval but depressed when they don’t approve of you or notice you? Do you find yourself on a cycle of elation, then empty and depressed? If any of this sounds familiar, you are probably working overly hard to please people. Right now, you are on the hamster wheel but there is hope – you can get off and break the cycle. You will find happiness, peace and contentment when your goal is to glorify God whether that pleases people or not.
Try to remember that humans are fickle and often others think much less often of you than you would like them to. I struggle with this myself and I will tell you that I believe that I will always struggle to some degree but thankfully I have found that examining my motives prior to acting has been a key to change. I routinely ask myself the following questions.
Am I doing this for God or for my own glory?
What do I want or expect for doing this?
How will I feel when others don’t respond positively?
Am I willing to accept the outcome even if it is negative?
It is a good thing to please people. You can be a very pleasing person without being a people pleaser. Be a God pleaser. In your pleasing, serve God first. Serve others so that He will be glorified. Learn to discern between a request from others that you should accommodate and one that you should say no to. Not every request requires that you drop everything or inconvenience your spouse or children in order to accommodate. There is a balance here. We do want to teach our children to serve but the requests can be never-ending and spouses and children can begin to resent servanthood. Remember where your first responsibilities lie.
Take some time to think about it. If the request is not an emergency, you have time to consider it before giving your answer. This is also a good time to consider whether or not you are being controlled or manipulated. You are not helping if you allow a controller or manipulator to succeed.
In order to have victory over the people pleaser cycle, you may need to tell yourself some truths. Start with reminding yourself that your value does not come from whether or not people like you or approve of you. Also, remember if you choose to say no, your requester will figure out a solution. Their crisis does not automatically become your crisis. Finally, remind yourself that it is a futile attempt to try to keep everyone happy.
I hope that this blog helps my fellow people pleasers to gain some freedom. You can do this – it just takes a little retraining.