8 Powerful Things People Pleasers Give Away
Are you a people pleaser? Someone prone to people pleasing – striving to make everyone around you happy at your own expense?
You probably didn’t set out to be a people pleaser, but odds are good that you were “set up” for it. But before we get to that, take a look at this list. How many of these people pleaser traits describe you?
Where did your tendency to people please originate? It often begins as a coping strategy in childhood to maintain connection and closeness with your parents. If your parents where inconsistently available to you, people pleasing was a means to connect with them – an attempt to make them happy. While they may not have been particularly “tuned in” to you, you were very tuned into their feelings, needs, and may have even perceived them as fragile.
Looking back, if you had to pick between you and your parents, you were the responsible one!
That unhealthy relationship pattern didn’t end there. Out of fear, the pleasing pattern perpetuates itself in your other relationships. Fear of…
- Rejection and/or abandonment
- Anger and conflict
- Not being in control or not being needed
- Criticism, judgement, or not being liked
Sadly, the cost of people pleasing is high. In fact, here are 8 things you surrender as a people pleaser:
1. Your Voice
Each time you choose to compromise your own desires and say “yes” to something that’s not the best “yes” for you, you lose a little bit of your voice. Over time, you can’t even remember your own desires. The more you disengage with the person God created you to be, the more silenced you become.
Are you quick to agree? Do you apologize even when you aren’t the one to blame? If so, you’ve probably given your voice away.
Without a voice, the natural progression is to operate in a boundary-free way.
Minus a voice and boundaries, you’ve probably taken on way on too much! Are you trying to juggle more than is humanly possible? Have you spread yourself crazy thin?
2. Your Connection to Yourself
As your voice slips away, you simultaneously deny more and more of yourself.
You forget what brings you joy and disconnect from your feelings. You ignore what you need.
When your goal is to please others, you abandon yourself – you neglect you!
3. Your Authenticity
Without a voice and without being connected to the real you, it’s impossible to be authentic. That’s a problem! What people are drawn to is authenticity, and when it’s missing, something just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps you sense that something is off, but that feeling only spurs you on to seek more approval.
4. Your Internal Motivation
People pleasers are motivated by the approval of others and/or the feeling that they are needed – external motivation. It’s challenging to focus and accomplish your goals when you are running around seeking praise and validation. Eventually you’ll end up helping everyone else reach their goals, while your own goals see are ignored.
5. Your Own Peace
Peace comes from God. When you know whose you are and that you are loved and treasured by God, there’s an unexplainable peace. And in that place, there’s no need to strive, hustle, or go to great lengths to keep from disappointing others. There’s no need to perform or please. And there’s no feeling guilty because you didn’t go the extra mile for someone.
Peace – a foreign concept for people pleasers.
6. Your Self-Esteem
In an effort to avoid conflict, rejection, or people’s negative thoughts or feelings about you, you end up putting your self-esteem in the precarious hands of others. That’s a scary place to be! You might think you are playing it safe in the process of pleasing, but in reality, you are risking the chance to be loved! You are putting your dignity in danger.
7. Your Power
In essence, as a people pleaser, you give your power away on the daily! You let everyone else determine what you will do.
My granddaughter is an excellent four-year-old back seat driver! From the safety of her car seat, she knows just what you should do! You and I both know she isn’t actually driving or making any real decisions, and as a people pleaser, neither are you! Sadly, you’ve given away your power and taken on a passive back seat role in your life; perhaps even a victim role.
8. Your Confidence
And where does that leave you? It leaves you void of confidence and probably a little resentful too if you’re willing to admit it. After all, confidence is being clear about YOU so that you are able to make the best decisions for yourself in light of that clarity.
Here’s the Kicker
Everything you do for others; you don’t do for yourself! Essentially you reject and abandon yourself in ways that undermine your own confidence and self-esteem. You do it all in the guise of being a kind and helpful person, yet you are anything but kind and helpful to yourself.
To complicate matters, in Christian circles we are confused about what it means to truly be loving. In some twisted way, we think we are living in a holy way when we attempt to make others happy. Scripture doesn’t tell us to try to please man, but rather to seek God’s approval.
We do not try to please people, but to please God, who tests our motives. I Thessalonians 2:4b (GNT)
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. Colossians 3:23 (GNT)
There are many more scriptures on this topic, but you get the idea!
Here’s the hard truth: people pleasing is less about “loving” others well, and more about making yourself look good.
In order to genuinely love others well, you have to love them like you love yourself. In fact, scripture assumes that you do love yourself, because that’s how you are to love others.
And you must love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength; and you must love your neighbor as you love yourself. Mark 12:33a (GNT)
The world has made a hot mess of the concept of love, so it’s not surprising that we get it all mixed up. However, we do have a clear picture of love in Jesus. He didn’t run around trying to make everyone happy. Quite the contrary! He made many people unhappy, very unhappy, especially the religious leaders. So unhappy that they set out to kill Him!
Instead, Jesus knew that He belonged to the Father. He was confident in the Father’s love. He trusted God and He stayed in step with Him. Doing what the Father wanted Him to do – that was Jesus’ goal.
Your goal: to do what the Father wants you to do. He’s already done everything necessary to make a relationship with Him possible. He doesn’t need you to “please” Him. His happiness isn’t dependent on you and what you do, although He delights in your obedience.
God wants you to view yourself through the same lens that He views you through. As one of His treasured and forgiven children! You are so incredibly valuable to Him. God longs for you to live from Him, not for Him. He’s after a genuine relationship with you, not performance!
So, quit the people pleasing, and focus on what pleases God!
Our only goal is to please God whether we live here or there, 2 Corinthians 5:9 (NCV)
What has people pleasing cost you?