People Pleasing is Way Too Hard!

I like to see people happy.  I would assume that most people do too. However, what I have discovered in this journey is that when you consistently put this first and foremost before your own needs/wants/desires, etc. it can get very unhealthy.

I’m sure a lot of my need to please people grew out of the “had to be perfect” atmosphere growing up.  The weight of always doing everything right, not wanting to make a mistake, not wanting to make waves or call attention to myself/mom/family was always there.    I remember trying to be as inconspicuous as possible in social situations, feeling like I could only speak when it was appropriate.  When I did say anything I remember always being on my guard about exactly what I said to make sure it sounded “right”.

So, with all the emphasis on outward appearances it’s no wonder I never considered any of my own needs.  There was never anything mentioned that I can recall about learning anything about who I was as a person, or who God meant for me to be.  I was told that I could do anything or be anything I wanted to be, but of course it was definitely implied it had to be appropriate (according to Mom’s view of appropriate as I now know).

Discovering who I really am inside has been so freeing in so many ways.  God made me as a loving, caring person who genuinely loves people and wants to connect with them.  However, connecting with them and living to please them are two entirely different things.  I want to connect with people as the real me and I have discovered so much about who that real me is.

I feel like I’ve lived a lie for so long, putting on false facades, wanting to say or do the right things to ensure others thought I was doing everything right.  Not being genuine not only did me a disservice but others as well by not being my true self.  The sad part is, I haven’t discovered until recently who my true self is.

There’s a line in the Kelly Clarkson song “Catch My Breath” that says “Turning my cheek for the sake of the show”.  When I first heard the song I remember I keyed in on that line.  Afterward it would periodically come to mind but I never clued in as to why.  It took my dense mind a little while, plus some gentle prodding from God, before I had the “aha” moment.

I realized for years I had been turning away from “me” and doing everything for the sake of “someone” or the situation I was in.  I was striving to please everyone, especially Mom I guess, and never genuinely expressed my own thoughts/opinions/feelings, etc. into the situation.  How sad for me.

I’ve learned so much by being my new to me true self.  I need and desire to be obedient to God and what He wants for me.  Sometimes I feel like I’m running a race and trying to catch up for all the time I spent trying to please everyone and live up to other people’s expectations.

I am not responsible for other people’s opinions and yes, not everyone will like me or my ideas.  Wow!  What a concept.  It actually took me a little while to totally grasp it but once I did I felt such a weight lift off of my shoulders.   To be honest it took me more than a little while.  The need to be perfect mindset that had been ingrained in me was very hard to get rid of.  I was so afraid inside.

Who I am is not determined by what I do, but what I am inside.  God loves me unconditionally and has not given me a spirit of fear!  Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”

God loves me for me; the unique person he created me to be.  My worth is not found in conforming to anyone else’s image of me and who they want or think I should be.

I still love people and want to see them happy and enjoying life.  However, obeying and pleasing God is my primary focus; not pleasing others.  I never imagined what a difference this would make in my life.  Another step taken forward on my journey.

And so, the new-found me continues to evolve and grow.

Romans 8:37


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