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.