I am a recovering people pleaser. Notice the emphasis on the word “recovering.” I haven’t mastered the concept yet, but with the Lord’s help, I’ve come a long way.
A quote the other day made me think about whom we are aiming to please. God? People? A convicting question. So how do we know if we are pleasing people instead of God?
You might be a people pleaser if…
- You care too much about what people think.
- You spend too much time wondering if people like you. You are constantly wondering if this person truly sees you as a friend, if they truly like you, or if you are important to them.
- Confrontation frightens you. Your knees quiver at the thought of another’s wrath directed upon you. So you do everything you can to avoid confrontation, even if it means agreeing with something your gut instinct warns you against.
- You worry about hurting the feelings of others. Then worry again. Over and over. It keeps you awake at night. What if something you said caused someone pain? What if they can’t sleep because of your unintentional comment?
- You have a difficult time saying “no.”
- You are an overthinker.
So, how do we people pleasers combat these symptoms?
- Realize it is God you should aim to please and not man. For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. ~ Galatians 1:10
- Do everything for God and not for man. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23
- Learn from the wisest man and perhaps the one with the most experience in this matter. If anyone understood the problem of pleasing others, it was Solomon. Look at how he tried to please his multitude of wives and concubines…and where it got him. He states it well in Proverbs: The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. ~ Proverbs 29:25
- Don’t fear man’s opinion. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?~ Romans 8:31
- In the end, it’s not man’s opinion that’s going to matter. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. ~ 1Thessalonians 2:4b
- Trust in man is faulty. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. ~ Psalm 118:8
Working to please God does not carry the drama, heartache, and rejection that attempting to please people does. He never lets us down. His love is unconditional, whereas people’s love is conditional. God never loves us less when we fail. People will be sure to let you know what they think of you when you fail them.
Easier said than done, right? I am learning how important to place our focus on Him, rather than ourselves and those we aim to please. It has taken me going through trials to learn that people-pleasing is not the answer and not what I should strive for.
Hopefully someday by God’s grace, I will be able to confidently say, I am a recovered people pleaser.