Have you ever struggled with being a people-pleaser? Feeling like you have to do what others want, so they’ll love and accept you? Almost never being able to say “NO” to someone, so as not to disappoint them? I’ve struggled with that in my life. I like to make others happy, sometimes at my own expense. I’ve often done what I could to please the other person (almost afraid not to do what they want, for fear of upsetting them, or even losing them). Let me tell you, this is not a fun way to be.
A great example of this (besides me, LOL) is the character “Jane” in the movie 27 Dresses. Maybe you’ve seen it? Jane is the perfect picture of a classic people-pleaser. During most of the movie she does whatever everyone wants, even if it’s not what she wants. She always hides her feelings, and subjects herself to the will of the other person in whatever situation that may be.
The problem is, towards the end of the movie, after years of people-pleasing and hiding pent-up resentful feelings towards others, Jane explodes in a very destructive way. This emotional explosion ends up hurting loved ones and causing far-reaching effects. Jane does, though, change her ways by the end of the movie. She stops being a people-pleaser and stands up for what she wants, but not without first having caused damage in close relationships (which do eventually get repaired by the end of the movie.)
So why do some of us people please? This is what I’ve found for myself. Remember in my post, “Toss Fear into the Trash,” I talked about how the Bible states that, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out all fear?” That’s the answer to the people-pleasing problem right there. People-pleasing is mostly fear based. I wanted to please other people for fear of upsetting them or losing them. But there were two issues going on. One, I wasn’t feeling unconditional love from whomever I was people-pleasing. And two, I wasn’t receiving or feeling the unconditional love that I know God has for me. Between the two of these, I became a bonafide people-pleaser.
I realize that when others do not show me unconditional love, it’s unfortunately how things are in this world. People aren’t perfect, and thus, don’t always know how to love perfectly. We can do our best to attain perfect love, but only God can love perfectly. So in relationships with others, I’ve come to understand that I have to decide how close I want to be with people that only accept and love me conditionally.
I know that God has people out there who will accept me as I am, and love me, flaws and all, whether I do everything they want or not. God has people out there like that for you, too! I encourage you to form those types of relationships, as well. I think those are the golden types of relationships to have. They build you up and are positive in one’s life (whereas the relationships built on “conditional love” can often be detrimental and hurtful). I know all this from experience.
I now know that to be able to sift through the unhealthy relationships in life so as to establish good relationships, I have to have a foundation of unconditional love from God. Knowing, without a doubt, how unconditionally and fiercely the Creator of the universe loves me, no matter what, seems to somehow help my other relationships in life come into better perspective. Accepting God’s abounding love for me helps me to trust His love more, which then helps me to love others more unconditionally. It also helps me to not feel the need to people-please. When I know that no matter who comes in or out of my life, I have a perfect love from the perfect God, I don’t need to fear losing others. Right there, I have no need to people-please, or have fear, in relationships anymore.
Plus, receiving God’s unconditional love gives me enough self-respect and confidence to not feel like I have to do everything I can to get other people’s love at my own expense. Instead, I know I have U Love from the Ultimate Source. I suddenly feel like I don’t have to be so concerned with what other people think of me, because I only need to care about what God thinks of me. And I know He thinks the world of me (and He feels the same for you too!).
I also don’t feel like I have to try so hard not to upset people for fear of losing them. If a relationship can be lost, then maybe it wasn’t worth having in the first place. And when you feel so truly, perfectly loved by God, you don’t feel like you have to go around searching for love and trying to make it happen. You can rest assured God will bring the right people into your life. In the meantime, you can have an awesome love relationship with Him. And if you do end up losing a relationship because you weren’t people-pleasing enough, then it doesn’t have to throw you into a tailspin; because you have your foundational relationship of U Love set securely in place to keep you steadfast and standing tall.
I’m feeling way more content in God’s love. I’m finding I can trust that He’ll bring the right relationships into my life that will be positive. These relationships are not fear-based or people-pleasing. And, guess what? Relationships that don’t have fear, are often the best and strongest ones!
Now, I’m not saying that there aren’t times where you want to please another person in a relationship. Of course you want to think of others and consider their feelings. When you care about someone, it is natural to want to make them happy! But this type of people-pleasing shouldn’t be fear-based. If it gets to the point where pleasing the other person is something you feel like you HAVE to do or else you’ll lose them, then that’s where people-pleasing can be damaging. I know, for me, I love to do special things for others and make them happy and smile! That’s just the way I am….but I’ve had to learn how to be “me” in a healthy way, and not in a fearful way.
So, to wrap this up, I’ve been working on getting my foundational U Love relationship with God super strong, so that I can have healthier relationships with others. With God, I can weather much easier this ride called life. I encourage you to do the same. And, just get drenched in God’s flowing, everlasting unconditional love for you! It’s amazing how different you’ll feel about things!
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