Have you ever worried about a decision you made? Or wasted precious time feeling guilty because you might have upset someone? (Simply by being YOU.) Playing that conversation over and over in your head: “What if I said something wrong?” It’s like there’s a constant, people-pleasing radar in your head, trying to figure out what everyone else thinks about you. I know I’m not alone:
A lot of us struggle with wanting to make everyone happy.
Friend, I know this from experience: People-pleasing is a HEAVY weight to carry. I also know that you aren’t supposed to be carrying all that extra weight on your heart.
You were created to chase after a whole, abundant life. To live wildly free, confident in the knowledge that the God who created you has given you all the approval you’ll ever need. And if He’s happy with you… why worry about what everyone else might think?
Here’s the truth: You can UNLEARN the bad habit of people pleasing. It’s not easy… but you can start taking baby steps today. You can begin to rest in who God made you to be, instead of what everyone else might think about you.
People-pleasing will only keep you stressed, worried, and anxious.
The problem with people-pleasing is that we often end up stressing out over something silly instead of the actual problem. I don’t worry about actually saying the word “no” to someone… I worry about hurting or upsetting them.Because in the back of my mind, I just want to make EVERYONE happy.
So, how can we stop people-pleasing?
To be perfectly honest, I’m still trying to figure this out. I struggle every day with people-pleasing. To make life perfect for my family. When I feel like I’ve failed, I want to curl up and become a professional couch potato. I’ve spent hours (days!) contemplating what I might have said wrong, or what I could’ve possibly done to get a different outcome.
I have found that there are a few things that help me stay focused on the truth as I try to combat my tendency to try to make everyone happy.
➢ Keep Your Eyes on the Prize:
No matter what someone else may (or may not!) expect from you, their ideals for life are different from yours, Do you know what your dream life would look like? If other people have their goals lined up for their life, it’s up to them (NOT YOU!) to make it happen. Keep your eyes on your own idea of living well, because that’s what YOUR goal is.
➢ Remember the Season You’re in:
Life has ebbs and flows. Sometimes it’s busy, sometimes it’s restful. Other times, it’s downright stressful. Don’t let someone else’s season of life to make you feel guilty or less-than because you’re in a different place right now. If you’re taking time to rest, and they’re asking you to add more commitments, it’s okay to say No.
➢ Realize That Everyone is Different:
You’re surrounded by people who make decisions based on different values, different purposes, and even different personalities! I base my decisions on feelings, while Alex bases his on logic. Someone may do something in their life based on their own logic… but you need to remember that you base your choices from a totally different perspective.
➢ Don’t OWN everyone else’s expectations:
Just because someone expects something from you doesn’t mean that you have to do it. Their ideas and goals are different from yours! If their expectations don’t match your schedule, to-do list, or goals… it’s not your job to fit it in. Your job isn’t to make everyone happy; it’s to chase down the dreams that God has tucked deep inside your heart.
It IS possible to stop making decisions for the wrong reasons.
I want you feel some hope that it IS possible to find a balance between loving on your people and knowing when to say “No”. It’s also possible to make a choice and not second-guess that decision! I began by reminding myself of a simple truth each time I felt the need to make a people-pleasing decision. I added a few simple boundaries that made my choices even easier… and when I’m REEeeeaaaalllly feeling stuck in the rut of people-pleasing again, taking some time to read some truth and write down my thoughts makes a BIG difference.