Faith & Life: Don’t be a People Pleaser
Focus on Pleasing God in Your Life
by Joanne Troppello
“I had years of therapy to recover from this. A lot of it had to do with being a people pleaser, being the ultimate good girl. I wanted everyone to like me. I didn’t really have a voice. I was afraid of growing up.” – Tracey Gold
I can relate to being a people pleaser. For a long time, my actions were dictated by what other people in my life wanted from me or expected of me. It wasn’t until shortly after I got married—and my friend gave me a book on setting boundaries—that I learned how people pleasing is not good.
Sure, we want to please the people in our lives like family and friends. However, it can be taken too far when you have issues saying no to things people ask you to do or you are guilted into doing things that others want you do to—simply to keep everyone happy.
The ironic part is that when I was doing that, everyone around me was happy, but I was not happy. I was miserable and overanalyzing everything. I was making myself unhappy by continually trying to please others.
“The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.” – Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV)
When I tried to make everyone happy, I was focusing on them and not trusting in the Lord to work things out and keep the peace. Sure, God wanted me to keep the peace, but not at the expense of living in stress and guilt whenever I said no to what someone wanted.
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.” – Ephesians 5:15-21 (NKJV)
This passage from Ephesians urges us to walk in wisdom, continually redeeming the time. We shouldn’t waste time on fruitless pursuits or being weighed down by guilt trying to please everyone. We need to focus on God and His will for our lives. Our focus should be encouraging others and praising God through everyday as we submit to one another in the fear of God.
That submission to one another has nothing to do with being a people pleaser. It has nothing to do with being guilted into doing something that someone else wants you to do. It has everything to do with loving others unconditionally through the grace of God and His unconditional agape love, trusting God to work in our complicated relationships, and setting necessary boundaries in our lives. That will bring you true peace and reduce your stress level.
Have you had issues with being a people pleaser in the past? How did you work through that?
About the Author
Joanne Troppello is an author, writer, and poet. She is the publisher of the online Christian lifestyle magazine, Mustard Seed Sentinel.
Connect with Joanne on Twitter. You can find Joanne on these social media channels—Twitter, Facebook, Parler, Spreely, and Clouthub—with the same username, @JoanneTroppello—and @joannetroppello.mseedsentinel on Instagram. Visit the Mustard Seed Sentinel YouTube Channel.