Jo’s Journal: You Can’t Make Everyone Happy

Credit: Edu Lauton on

You Can’t Make Everyone Happy

Stop being a people pleaser

by Joanne Troppello

I used to be a people pleaser.

Things changed 17 years ago when I was engaged and conflicts in our family brought to light my intense struggle with needing to please people—and avoid conflict.

“I finally know the difference between pleasing and loving, obeying and respecting. It has taken me so many years to be okay with being different, and with being alive, this intense.” — Eve Ensler, I am an Emotional Creature

I have felt the same way, that it took me years to realize I am who I am and don’t have to jump through hoops just to please people.

During my engagement year, my friend gave me the book Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by John Townsend and Henry Cloud. I had felt like my life was out of control. I need to always be in control, so that was difficult. I learned through reading this book that I can’t control life no matter how hard I tried.

I went through extreme changes and emotional growth. I learned what it meant to be an emotionally intelligent adult. Since that year, I’ve experienced more growth—but that engagement year was the catalyst for change.

From a caterpillar to a butterfly

“If you find yourself craving approval, you are low on self-love. Stop grasping for a few scraps wherever you can. Go home and make yourself a feast. Love yourself deeply today.” — Vironika Tugaleva

Dealing with conflicting wants from my family and my husband’s family for our wedding—and trying to resolve conflicts—showed me that my self-esteem was very low, and I felt like I had to please everyone.

It was exhausting.

It was emotionally draining.

I was worn out.

Reading the book on boundaries that my friend gave me opened my eyes to realize that it was okay to say no. I didn’t have to say yes to everything and comply with what other people wanted even when I didn’t want to do it.

Growing in relationships

“People pleasing does make it easier to ignore the red flags of abusive relationships at the very early stages especially with covert manipulators. We can also become conditioned to continually ‘please’ if we’re used to walking on eggshells around our abuser.” — Shahida Arabi

I learned how to say no and not feel guilty about it.

In the past, I had been sent on guilt trips by family members if I didn’t do something they wanted me to do.

I allowed them to have control over me. People can’t control you unless you allow them to. I allowed that in my life for far too long.

Maybe it was because I grew up in a dysfunctional family with a father who drank too much and brought needless tension and heated arguments into our home. Then my parents got divorced when I was fourteen.

Own who you are

“It's okay to consider the feelings and thoughts of people who matter to us. But we should also understand that we cannot please everyone at the same time. Do what's best for you! Do what gives you peace, a clear conscience, and makes you happy.” - Izey Victoria Odiase

That’s exactly what I needed to learn.

That I should consider how people felt and thought, but I don’t have to please people. I need to own who I am and do what’s right for me.

Consider the following ways to set boundaries in your relationships:

  • Own Your Feelings: Your feelings are real. Don’t stuff them down. When you feel something, acknowledge it and listen to what your emotions are telling you.

  • Lines Crossed: Identify what boundary lines family, friends, or other individuals have crossed and how that made you feel—and why it was wrong.

  • Action Plan: Figure out what your action plan is and how you are going to express your feelings in a positive way by responding rather than reacting.

  • Stay Firm: Make a firm resolve to follow through on your action plan and not be deterred no matter how the person responds or reacts to you.

  • Be Prepared: This will not be easy. People may push back and resent how you are taking a stand—especially if they have been putting guilt trips on you.

Believe me, it was a struggle for me to make this transformation to an emotionally intelligent woman who is confident in being able to say no when necessary regardless of any guilt trips people were trying to send me on.

You can make changes

You can’t please everyone, so stop trying to be a people pleaser. It’s possible. Don’t give up on striving to become more emotionally intelligent each day.

Previously published in Medium.

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 and join in cultivating positivity in your life and sharing it with others by subscribing to the Sunflower Quest Community.

#PeoplePleaser #PleasingGod #Faith #Christianity #ChristianLife #God

Young Living Banner.Lavender.jpg
Gillette on Demand.jpg
Boxed Wholesale Delivered
Ambit Energy
Finally Family Homes.LOGO.jpg
Rakuten Ebates.jpg

© Joanne Troppello and Mustard Seed Sentinel, 2019. Unauthorized usage or duplication of any content published on this website without specific written permission from the site owner is strictly prohibited. With appropriate and specific guidance, excerpts and links may be used provided full definitive credit is given to Joanne Troppello, the contributor, and Mustard Seed Sentinel. Publication start date March 2016. MSS is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.

DISCLAIMER: MSS reserves the right to remove comments on articles and in the forum that are not in line with our family-friendly brand and faith-based Christian magazine theme. Please make every effort to comment on articles and participate in the chat rooms in a friendly way that is devoid of profanity and hateful speech. MSS reserves the right to decline site membership (both the free membership and paid subscription membership) to any members who are violating our requests to keep this online community family-friendly. No spam links or comments will be allowed. Spam, profanity, and hateful speech will be deleted.

Freelance content submissions are always welcome and can be submitted through the submit button on the top of the Home Page underneath the header. All submissions are subject to review and possible rejection if the content does not meet quality standards. Edits may be suggested or required for some submissions. At this time, compensation is not given for submissions. However, as the Mustard Seed Sentinel readership grows, financial compensation will be provided for freelancers who submit appropriate and acceptable content for publication, such as the following: author interviews they've completed, guest blogs, or news articles. All freelancers will have their byline listed. NOTE: Mustard Seed Sentinel is a family-friendly publication and only appropriate faith-based content will be accepted.

This magazine is available for free online.

If you like our content and want to support

this publication, feel free to donate below.

Our paid subscription page is for paying members only. Engaging content, educational information, and interactive activities like webinars, as well as podcasts, are available for these paying members.

Publication of Mustard Seed Marketing Group, LLC