Being a people pleaser has been a struggle of mine for a long time. It is only recently have I really seen a huge turnaround in that area. I used to care so much about what others thought of me and always tried to make sure I was liked. I found it extremely difficult to say no to people when they asked me for help and would go out my way to create the perfect persona of myself. Unfortunately I faced a situation in my own life where I faced a false accusation. It was this particular event that made me realise that I had to face the beast of so called “people pleasing” head on. I remember wanting to shout my innocence from the roof tops. I desperately wanted people to know and understand the real me. I felt so vulnerable and humiliated and the thought of others thinking bad of me consumed my thought life. It was so clear to me that I was a people pleaser and that I could not continue allowing it to rule my thought process.
On reflection I feel thankful to the people who mistreated me because if it was not for them I may not have dealt with the people pleaser in me for a long time. I was stripped back and left feeling like I had to start again. Choosing to learn from situations that seek to destroy us can be one of our biggest weapons. The first thing I did was choose to forgive those who had hurt me. This would not be on the condition of needing an apology first. This allowed me to start moving on. I would not allow bitterness to rob me from the fullness that life had to offer. I then decided not to defend myself because I knew it would feed into the very thing I was trying to get away from. In order to learn and reflect from this situation I decided to learn and be able to almost mimic the behaviour of people who had learnt not to people please. I choose friendships that where healthy and gleaned off them. It brought freedom and refreshment to me to be around people who were confident enough in themselves to not feel the need to please others all the time. The people we surround ourself with can have such an impact on who we end up being so i decided to choose my friends wisely. The biggest part of freedom came when I chose to control my thoughts about what others thought of me. This may Sound so simple but how many times have you come away from a conversation and analysed it? When I find myself doing this I choose to think on things that are good and not dwell on worry.
People pleasing can come in many guises, some being more subtle than others. It might be obvious stuff like not being able to say no when you are asked to do something. The other side of things might be cringing when you leave a conversation with someone in fear of what they may think. Regardless I believe it comes from a place of wanting to be loved. This is perfectly natural but seeking others approval can lead down a destructive path. Loving ourself is definitely the key to not falling into the trap of people pleasing. If we can grasp who we are then what people think of us will not affect us as much. If we surround ourselves with people who are stable and secure it will allow us to take on wise counsel. In turn this will enable us to shut the door on the need for approval from others.
I have come to the place now where I am able to accept that I am going to have people disgruntled with me at times. Its brought a release and freedom knowing that If someone thinks bad of me that I have the power not to let it affect me. Being a mum I realise how important it is to show my little girls the importance of having an inner confidence. They follow my every move and I believe they pick up on everything around them.
Social networking sites I believe feed this need to please others and gain their affections. We see the word selfie trending and my news feed is always full of people posing with a million filters with the hope that someone will give them the gratification they need. Ideal life is so often betrayed online when the reality is that behind the scenes a lot of people are struggling. If we all just stopped and were honest with each other then people pleasing would not be such an issue. Imagine if we actually answered honestly when someone said ‘ how are you?’ would our need to keep up such a charade continue?.
Please learn from my mistakes and allow yourself to reflect on situations in your own life. Being a people pleaser will rob you of so much goodness that life has to offer. Find out who you are and deal with insecurities that lurk in your life. Such insecurities only feed this need to please. Don’t dwell on what you think a person thinks about you because chances are they are not even thinking about you at all. Learn to say no if you don’t want to do something. This will bring a great deal of self respect and will free yourself from feeling the need to be everything to everybody. My biggest tool is being able to train and control my thoughts. Sometimes this has lead me to even singing a really awkward song instead of allowing myself to go down the wrong way of thinking. Its hard for me not to mention God because he is the one who shows me who I am and gives me the confidence to know that other peoples opinion of me is just fleeting. No matter what I do in life God loves me. Even mentioning my faith with friends that don’t share my beliefs seems easy for me because I realise that this is who I am and people actually find it refreshing when people are real.
If you have a good friend who will tell you if your acting in a silly way then go ahead and be yourself. If people don’t like it then they will have to just get over it. Be open and allow good friends to speak into your life. This will bring change for the better and will enable you to ignore others unhelpful opinions. Sometimes when we do things that stand out or draw attention to ourselves people rise up from nowhere and accuse or hate. I have personally learnt a great deal from such a tough situation and managed to get right back on track with my life. I am still on a continual journey of not allowing people pleasing to rise up but as time goes on I can feel my head lift and my confidence grow.