I hate to admit that I have always been a people-pleaser. I have tried for years to say “No” without the guilt and have got myself into trouble more than I count because of it. The problem with people-pleasers is that they put others around them on a throne and if you’re a christian like I am, thats a serious sin.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized how destructive it had become. You see, I struggle with Anxiety, real bad like. I’ve dealt with a lot in my life (like most people have) and I guess you get to a certain point where your body can’t take anymore.
Being a people pleaser can be dangerous. I know from experience, but even a study from the University of Massachusetts Medical School agrees with me(fancy huh?).
Here is 5 ways you might be a be a people pleaser..
1. You might be a people pleaser if this your life:
“Meeting at 10am? Sure! I totally can make that, I’ll be there bright and early with donuts.”
“Of course I’ll be to the playdate at 1, I wouldn’t miss it for the world!”
“Yes honey, I know baseball practice is at 6. We will be there on time (meaning 10 minutes late), and I’ll be sure to grab those snacks for the team too!”
And then reality hits you: I have 5 kids and I have to feed them breakfast, lunch and dinner still. Four of them still nap during the day, and oh yeah, we also homeschool, so fit that in there to.
2. You might be a people pleaser if:
-You’re always late.
-You have 16 parties going on at one time.
-You’re afraid to tell someone “No” because your excuse (of just not being able to handle it all), doesnt sound good enough.
This one hit home hard for me. It ended a close relationship in my husbands family because I was trying to make everyone happy. I took on way too much, thought I could handle all of it and then ended up looking like a lazy, ungrateful liar. When I said no, I mentally kept replaying every moment in my head and felt guilt for months afterwards. All because, Oh hey, I’m not superwoman and I literally can not do EVERYTHING.
3. You might be a people pleaser if you’re afraid people will think you’re lazy:
One of my fears as a people pleaser is other people thinking I am lazy. This is especially true for stay at home moms. Our society literally says “What do they do all day?”, and sometimes at the end of the day we look around our messy house, at our dirty selves and ask ourselves the same question. But, what we do IS important, and it IS valid and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Last month, I had a video on my Facebook go viral. It was a 30 second time lapse of a 20 minute period. I was up and down changing diapers and playing with all the kids in a very short clip during our movie night. A friend of mine sent me a screen shot of a woman who wrote on a friend of hers page who shared it and said ” Wow, she sure sits down a lot”. First of all, I had to chuckle. Because.. well I 5 kids and I wish I sat down. But the people- pleaser in me thought, maybe I do sit down too much. What more can I do? This feeling is wrong and dangerous. Through all the chaos of our modern lives, learn to be still. If you can learn to be still and sit and enjoy the life God has given you, you have a gift. Embrace it.
4. You might be a people-pleaser if you feel taken advantage of..
Do you feel like in your relationships you do all the work? You will find that people around you, who know you are a people-pleaser will intentionally push your buttons for their own selfish reasons. You will try to set boundaries with people and they will keep pushing until they get the end result they want. These people are toxic and no matter how close you are with them, they are not healthy to be around until they can respect those boundaries that are set. Be strong and don’t let people shape and mold you for them. Does this sound like high school? Because, this was my life. I remember going to my boyfriends house and driving to parties and full on thinking “I shouldn’t be doing this”, but telling them No and turning around and going home would be against my people-pleasing ways. I ended up pregnant at 17… so that whole people-pleasing thing, didn’t work out so well for me.
5. You might be a people-pleaser if you are the emotional caretaker for those around you..
In the beginning of my people-pleasing ways (I’d like to think of myself as a recovering people-pleaser now), I gave my all to everyone. Emotionally, I was their best friend a week in. Their issues suddenly became mine too and my goal was to fix them, obviously so they’d like me more. I was going to save them from their pain and struggles. Again, this is unhealthy behavior, and if you’re a people-pleaser and you have anxiety, you can see the correlation on how we can not fix and control everything. Sometimes, just being a listening ear and friend to someone who is struggling is enough. Don’t stress yourself out trying to fix everyones problem. Unless of course you were placed their by God to help them. But there is a fine line if this has been your past character.
Being a people-pleaser isn’t necessarily bad. I think a healthy mix of trying to love people, help them and take care of them is good. But when it starts to creep into your family life, takes you away from your kids and spouse or starts to affect your stress levels, stop. Say no and be okay with it.
Are you a people-pleaser? Recovering or barely trying to survive?
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