As a people pleaser, you’re likely kind, compassionate, and caring.
You like to put people at ease.
You often go along to get along
You likely avoid conflict at all cost.
You assume the best of others, even when they’ve shown you their worst.
And you often say yes, even when you should say no.
People pleasers are just overall ‘nice’ people. And ‘nice’ certainly sounds like a ‘nice’ way to be. But ‘nice’ means that you’re pleasant and agreeable, even the expense of your own values and identity.
Still sound ‘nice?’
If you see yourself as a people-pleaser, I want to share with you 9 people-pleasing traits that are not as nice as you think and the 5 steps to stop people-pleasing and start God-pleasing.
I want you to imagine for a moment that you are a Jenga game. The goal of the Jenga game is to build a tower by removing pieces from the bottom and adding them to the top without the entire tower falling down.
Every time you put the needs of others above your own, you remove a piece of the tower.
Every time you:
- change yourself to keep others happy
- betray your values to fit in
- allow someone to trample your boundaries in order to be liked by them
- agree even when you disagree
- apologize for something you didn’t do wrong
- take the blame when it’s not yours
- or enable bad behavior in order to keep the peace,
It’s a bit like removing a small piece of yourself. You compromise the foundation of who you are.
Each individual compromise feels like no big deal. After all, it’s keeping the peace, right?
But here’s the problem: little by little you chip away at yourself and give little pieces of yourself away to someone else until there are so many gaps that you don’t even recognize who you are. Or worse, it all comes crumbling down.
So when it’s important that you show up in life as you, you don’t know how, because you don’t know who you are anymore. You’re not sure who you are outside of the approval and validation of others. You’re not even sure what matters most to you because you’ve spent so much of your life putting others first, seeking their validation and ignoring your own needs.
That’s why you’re struggling to live a life of purpose—because you’ve put your purpose in other people’s hands.
And these people that you’re trying to please so much, don’t even find this quality attractive. All they see is a broken, fragile person they can likely take advantage of.
So, my question for you is this: Is this the dependent place you want to live from?
Before things come tumbling down completely, there is a way forward.
How can you overcome people-pleasing?
If you are willing to follow the 5 steps I’ve outlined below, God will begin to rebuild these fragmented pieces of your personality, one by one, until you are healed and whole.
Step 1: Recognize
Recognize people pleasing for what it truly is—a self-serving, idolatrous, even manipulative way of life. I realize this is painful to hear, but pretending that you’re doing this for others simply isn’t being honest. People pleasers strive to please others because they are trying to please themselves. You must acknowledge that underlying ‘give to get’ motive.
Step 2: Repent
It’s hard to imagine having to repent of being ‘nice.’ But remember that ‘niceness’ is driven by an internal motivation for approval and validation, OUTSIDE of God. Every time you say yes to others and no to God, you confirm your allegiance to meeting your need, and not leaving it to God.
Step 3: Resolve
Now is the time to decide whom you’ll serve. Matthew 6:24 reminds us that we can’t serve two masters. You can’t be fully devoted to following Jesus and also fully devoted to the approval of others.
People-pleasing isn’t as Christ-like as you believe. Jesus lived to glorify the Father, and so should we.
Step 4: Rebuild
It’s crucial to rebuild your identity. If you don’t know who you are and what you value, how will know what to say yes and what to say no to?
Psalm 139:13 reminds us that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God was intentional in how He created you—be intentional about discovering it.
A great place to start is in understanding your God-given temperament. To learn more, grab your FREE What’s My Temperament Guide below.
Step 5: Reject
When you say yes to people all the time, you say no to God by default.
Learning how to set healthy boundaries will keep you from allowing the enemy to distract you with every seemingly urgent need designed to keep you from living for God.
Boundaries aren’t what mean people say when they can’t take it anymore. Boundaries are what healthy people do to never reach that point.
If you’re tired of saying yes, but feel powerless to say no, check out this episode here.
Want to know what type of people-pleasing you do? Be sure to take the FREE People-Pleaser Quiz here