How do we stop people pleasing?

As I shared last week, I’m a recovering people-pleaser addict. Not proud of this fact. But in the interest of keeping it real, this has been an internal struggle for most of my life. 

God revealed this mindset trap in several ways over the years. I began to understand the root of my tendencies when a friend with the gift of prophecy shared this with me: “I see a gaping hole in your heart.”

At that exact moment, my Father brought images from my life to mind. I know this may sound crazy. But He wanted me to see where the wound began—by things said and done in my elementary and junior high years. I believe He showed me these things so I both see the root of this bad habit, and so I could see them through the filter of His love. 

Examples of people pleasing

I remembered driving a certain way because a boyfriend dared me to. 

Overanalyzing how I said things because I didn’t want to be rejected. 

Saying I loved certain things my boyfriend-now-husband loved because I wanted him to like me. 

And yes, Hubs called me on this. He gave me permission to like the things I liked. He said he wanted to get to know the real me, not the me I thought he wanted me to be. 

Revolutionary. And scary for this craving-acceptance young woman. 

God showed me these memories, not to condemn, but so that I could find freedom. I rushed home from that lunch date and spent the next few hours journaling. 

God never wants us to be like someone else. He only made one Jeanne Takenaka. Only one of each of us. Not so we could copy others to try and gain approval, but so we could fulfill a calling He created just for us. And our callings can only be fulfilled by . . . guess who? 

Us. As God created us. 

A perspective about people pleasing

God instilled in each of us specific giftings, talents, personalities, and strengths because He knew we needed them to fulfill what He created us to do. 

When we try to emulate someone else, we diminish the beauty of the person He created us to be. (Click to tweet) We tarnish the unique shine He placed within us. This perspective shift can be the beginning of helping us stop people pleasing.

How do we stop people pleasing?

As I mentioned last week, we first need to figure out our motivations for pleasing people. Only as we determine these can we begin to make changes. 

Biblical thoughts

Know what God says about us.

He says We are fearfully and wonderfully made. God saw us while we still drew nutrients in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139). We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works (Click to tweet), which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Eph 2:10)

Understand that God loves us, and this is enough

Our Father loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3). He didn’t create Jeremiah to be a “yes” man to the king. God gave this prophet a hard, holy calling to speak truth to a king and nation who wanted to believe lies. Jeremiah didn’t yield to the king’s ways. Instead, He was faithful to the calling God gave him. Though Jeremiah didn’t see the fruit of his ministry in his lifetime, we still remember and study and talk about Jeremiah today.

Cling to the truth that we hold value in his eyes.

Especially in a culture that doesn’t value human life or those who hold a different viewpoint on certain topics, we must remember who we are in God’s eyes. We are valued, cherished. We are significant to Him simply because He created us. It’s as we learn to live into the intrinsic value God places on us we can begin to stop people pleasing.

Change our thinking about where we seek affirmation.

God tells us if we choose to live in the world’s ways, we have no part in Him. But, He invites us to live in His ways. And He has made many promises we can hold onto if we trust Him. 

Altering our thinking about where we seek affirmation takes time and deliberate effort. When we catch ourselves thinking about how we can make someone else happy in an unhealthy way, we must halt that line of thinking. 

Other things to consider to stop people-pleasing tendencies:

Practical changes to implement

Once we believe in our intrinsic value, these changes will be easier. Very Well Mind recommends these steps

Establish boundaries on our time and our yeses. In God’s eyes, we are worth taking care of ourselves. It’s okay to pause briefly before agreeing to do something. Evaluate the request. A solid answer is, “Let me get back with you.”

Start small. Making a lot of behavioral changes all at once can be overwhelming. Instead, begin by asserting ourselves and saying no in small ways. 

Set goals and priorities. When we know the plans we have—that God has given us—we can determine our priorities. And if someone asks or demands something that doesn’t fit within those priorities, it becomes easier to say no.

Assess the request. Before we blurt out a “yes,” it’s okay to ask for time to think about it and determine what the request requires. If it bumps against the priorities God’s shown us, that makes the answer more evident.

Don’t make excuses when we say no

It’s okay to help when we want to help.

An image of a mama deer with her two fawns. This is symbolic of how we better understand God's love for us as we stop people pleasing.
10 Effective Ways to Stop People Pleasing 3

Conclusion

My people pleasing took different forms, depending on the situation. As I believed the truth that I am significant to God—that He loves me just because I’m His—the need to please people for acceptance lost its grip on my heart. 

I had many other lessons to learn but learning how to stop people pleasing changed my life. And it will do this for each of us as we understand our identity in Jesus.

Q4U: If you’ve struggled with this, what has helped you stop people pleasing? What Bible verse helps you understand your identity in Christ?

*****Quick Reminder: Next week, we’re meeting up at Donna’s place! See you there!*****

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Each week we gather here as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs you. This is a place where poetry, snapshots, prayers, and stories find a safe spot to nod in agreement that what we have to say matters. I am glad you are here and would love to have you join the #TellHisStory community. Add your own encouraging post through the link below. Spread some love by visiting your neighbor and leaving your own encouragement. Click here to read more about the #TellHisStory community and find a button to add to your site.

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