“If you are busy pleasing everyone, you are not being true to yourself.”
— Jocelyn Murray
Everyone deserves to be loved, safe, appreciated, and accepted. Having a sense of belonging has long been determined to be a basic human need. It is natural and normal for our existence. In an effort to have these needs satisfied, many people resort to pleasing other people. People pleasing may seem to work on the surface but really behind the scenes it is a waste of time. It manipulates on one side and strips away self esteem on the other side.
When we aim to please people, we find that we may experience less conflict. However, it isn’t the avoidance of conflict with people that we’re after, but more the avoidance of conflict within ourselves. In our quest to please others, the conflict within often grows to unbearable levels. Instead of making us feel secure and free, saying no produces feelings of shame and guilt. At the same time, being a yes person creates feelings of frustration and bitterness.
The longing for acceptance can begin at a very young age. Perhaps your relatives wanted you to be perfect, live up to the family name, and not ruin their reputation. Maybe your coach wanted you to push yourself not for personal success, but to be better than someone else in the same sport. Or maybe it was your parents who stressed “all As” and looking a certain way so they could keep up an image in front of their friends. Whatever it was, it probably became a way of thinking for you.
Emerging from a people pleasing mindset can be difficult. Instead of working to be perfect or to make someone else happy, you drop the veil of perfection and try doing things that are best for you. One of the best ways to stop the vicious of always catering to others is to establish a sense of identity separate and apart from anyone or anything else, set some standards and determine what your values are. Standards help you to form a foundation that does not change when you encounter different people or situations.
When you know who you are, you will begin to care less about the opinions of others. You will also decrease the time and energy you spend on catering to the needs of those people who want you to seek their approval so they can feel secure and good about themselves. People pleasing works both ways and it can be damaging to people on both sides of the fence. Determine what is important to you and establish a group of people who you can trust, who value you as a person and who want you to be who you were created to be.
People are so different and have different goals in life that you will never be able to meet all their needs. It doesn’t matter how hard you try or how powerful you think you are to cater to what other people want. The goal of life is not to please others, but to serve others. Pleasing requires perfection. Serving requires willing sacrifice at times, but above all humility and genuine love. Stop letting people determine what you do. We are all works in progress. It is the values we hold and standards we set that will determine what we do, where we go, and how we get there in life.
“In trying to please all, he had pleased none.”