In the movie, Yes Man, Jim Carey takes on the challenge to say “yes” to everything no matter what. Needless to say the challenge gets him into all sorts of trouble. He finds himself in over his head.
It’s easy to sit here and say Jim Carey’s character in that movie was craaaazy, but don’t some of us do the same thing? Do you feel like you constantly need to say YES to everything? If you’re like me and say yes to everything then you’re probably a people pleaser. So tune in because in the next several posts we’re going to talk all about people pleasing; how to identify it, what it is rooted in, how to deal with it, and ultimately how to change it. You might be struggling with people pleasing and just don’t know what to do. Well, like I always heard growing up, the first step to any problem is admitting that there is one. There’s no shame, there’s no guilt, only bold and humble honesty with yourself. That’s a step in the right direction.
In his book “Even if You were Perfect Someone Would Crucify You” Pastor Rob Shepherd compares people pleasing to identity theft. Here are some of the symptoms or signs of identity theft that he lists as well as some of my own:
- Your personality changes, depending on who you hang out with (Shepherd, 8).
- You make decisions solely on the opinion of others i. e. can’t leave the house without makeup because others will see the real you (8).
- Cannot confess your sins to others because you’re afraid of being judged (8).
- You’re afraid of confrontation because of how others might react to what you need to say.
- You cannot stand it when people are upset with you, it consumes your thoughts.
- You do and say things you shouldn’t because of your friends or the people around you.
- You’re more concerned with what others are doing and writing on social media sites than your own life.
- Your biggest concern is being liked or being accepted.
Like Jim Carey’s character I struggle with saying YES to everything and stretching myself too thin. Sometimes I convince myself others will be mad or hold it against me if I don’t say yes. Other times I just feel guilty saying no to people! Maybe you’ve made a mistake or several and you felt like you had to run away because of the way people responded. For me, the fear of what people thought, the pain of what people were saying, and my focus on others opinions almost drove me to leave the church I love! I would hide my feelings by saying I didn’t care when in reality those people and their opinions were consuming me and my thoughts! I couldn’t stand having people upset with me. I spent countless hours browsing over people’s status updates, tweets, and photos. Why? Because somehow I was convinced that viewing their lives was more important than living my own.
My life was consumed with pleasing people. I feared the displeasure of man more than the displeasure of God. You might not think that people pleasing is even that serious but the reality is that it’s real, it’s dangerous, and it’s a silent struggle most are either too full of pride to own up to, or oblivious to the fact that it’s even a problem in their lives.
In fact the bible makes some pretty clear statements when it comes to people pleasing:
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men (Colossians 3:23)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? (John 5:44)
So the question is are you a people pleaser? Do you feel the need to conform, change, or alter things simply for acceptance, or the approval of others? Answer that question honestly. We all should! Imagine how awesome it would be if we all acknowledged our struggle with people pleasing, and decided to work together to stop it.