How to stop people pleasing in 3 easy steps
What if you woke up every morning and asked yourself, “What am I appointed to today?”
Would you be brave enough to have that tough conversation? Would you feel empowered to be true to yourself? Would you love deeper or more fiercely?
Let’s rewind. Why ask yourself that question in the first place? Because being appointed is the opposite of disappointed. What if you approached everyday as someone appointed instead of a fear of disappointing others?
Appointed vs Dis-appointed
How many times do we make a decision based on what others will think? We don’t want the other person (our spouse, a loved one, a coworker, or someone we admire) to think poorly of us, to judge us, to be let down by our choices. So we alter our decision based on them.
I can’t change jobs. I can’t say no to that invitation. I can’t go on that vacation. I can’t fill-in-the-blank. Why? Because of fear that someone else will be disappointed in me.
At the core, people pleasing seems to be about pleasing others. However, when we boil it down, this mindset actually centers around failure or the desire to not disappoint others (rather than to please them.)
Like a dirt road in the country, it’s easy to get caught in the rut of not disappointing others or get stuck in a pattern of people pleasing. That bumpy road winds through fields of failure and crops of disappointment.
Living as appointed ones
Shifting our focus from disappointment to appointment rearranges the desires within us. It’s like you’ve only known dirt roads with gaping tire tracks, then you suddenly turn onto a freshly paved road that’s as smooth as heaven. You used to steer along dusty Disappointment Drive, but now you’re glidinging along the new, bright Capacity Street.
While meandering along country lanes is relaxing, the vibrant life of the city is beckoning for you to come into freedom.
You were not created to live in fear of disappointing others. You were created to do more than please others. In fact, you were specifically created to glorify God. He created you with talents that contribute to others. But the trap of people pleasing makes you believe the lie that you don’t have talents, that you have nothing to offer, that everyone else knows best.
Are you ready to live as an appointed one? Are you ready to go forth confidently, living out your God-given talents? The first step toward that sort of freedom is to stop people pleasing. (That sounds like a big task, right? It’s easy to get started with these 3 steps!)
How to stop people pleasing
Imagine that familiar dirt road after a summer thunderstorm. Can you picture the deep ruts and pools of murky water? It’s hard to get out of the grooves or to forge a new path. While some tracks lead you to stable ground, others just keep you stuck and sometimes even immobilize you.
If you’re trapped in the rut of people pleasing, here is how you can stop that pattern and turn onto smoother roads.
- Call out the lies. All unbelief is rooted in a lie. What lies are you believing as a people pleaser? These are the deep ruts in your old dirt road.
- Do you think that you don’t have any talents to offer?
- Do you believe that you are unloveable if you fail others?
- Do you assume that disappointment equals failure?
- Do you believe that your worth and value are dependent on the opinions of other people?
Dig deep on this step and really challenge your natural assumptions. Ask yourself how and why you make decisions, and why you fear the consequences. Those observations will help you isolate the lies
- Speak the truth. The only antidote for lies is truth. Wield the truth like a weapon, as if you’re in the midst of a battle. This is like bumping out of those worn grooves and onto a smooth new road.
- I am blessed with artistic talents. I am friendly to everyone. I know a lot about psychology. I am free, forgiven, redeemed, worthy, etc.
- I am loved because I am a child of God, not because I took the right actions or said the right words.
- I did not please my boss with that decision, but it was the best option for me and my family. Disappointing my boss does not mean that I am a failure at my job. I am still excellent in my career.
- I am worthy and valuable because of the work of Jesus Christ, not because my neighbor thinks I’m helpful for because my spouse says I am good or because my kids need me.
It’s even helpful to think about the consequences of your actions. If you do/don’t do XYZ, what are you afraid will happen, and what will actually happen? Play out the scenarios in your mind, or act them out with a trusted friend. For example, if you are supposed to have an important conversation with your boss tomorrow, act out the possible scenarios with your spouse.
- Live the truth in everyday life. Identifying the lies is not a one-time habit, just like one strike of your sword doesn’t end the entire battle. You must call out the lies and remind yourself of the truth everyday. This is when you continually marvel at the smooth pavement and begin to realize that those old country roads were actually quite difficult to maneuver.
- Write down your people pleasing tendencies or fear of disappointing others in a journal.
- Memorize scripture that speaks the truth about who you are.
- Courageously walk as an appointed one, not in fear of disappointing others.
Ready for a new path?
Being appointed will fill you with a renewed zest for your life. You can approach others without fear of disappointment. You can tackle that task without fear of failure. You can be in relationship with others and not have to be defensive at their feedback. You can have healthy boundaries which allow you to say no to opportunities that aren’t right for you, and to wholeheartedly agree to others that bring your joy and freedom.
Does your charming road crisscrossed with tire tracks point out your ingrained mindset of people pleasing? We’re just around the bend, inviting you to smoothly-paved freedom, to a place of appointment instead of disappointment.
Ready for level roads and freedom? Give us a call. (Don’t worry, we won’t be disappointed if you don’t call. But we are here to help whenever you are ready.)
Clinical Director and Co-Owner at Redeemed Life Counseling