4 Questions to help solve it
We all fall into this trap at some point- we say ‘yes’ when we mean ‘no’, we compromise when we know we should have been more assertive, we worry about what other people would think and we are afraid of being rejected. People pleasing is one of the most common behaviours among us human beings but where does it get us? Nowhere!
This usually occurs when we are around someone that is perhaps more knowledgeable in certain areas; we are insecure around them and or want to be liked by the person.
How can we get better at being more authentic? Below are some questions to consider:
1. Who Are You?
This is certainly a question that needs to be answered by everyone especially Christians. From a biblical perspective, becoming a disciple of Jesus means that our identity changes. The Bible says that we have become a new creation “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Cor 5:17. This new identity means that we have officially become legitimate children of God. It is essential that we get our confidence from whom God says we are through his word: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1
This would include letting go of who we think we ought to be but embracing who we are in Christ according to the scriptures not even according to our deeds. We must come to realise that we will never be perfect, but in Christ, his grace is able to make up the difference as in the areas we fall short as long as we are staying close to him.
2. What Do You Stand For?
Answering this question helps you to clarify what you are willing to agree on and will also help you to be able to confidently disagree on issues with reasons when you are tempted to compromise. The problem we face sometimes is not thinking through and making clear decisions before certain situations arise; we therefore try to make decisions under pressure. It is a healthy exercise for singles, married couples and families alike to have clear vision or mission statements and affirmations that define how they want to live their lives.
Joshua is a good example of this and he is known for the quote: “But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15
A Personal/Family mission statement can help you to not fall into the people pleasing trap because you have a better idea of what you want to do with your life. People that fall into people pleasing don’t always realise that everyone has an agenda for their life.
In many religious settings where hierarchy exists, people can easily end up people pleasing simply because they were told to do something and they didn’t have the conviction themselves, this is why it is important to keep learning and diligently study things for yourself.
3. Where Do You Get Your Confidence From?
One of the main symptoms of people pleasing is to worry about what other people think about you more than is necessary. Standing for something takes courage and will need a solid inner confidence; but where does a disciple need to get their confidence from?
As mentioned earlier, one area where we get our confidence from is embracing what God has transformed us into through Jesus. This is an essential belief that must reign supreme in our lives. A second aspect would be a continuous confession of sin (wrong doing) to God. Once we become true believers and followers of Christ, this practice would clear our conscience, freeing us from any feelings of shame and fear of embarrassment.
A good passage to reflect on could be this passage from Job 11:13-19
“Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer, and give up your sins— even those you do in secret. Then you won’t be ashamed; you will be confident and fearless.
Your troubles will go away like water beneath a bridge, and your darkest night will be brighter than noon. You will rest safe and secure, filled with hope and emptied of worry. You will sleep without fear and be greatly respected.” Job 11:13-19 CEV
Another passage to reflect on is:
“How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” Hebrews 9:14
As disciples of Jesus, it is essential that we get our confidence not in our doing but in the finished work of Christ and as long as we have confessed everything to him and those close to us, we should embrace being confident in the Lord, which should lead us to live authentic lives.
4. What Do you Believe?
Overall regarding people pleasing, if we are able to boil it down to just one thing, we will find that the typical people pleaser is unsure about what they believe in a particular area in life and don’t want others to know that they are unsure.
Because of this, we should strive to have strong conviction about the things we know to be absolute truths and at the same time be open to changing our opinions on things that are not written in stone.
The reason why this is important is because the other extreme is to harden our heart and say well I don’t care what others think and bulldoze our way through life thinking “I am right” this also leads us to the same place as those who people please their way through life.
Belief is at the core of not being a people pleaser. If we are confident in our belief that God has called us to be his children and we have a strong belief in what we stand for but are still open to learning, we should not worry too much if people have opposing views to us. We will gain our confidence from our relationship with God,
As I said at the beginning, we all experience people pleasing at various stages in life. I go through this just as you do.
I hope these four questions can help us to identify when we are people pleasing and how we can regain ourselves back.
How has people pleasing affected you and what have you done to minimise it? Would love to hear from you, share your comments below.