“I learned soon enough that God called us to be people-lovers, not people-pleasers. We can have the power to love people without becoming slave to their opinions or behaviors. Boundaries are your responsibility. At some point, us people-pleasers must set the tone for how we should be treated and the direction in which we are called.”-Brittney Moses
Hi. Let me introduce myself. I’m Heather and I’m a people-pleaser. I like when people like me. I don’t like it when people don’t like me. I feel like I should be able to make everyone happy at all times and feel responsible for how other people feel. I apologize for things that I haven’t even done simply because I can’t stand the thoughts of someone possibly even being mad or upset with me. One of my greatest fears is conflict and I will go to great lengths to avoid it. I can’t communicate with others about if they have been unkind to me or have hurt my feelings because they might get mad at me for saying something to them about it. I can’t say no to someone even though I really want to. In the past, I have landed myself in some very toxic friendships where my inability to say “NO” or to express my true thoughts and feelings left me in vulnerable positions where I was taken advantage of and treated very poorly. I felt that I was responsible for fixing all of their problems and that when things didn’t go the way that they wanted them to, that it was my fault. I learned that for the majority of my life, I have found my self worth in how people treat me and what they think about me. (It all sounds really crazy when I see it written down like this)
My 1 year old has a new favorite word. “NO”. It’s his favorite response to any and every question, and at times, I find myself almost envious of his ability to let the word roll so easily off of his tongue. It’s somewhat baffling how a tiny, two letter, one syllable word can hold such power within it’s connotation. The inability to effectively use the word “NO” has gotten me into a mess more times than I care to recollect. I have gotten in over my head, taken on more responsibility than I could effectually handle (while keeping my sanity), and has led me to do or say things that I really didn’t want to do.
I am under the belief that no person that we encounter in our lives is a mistake. God allows each person into our life for reason. Some of them bless our lives in some way and others though painful, help to teach us valuable lessons. Over the past couple of years I have learned some hard truths. Truths that I still struggle with, but God is helping me to accept them and to grow in His wisdom concerning the matter. I will NEVER be able to make EVERYONE happy. There are some people that no matter what I do, I will NEVER be able to make them like me. I have learned that it is okay to say no, even if people get mad at me. I have learned that if the only reason someone likes me is because I begrudgingly agree with them and say yes to their every request, they don’t truly care for me. I have learned if a person gets mad at me for saying no, they will eventually get mad at me for saying yes as well. I have learned that I can speak truth with love, compassion, and concern and people might hate me for it. I have learned that I can not be responsible for the way another person feels. I have learned that I can have complete love in my heart for everyone, but I don’t have to agree with them or their actions. I have learned that I can love others while not placing myself in toxic and vulnerable positions. I have learned that it is my responsilbility to guard my heart and to establish healthy boundaries within relationships. I have learned that I can not find my self worth in the way I make other people feel or the way that they feel about me. I have to find my self worth in who God says that I am. I have to find my identity in Christ Jesus and I do not have to be anything besides who God made me to be.
I only wish that I could have come to these conclusions years ago. The amount of heartache that it would have saved me is astronomical, but I know that God has allowed things to happen the way that they did and that He allowed me to encounter the people that I have for a purpose… His purpose. While I still struggle with my people-pleasing habits and setting healthy boundaries, God has given me a revelation into what His expectations are for me. He does not expect me to please all people, but He does expect me to love them; to honestly, genuinely, truly, whole heartedly love them. Even those that are unkind or hurtful, those that hate me, those that don’t agree with me, those that persecute me, those that talk about me… I’m called to love them… and that’s exactly what I will do.