“Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” Matt 6:33 [MSG]
Life Lessons on #people pleasing
I have a MAJOR disclaimer to make before I start this particular blog post. Just because I’m offering tips on #people pleasing doesn’t mean I’ve mastered the subject matter altogether. I’m not licensed to coach anyone through life neither do I profess to be an expert. But you don’t need great expertise about everything in life just to tell others you discovered a way that is better. As a continuation of my #29YearsOfReflections (I recently celebrated a birthday – see my first post in this series on #perception to get caught up), this post serves as an area where I can be honest and share what I know on a life matter that I’m fairly well acquainted with.
People pleasing has taken awhile for me to get under control, in addition to realizing when I’m doing it and how I give in to the pressure. The multiple ‘stuff’ that comes with this package deal has shaped a lot of my habits, ways of understanding and overall view of life. From making the honor roll to just feeling needed, being able to ‘keep others happy’ was my idol for a long time. It ran my life; I feared it and yet craved it. As easy as it is to get caught in the maze, you have to be determined and firm about getting out, because sadly once you’re labeled. . . (you can probably fill in the blank here).
There are still times where when I feel I have failed to meet someone’s expectations I will put greater reprimands on myself than anyone else could ever do, because people pleasing and rejection are closely connected. And yet NOW, compared to my former I can thankfully say that a better prayer life and relationship with God has caused for guilt and grief over the minor to stick less and less as I work more and more on where and how I fix my focus.
Although I’ve been committed to 5 points per ‘Life Lesson’ up to this point, today’s post has been summed up in 3. So here goes . . .
3 points that make me more mindful about #people pleasing
1. ‘NO’ is not a bad word. It’s ok to use it.
I realized after really sitting and evaluating my #people pleasing behavior that a typical and subconscious behavior pattern for me was surrender. I always seemed to forfeit my rights anytime someone would approach me with a request. Especially when deep down I knew that answering with ‘No’ was sensible and a fair call; my mind would still find some way to convince my psyche that if I don’t help / say yes / do what they want I’m a bad person. It’s not rocket science for me to do the math and travel back to my childhood. Back home in England, the way relatives reinforced doing well and meeting expectations was with rewards and treats. On the flip-side, failing (according to their defining of the term) would warrant for upset looks, negative words and not hearing the end of it for weeks! (In Caribbean homes this happens often lol). At face value, this method is not detrimental for parenting but for me, I quickly attached fear to expectation and in effort to not experience fear / feel shame, I would meet the demand of the request.
What I appreciate about the word ‘No’, is that it sets a tone for honesty and serves as a personal indicator that you really gave your answer some thought. A cool nugget I’ve learned to hold close and practice more often is that immediate answers are not always necessary. You can always tell the person you need a moment and will get back to them later if needed. After they pose the question the ball is in your court. Contrary to the belief of present-day culture waiting is not the most terrible thing in the world.
2. Be clear on motives, relationship & conviction.
I’m making more of a conscious effort these days to be intentional about clarity before I sign off in agreement. Closely connected with my first point about freely using the word ‘No’, you could bet against almost anything that before the request was done coming from their lips I was ready to accept the challenge. Without being clear I would soon after face inner conflict and an outward clash because these three areas mentioned were not clear from the start:
- MOTIVES – Be clear on the purpose of the request.
- How will this request affect your week / month / constant routine?
- Is involvement only beneficial on one side (in some instances that’s not a terrible thing but you should understand that fact from the start).
- How much effort am I going to have to put forward?
- Will this person keep their word if their request is two fold? (i.e. teamwork / projects).
- RELATIONSHIP – Be fair in all judgments.
- Are you prone to favoritism?
- Does connection trump everything?
- Is familiarity being utilized as a pawn against you?
- Are you holding pre-determined expectations based on your own familiarity?
- What would this person’s reaction be if you told them no?
- Would their response be justified?
- CONVICTION – Be settled in your actions and decisions.
- Is this something you should be doing?
- Are you committed to what you’re doing?
- Are you happy / content about what you’re doing?
3. Deal with your #people pleasing
As formerly stated, I don’t claim to be the master of non-people pleasing, but I am on my way to a different identity. It’s typical in these instances that others will spot your weakness before you do and some will take their chances in getting all they can out of your wound. However, once you know, make the decision and make your change. Then stick with it! As humans, we are unequivocally beings of habit and familiarity. To ‘be transformed’ [Romans 12:2] means not back-tracking, and remaining open yet constant. Open to more change, yet constant in your decision to change.
To break a bad habit you must habitually do the opposite thing that you’ve been doing. They say it takes 21 days to make something that’s a not a natural part of you official, but if you’re determined and have faith there’s no reason why change can’t be instant and you simply work to maintain your new standard.
Getting over #people pleasing in a BIG way means being set free from people PERIOD. This doesn’t mean that in your efforts to win at this you won’t still engage in feelings of fear or intimidation. But a made up mind is a great place to start, and that’s pretty much where I am and have started to build from.
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.”
Phil 3:12-14 [MSG]
Sneak Peek for next week 🙂
My reflections on #career