Monday, April 13, 2009

People Pleaser

"I was afraid of the people and did what they demanded." 1 Samuel 15:24

Pleasing people or people pleaser. One is based in love the other is a strategy for love. One is desired, the other devised. One is a beautiful act of kindness, the other a kind of act. Pretending to be and do in an effort to earn the acceptance of another. Feeling undeserved of relationship, plans of perfectionism, manipulation, doing what is right, always being good, never giving offense, not expressing anger, and working hard are put into place in hopes of winning the favour of others. Friendship becomes a competitive sport. Life becomes a continual struggle.

The root of a people pleaser is the fear of loosing love. In an effort to gain approval, being a people pleaser has now become a personality pattern.

Although "peace at any price" might sound good in theory, the cost is a great sacrifice. In order to gain approval we forfeit identity, being open, direct, personal and expressive. Being real is sacrificed for being loved.

I read this quote which expresses it so well: "I need to point out that people pleasers train themselves to get out of touch with their feelings so they can please others. In the process there is a profound loss of identity. I failed to develop my own tastes, speak with my own voice or risk being creative. While I was a people pleaser, I gradually ruined my ability to think clearly for myself; my judgment became impaired; I became a slow and plodding decision-maker. In part this is because, as a people pleaser, I was committed to conflict avoidance. In order to avoid conflict my subconscious mind automatically screened and suppressed all information that might be controversial or lead to conflict."

A soul is lost to satisfy others. "In the shadowy unconscious of the people pleaser is deep doubt about self worth and lovability. Deep in the heart of the people pleaser are fearful thoughts such as: I have done something wrong, I am bad, no one can love me."

My mind races to the movie, "Runaway Bride". Have you seen it? There's a scene depicted during the engagement luau where "Maggie Carpenter", played by Julia Roberts, comes face to face with the truth when confronted by "Ike", played by Richard Gere. In profound simplicity, he accuses her of not even knowing what kind of eggs she enjoys. A silly line, bypassed by many viewing the film I'm sure, yet for me it was a moment of truth. Trying to be all things to all people, I had adapted this life-style. Who was I and what did I enjoy? It was a moment of crisis yet awakening.

A search to find Joy began and continues to this day. No longer does the 'fear of the people' hold me captive. It may still steal seconds, but it does not demand my destiny.

Finally I'm learning to accept the Lord's unconditional love and the opinion of others, although still valuable, no longer validates my life.

""I have loved you with an everlasting love". Jer. 31:3

post signature


elaine @ peace for the journey said...

WOW...can I just say AWESOME?!

One of your best Joy, a real deep "pondering" for me. Printing this one out to chew on it a little more.

You're so good, and those ain't no "people pleasing" words. It's the truth.


Heather said...

Oh this is so good Joy!

Something I struggle with so much myself! I love that quote you put in there. My friend Cindy and I were talking about it just last week... being a people pleaser.. a peace keeper rather than a peace maker.

Hard for me... still tends to take over my life. but one that I will be working on!

Love you,

Carol said...

Dear Joy,
As a lifetime member of the People Pleasers Association of Canada (PPAC), I secretly appreciated your post today. Although if my liking the post is upsetting to people, I will change my mind!
PPCA Lifetime Member!

Judy Dearing said...

Yeah Joy for no longer being a captive in the people pleaser web!
Great post.