Hi, my name is Shane, and I’m a recovering “People Pleaser”!
A people pleaser, by definition, is a person who commits themselves to boosting the well-being of other people, even when doing comes at an emotional, physical or economic expense.
Certainly, responding to others and helping them in their time of need is a normal social function. People pleasers, however, invest themselves deeply in gaining approval from others to such a degree that their own needs and wants are set aside.
This has been my battle for as long as I can remember. I’m not certain of its origins, but I have molded myself, my interests, likes and dislikes around others for far too long. It has manifested in multiple fashions throughout my forty years.
For years Carmen and I would search estate sales for items to furnish our first home. One of our finds was an antique sofa that was in need of recovering. Carmen was clearly the one to decide the fabric selection, but for whatever reason we went shopping with a friend of mine. He had selected a fabric and Carmen had picked another. In my attempts to please, I sided with my friend, and we ended up with a sofa that was a constant reminder of the fact that I sold out.
Being (seemingly) incapable or unwilling to tell people “No” has put me in countless situations where I’ve taken on more than I was capable of performing. Whether it was lack of time or ability, I found myself strapped to situations that weighed heavily on me. I placed greater value on the satisfaction of the desires of strangers, coworkers and friends over the well-being of my love ones.
Oh, too many times I’ve fallen into the type cast of being the class clown. I found myself joking and caring on in an attempt to fit in and please a group of people. It wasn’t fun.
Throughout my career, I would find myself pulled in multiple directions, having told too many people that I would be able to assist them in their surgeries. The result would be disappointing all of them in some way. In my mind, I was doing what was necessary to build a successful territory, when in fact I was enabling my account to own me and rip me to shreds.
I can’t imagine the man I would be today if my focus to please people would have been refocused on pleasing God. God doesn’t need me to work for Him, and I know I don’t work to earn His love or my place as His heir.
Then what is my motivation? It’s very simple: it is my love for Him. This should be an involuntary action as natural as the beating of my heart. What better way to show my Creator, my Sustainer and my Savior how grateful I am than by finding overwhelming joy in His service?
Some of the verses that have encouraged me in this include Galatians 1:10, Colossians 3:22, 1 Thessalonians 2:4 and Colossians 3:23.