People Pleasers

Have you ever been part of a conversation and not spoken your mind because you didn't want to offend someone? Or said yes when you wanted to say no? Or offered to undertake a task despite having a full schedule? You might be a *people pleaser* and that is not a very good thing 

We all want to be loved, appreciated, and admired, but this shouldn't come at the expense of our self-respect, integrity, and happiness. We compromise on all of them whenever we say or do things we don't want to say or do. Or vice-versa. 

God likes humility, not self-disparagement. Besides, not standing up for what we believe to be right can have bad consequences, ranging from the tacit approval of slander to giving into improper advances, going all the way down to implicit participation in world evils like genocide. 

So, what do we do? As with every bad habit, the first step is developing awareness and acknowledging people-pleasing behavior. The second step is deciding not to engage in such behavior anymore. This isn't possible without developing a solid sense of who we are. We need to know and understand our core values: what we believe in and stand for. For the Christian, this is primarily influenced by the teachings of Christ. However, we need to be convinced that what he teaches is true. We cannot change behavior patterns unless we are sure of what we believe. If we don't think there is anything wrong with gossip, for instance, we will not be inclined to tell people we don't do it, much less tell *them* not to do it! 

Then, it is simply a matter of practice, beginning with learning to say "No." This is harder than it looks because we want to appear accommodating to people's needs. However, we need to remember —and respect — our own needs. And, more importantly, our values. We don't have to give in to other people's demands (or even wishes) if we are not inclined to. Women, take special note. No is a harsh word, but we can find ways of saying it in a kinder ways.

Like everything else, we will fail, but let us not beat ourselves up when we do. We need to keep at it until we can stand up for what we believe. We will soon discover we don't need to be validated by others; we obtain our worth from what lies within us. And, then, we will well be on our road to victorious living. 

May the Spirit be with you.