September 1, 2014
This post is part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour which I am glad to be a part of along with many other inspiring bloggers. To learn more and join us, click here.
“You know you’re caught in the rip current of people pleasing when you dread saying yes, but feel powerless to say no.” -The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst
Hi, my name is Theresa and I am a people pleaser. The hardest thing for me to do is say “no” to a friend, to a family member, to a leader, to anyone. I will beat around the bush as long as I can to avoid saying no. I’m not sure where this bad habit came from, but I have learned that it doesn’t make me a nicer person compared to the person who can say no, it makes me a stressed out crazy woman!
People pleasing, I believe, comes from a place of wanting to be liked and accepted. Desiring to please people at any cost can leave us empty very quickly. There have been many times when I knew I should’ve said no but felt like I couldn’t. The anxiety that settles in my heart knowing I might have disappointed a friend is something I struggle with to this day.
I would be lying if I said that I’ve completely overcome my need to please, but I am working on getting better at it. Living a life surrendered to God was difficult for me growing up, because I felt I had to be accepted by people and many of the people I decided to hang with were doing the opposite of what a God-fearing person should be doing. That led me to make decisions that ultimately drew me away from God. Experience has taught me that being accepted, people pleasing at any cost, wasn’t worth jeopardizing my relationship with God. He was the only One I had to please, and I was already accepted and loved by Him, no matter what I did or didn’t do.
Believing that you’ll be more loved, more favored, more welcomed because you say yes to someone’s request or someone’s party, is an unhealthy and erroneous way to live. If your friend or relative will love you less because you declined a request or invitation, then they’re not a good friend anyway. Over the past couple of years, I have learned that saying yes to the right things will set me up to have a more fulfilling relationship with God and with people. If I say yes to every project, every meeting, every outing, every opportunity, I won’t have time to hear God and do what He is calling me to do.
Oh and not to mention, I’ll drive my husband crazy with my long list of to do’s because I wasn’t able to say no. (Side note: it’s funny how we want to blame our husbands for not being able to keep up with us, yet we’re the ones exhausting ourselves and going crazy with our extensive list of tasks. They weren’t asking for this; we did this to ourselves, ladies.) At the end of the day we must learn to distinguish what our motives and intentions are when we say yes. Is it to impress others or to impress God? Is it to get accolade or to serve God and others? Also, are we prioritizing the things God has called us to make first? Like our spouses, our family, and our alone time with God. We should ask ourselves, “Is this ‘The Best Yes’ I can give my friend, is this answer a genuine ‘yes’, or am I overcommitting and giving them a yes disguised as a no?”
By declaring God’s truth that says, “I am accepted, I am loved, I am enough”, I am overcoming the need to please people. Discovering what God says in His word about me and what He has called me to do as His follower, helps me keep my motives and true intentions in check. Also, by implementing practical steps like giving myself time to think of my response (yes or no), having a max amount of projects I allow myself to take on, or asking my husband for his opinion before making a decision, I am overcoming my need to please.
How are you learning to overcome people pleasing?
New York Times Bestselling author Lysa TerKeurst has written a new book about finding your Best Yes. Many call this book “inspiring” and “fabulous.” I call it a game-changer. You can grab a copy at http://goo.gl/ZFUZbD