I feel like I should be further along in my journey. After all, I discovered my people pleasing tendencies over 20 years ago. I thought I had stopped being so concerned about what people thought waaaay back then.
But people pleasing is tricky. You can say you don’t care all the while, deep down, you care immensely. And here’s why it’s so tricky; If you generally get along with everyone in your life, you can easily say you don’t care what people think because they are thinking nice things! That’s like saying you don’t believe in dieting when you are naturally a size zero…it’s a pretty safe belief.
It’s when something happens in your life that opens you up for people to misjudge you, to think wrong things about you and you can’t do anything to change their misconceptions…THAT’S when you find out just how much you care about what other’s think. That’s a really scary place for a people pleaser.
But I can honestly say I’m thankful for those revelations, if not the pain that those times cause. Because I don’t want to be so concerned with being liked. I want to be true. I want to say and live what I believe because it’s right. I don’t want to be afraid to question status quo or dig deeper into scary issues because people might not like me.
The people in life that I find most refreshing are the ones who say what they think even if it’s not popular or traditional or even “Christian.” Jesus was one of those “counter cultural” say-what’s-true, not-what’s-popular kind of people. And since his is really the only opinion I should care deeply about, maybe I’m on the right track.
So for today, I invite you to make a small change with me that could have huge repercussions. Start filtering what you say and do thru this lens. “Am I saying/doing this because I want people to like me or am I telling the truth by being real?” It’s really a simple change but the difficulty comes in how many times a day we may have to ask ourselves that question. And to be clear, I’m not suggesting that when the cashier at the grocery store says, “How are you?” you should stop and tell her your life story. But if your best friend says the same thing, maybe try telling the truth. That’s a good place to start.
Photo credit: Simon Doggett (creative commons)