I have been a people pleaser my whole life. Over the years, especially as a teen and young adult, the need for the approval of others has been painful. I am better at dealing with this weakness, at almost fifty-three, than I used to be, but I would say the need to please others has been my main source of anxiety.
My experience as a counselor taught me that I am not alone.
We are born with the need to be loved. I believe that all of us naturally have this fear of rejection. Most people blame it on their parents or their history of being rejected. Give your parents a break. Your were born this way and so were your parents. As we go through life processing our relationship experiences through this” need to please” filter our fears seem to be validated.
People who have the need to please have a natural bent toward not affirming others so you can’t depend on any person to fill this void. Most of us keep seeking the approval of others our entire life. Others, and I think it’s a small percentage, resolve not to please others, but the void is still there, so as they go through life stepping on or ignoring others and still suffer the pain of not feeling approved.
In Genesis God looks at Adam and says “it’s not good for man to be alone,” so He created Eve. He created in us a need to be in community. It all broke down when Adam and Eve sinned and were separated from God. So we keep going after that reconnect with others and it can not be completed till God is part of the community.
The main teaching of Jesus was the importance of community with God and man through love.
Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matt 2237-40
Jesus said the God and people connection is the key to being all you are supposed to be as a child of God.
When we strive to get this void filled with just people we have major relational problems like; anger, resentment, hostility. We are easily manipulated and we try to manipulate others. We are controlling. We get depressed and we even get to where we avoid others to avoid others and opportunities for success to avoid the pain of rejection.
We don’t have to live our lives constantly seeking the approval of others, avoiding others. And not caring about others is a sin that will keep us in conflict with God.
If we realize who we are in our relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, we will be able to deal with the temptation to seek the approval of others.
So …. Here are Five Reasons to Not Be a People Pleaser
1) You are accepted by God.
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close. Ps 27:10
2) You are of great value.
God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world. 1 Cor 7:23
3) You are loved.
“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
4) You are forgiven and you give God great pleasure.
Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. Eph 1:4-5
5) You can do it.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Phil 4:13
Step out of your comfort zone and be everything you are meant to be.
Don’t Let your past hold you back.
Love others more than you love yourself. They don’t have to love you back for you to feel good about who you are.
God is on your side. He has your back.
Question: Can you see how understanding who you are in Christ can help you conquer the fear of rejection and the need to be approved by others?