Words From An (Ex) People Pleaser.

Updated: Oct 31, 2018

I am a recovering people pleaser.  

I have struggled with this syndrome since I was a little girl.  So badly I wanted to fit in with my friends at school that I found myself participating in things that I knew weren’t right.  However, being liked was worth the cost..even if it meant someone else was collateral damage.

When I look back at photos of myself, I feel sad for that girl. Not just for her gangly legs, done-at-home highlights (plastic cap with the holes in it, anyone?), and braces. We all go through that awkward stage, right?

I mean, come on. Admit it. Your heart goes out to her too just a little bit.

I feel sad for her because she lacks confidence. She is so loved and so precious and worth so much, but she doesn’t know it. She values what other people say about her more than she should, and it affects the way she lives her life. She missed out on so much because of it.

For the record, I was forced to play an instrument growing up. Cliche as it may be, I chose the flute. But here’s the thing: I was good. I always sat first chair and got top scores at solo competitions (I know you guys are thinking about how rad I must be ;)…). But as soon as I got the chance to get out of band, I made a run for the hills. Why? Because band wasn’t cool. I was called a ‘band nerd’.  Instead of being confident in my abilities and maturing that talent (like Ron Burgandy), I gave it up. I wanted to be accepted more.

In addition to wanting to fit in, worrying about what others thought about me brought me to the point of being physically sick more times than I’d like to admit. Did I upset her? Did something I said offend him? Does he or she think less of me now? This is just a glimpse into the internal dialogue that once had such a fierce hold on my life.  

Adolescent worries such as am I popular enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I skinny enough? Am I talented enough? Am I smart enough? have evolved into worries such as, Am I a good enough wife? A good enough mom? A good enough friend?

Good enough for who?

Who is this “person” that we need to be perfect for?

Spoiler alert: we will never be completely fulfilled by nor can we completely fulfill another person. Why? Because at the end of the day we are human beings. We were knit together so purposefully by our Creator, and as he designed us he left a space inside of us that only he could fill. Anytime we try and fill that space with something else we will feel its effects. Whether you try and fill that God-shaped hole with acceptance or relationships or materialism, you will always be left wanting something more.  

It has taken years for me to finally come to the realization that for so long I held a core belief that if others loved and accepted me, then I must be worthy. As long as people were happy with me, I avoided conflict, I was kind to others and had lots of friends, then I am enough.

It’s a lie.

It doesn’t matter if every single person in this world turned their back on me tomorrow.  I’m still enough.


Because God says I am.

Girls, let this sink in. You are enough.

You are enough not because of what you do or what others say about you and think about you.  You are enough because the Creator of the Universe says you are.

Let that truth permeate your thoughts. The Creator. Of the Freaking. Universe.

Yet we spend so much time worrying about what Jane Smith thinks about us?  Who is she, anyways? Why do we give her power?

When I start my day in the Word and fill my head with truth, my thought pattern is completely transformed.  Because when you boil it down, people pleasing is an unhealthy thought pattern. When I really let what God says about me soak into every ounce of my being, I have a peace in my soul.  I can let go of the people pleasing. And y’all I love letting go, because people pleasing is a lot of dang work! Can I get an amen?

When you give the Holy Spirit control of your thoughts, it’s the equivalent of looking through a different colored lens.  Every single interaction you have that day will be filtered through that lens. A comment someone else makes doesn’t automatically have to become about you.  You can handle the fact that other people are dealing with ‘their stuff’ and not take it on as ‘your stuff’. Their reality does not have to become your identity.  You can love others and be there for them, but still have boundaries. Unhealthiness sets in when we fuel our identities with what other people think and say about us.

What fuels your identity?  Is it love and acceptance from others?  Is it a certain position at work? Is it how good of a mom you are to your kids?  Is it how great of a wife you are to your husband? Is it your social status? How many likes you get on Instagram? (You might laugh, but admit it's truth). Your economic status?  The amount of money in your bank account?

Until you find your identity in who God says you are, you will never be satisfied.

So who does God say you are, anyways?

You are His child. (John 1:12)

You are His friend. (John 15:15)

You are justified and redeemed. (Romans 3:24)

You are accepted. (Romans 15:7)

You are a new creation. (2 For 5:17)

You are chosen, holy and blameless before God. (Eph 1:4). *God doesn’t see you by your mistakes.  All of that was taken care of on the cross. He sees you today as who He created you to be for eternity.

You are made complete. (Colossians 2:10)

Your needs are taken care of. (Phil 4:19)

You are chosen. You are chosen. You are chosen. (Col 3:12, 1 Thess 1:4)

And in the words of the fabulous Lauren Daigle:

The only thing that matters now is everything You think of me

In You I find my worth, in You I find my identity, (ooh oh)

You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing

You say I am strong when I think I am weak

And You say I am held when I am falling short

When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours

And I believe (I), oh I believe (I)

What You say of me (I)

Oh, I believe

To all of you amazing women who actually made it to the end of this post, know your worth. You are so precious, so loved, and worth so much. If you don’t believe it, come over. I’ll make you coffee (like really strong coffee), I’ll throw whatever toys are on my couch onto the ground so you can get cozy, my 4 year old will serve us tea (tap water in a plastic teapot), and I’ll tell you how amazing you are.  

Today I challenge you to accept this truth: I am enough. Forget what others say.  Forget what others think. All that matters is your reflection in the eyes of our Father.

- Lauren Preusz

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