Hello, my name is Lysa and I want people to like me. So, I will sometimes say yes when I really want to say no. And when I do say no, I sometimes worry about how much I’m disappointing that person.
I would much rather write this blog in past tense. Like, “I used to struggle with this but I’ve really matured past it all. So, let me share how I bravely say no and never fret over that decision.”
But this isn’t a past tense issue in my life.
Though I have gotten better, I still have quite a ways to go. When I wrote Unglued, I confessed how hard it is for me to be honest with some people. My tendency to just stuff and smile has at its root this desire to be liked.
No matter how I want to spin what this is, I have to call it people-pleasing.
It’s part of my DNA to love others. Love them and not disappoint them. But I have to realize, real love is honest. Real love cares enough about other people to say no when saying yes would build up a barrier in the relationship. Real love pursues authenticity rather than chasing acceptance.
We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.
So here’s how I’m challenging myself to break free from people-pleasing…I have to make peace with these realities:
* I am going to disappoint someone.
Every yes will cost me something. Every no carries with it the potential for disappointment.
Either I will disappoint this person by not meeting the full extent of their expectations, or I will disappoint my family by taking too much time from them. Do I wish I could say yes to everything and still keep my sanity? Yes! But I can’t. So here’s how I will say no:
“Thank you for asking me. My heart says yes, yes, yes-but the reality of my time says no.”
A good verse for this is Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.”
* I must pause before giving immediate answers.
Sometimes it might be realistic for me to say yes, but I’ve learned to let my yes sit for a spell. Pausing allows me to assess how much stress this will add into my life. The person asking me for this favor probably won’t be on the receiving end of my stress. It’s the people I love the most that will start getting my worst when I say yes to too many people.
So, here’s how I will give myself time to make an honest assessment:
“Thank you for asking me. Let me check in with my family. If you haven’t heard back from me by the end of the week, please connect with me again.”
A good verse for this is found in Proverbs 31. Tucked between all the responsibilities she has is a verse that reveals her attitude. Proverbs 31:25 says, “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” What this says to me is she doesn’t set her heart up to dread what lies ahead.
* Make peace with the fact some people won’t like me.
In an effort to keep my life balanced, I will have to say no to many things. If someone stops liking me for saying no they’ll eventually stop liking me even if I say yes right now.
There are some people I won’t please no matter how much I give. And some people won’t stop liking me no matter how many times I say no. My true friends are in that second group and I love them for that.
Here’s a great verse for this: “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ,” (Galatians 1:10).
Now, I want to hear from you. Do you have some people-pleasing tendencies you know you need to work on? Or, have you discovered some things you’d like to share to help those still working through this?
I’d love to hear from you on this topic today. Let’s chat it up in the comments below. 3 commenters will be chosen to win an Unglued bundle complete with an Unglued book, Unglued Devotional, and a set of key tags.
The thing I find frustrating about people pleasing is how dishonest it feels. It’s hard to read the heart of a people pleaser, because I never no for sure if they are telling me the truth or just saying yes to please and appease. I would rather hear an honest “no”, than a dishonest “yes” any day. It tells me that they think enough of me to tell me the truth.
So true. So true. So me.
I just finished reading “Crazy Busy” by Kevin DeYoung, and he makes the same point about people-pleasing … how it is sometimes connected to pride. We don’t say “no” because we don’t want to hurt, to disappoint. But one of the ways not to be crazy busy is to know we are doing all that the Father wants us to do — nothing more, nothing less. Thanks for a great post, Lysa.
I used to be a people pleaser. I too felt too much stress from doing everything everyone else wanted me to do. I finally learned to say no. I can say that it is in the past for me. I realize I make some people angry, but if that makes them angry, then we were not really friends to begin with. My friends understand my no’s. It is very freeing to be able to say “no” when I need to. People also realize that when I say yes it must be something I want to do and have time to do. I love being busy with things I love.
I have been a people pleaser for nearly 40 years & struggle to change that. Still as I sit here suffering with illnesses I am always trying to do the same. No wonder why I am Ill. Praying to break free & change the cycle. I love your words from the Lord.
Oh, for the people-pleasing tendencies… Struggling to make sure everyone around me is “happy”, I’ve learned a few hard-knock lessons along the way. The biggest lesson that I’ve had to see played out again and again is that old saying “you can’t please all the people all of the time.” Knowing that, I find myself able to say more a little more easily now.
But, I still struggle with those commitments that are made – but then have to be broken due to life circumstances (a child with a stomach bug, for example). I struggle mightily under the weight of disappointing others in those instances.
I am so eat up with this disease that I’m surprised my picture wasn’t in your post! I’ve even been accused of it at work — well, duh! I’m an exec assistant. I’m supposed to please everyone, right?!
I am learning to push back a bit more in my personal life. I try not to be the first to volunteer to fill in for lay readers or altar guild members who need a substitute. i even asked someone at a higher pay grade to take my spot as consolidator of info for a meeting because i was in the midst of planning two, actually 3, rather large events.
So very grateful to know God sees me as a work in progress!
Thanks, Lysa, for once again hitting home when it’s sorely needed.
Obviously, you have been looking into my heart this morning. I can’t believe I just sat down and this was on my email! I go through this with my extended family constantly. I am being pulled in so many directions, but I am so afraid of making someone mad at me. There is no possible way to make everyone happy, so I am at a crossroads as to how to choose who to disappoint and who not to? I would love to hear suggestions from any of you. This is truly a trait of mine that I fight every day. Thank you for this devotional this morning!
The thing I find most frustrating about people pleasing is how dishonest it feels. It’s hard to read the heart of a people pleaser because I never know for sure if they are saying yes just to please and appease or because they really mean it. I would much rather hear an honest “no” any day over a dishonest “yes”. It tells me they think enough of me to tell me their truth.
I have personally experienced this with a people pleasing SIL that I have known for over 30 years, but don’t REALLY know, because she goes along with everything and everyone and never says what her likes and dislikes are. She says yes to everything! Or she says, I’ll do whatever everyone else wants to do. It makes the relationship feel empty, dishonest and superficial.
I challenged her once on a vacation to tell us what she wanted to do for the day and she said: I’ll do what everyone else wants to do.” I got frustrated and said NO! Everyone else is putting their desires on the table, you should too”. She was shocked and speechless. I was tired of her flying under the radar.
This is something I struggle with all the time. Thanks for posting this!
I too, am a major pleaser and becoming wiser as the years progress! Baby steps with this subject for sure……On thing I have learned from my husband is the 24 Hour Rule. I thank my friend who is asking me the favor and simply say “Let me take 24 hours to think about it and I will know whats best then for us both”. It truly helps to take that time to mull it all over. Love you Lysa!!!!
OMGoodness — Lysa I think you were talking directly to me! Of course, I know other people pleasers that I’m sure would feel the same way. I am so struck by the way you phrased “disease to please” – I’m going to carry that with me and I’m going to learned to stop, breath & think before I keep saying YES to everything. Thank you 🙂 Blessings!
Thank you Lysa for putting what we all know in words and referencing it back to scripture! I learned the hard way, through my health, that saying no was a much healthier option. I found myself overcommitted and under too much stress (mainly through my Church). I finally realized, with the help of my physician, that to say no opens the door for others to step up!!
I do machine embriodery for my church at practically no charge so when members ask me to do personal projects they expect the same pricing. I want to please but I need the courage not to cut myself short in effort, time, and material. If they don’t like me for this I need to realize that they probably don’t value me or what I do.
Wow, a friend and I were just talking about this this morning. As a former people pleaser, I try really hard to encourage those who are still stuck in that oh-so-hard-to-get-out-of mode!
I wish I had suggestions to help cure this problem, but I don’t! Like you and others have mentioned, I am trying to put some time between my “yes” tendency and my response, and that has helped. I really need time to think of what the “yes” will mean to me and my family.
Like you, though I still struggle with this, I have gotten much better. I really had to come to terms with #3 (Make peace with the fact that some people won’t like me) especially when I had to deal with this in a real life situation with someone at church (of all places) when I said no to a request. This really helped me to really look at things differently and to be able to tell are people just in my life because I say yes to them or is there something more…..NO AMOUNT OF YESES WILL KEEP A PERSON IN YOUR LIFE IF THEY ARE NOT MEANT TO BE THERE!!!
Thank you for that response! So true!
This is me! Thank you for this! I struggle many times a day with this, over little things and big things. Most of the times I can see my people-pleasing yes is rooted in pride & worldly ambition. I just have to remind myself that right now is a time for “simply” being a mother and wife.
I struggle with this as well and have come to realize that I need to minister to my family just as much as or more than my volunteer commitments. My struggle comes with pride of being involved in a cause to get recognition. I struggled with this a long time and still do, but have come realize through God that it is His recognition and reward that I truly seek – not this world’s. That is a tough one in this very competitive world we live in. Praise Him!
Aahhhh…what a topic, People pleasing. Yes, I struggle with this. My issue is I like to have things perfect, right, and done well. So I have a tendency to take things on and then feel the pressure that I need to make it right and do all the work or it won’t get done. This is a big issue God and I are working through. I would love to say I’m all good on this but I’m not. I’m working at it but not perfect. I’m slowly learning to give things to others and trusting they will do it well…and 99% of the time it works out and they do a great job. It’s my own issue…letting go!
Wow, I never fully understood what the second portion of Proverbs 31:25 meant! Thank you so much for this wisdom! I am struggling with the dread part of people pleasing right now. I have been looking forward to the month of October all year! I have events planned for every weekend and several weekdays, between family, ministry, recreation, yes all fun stuff! But last night it all hit me (as I was piping the 48th cupcake and trying to figure out what to wear to Women of Faith, etc.) and I thought to myself, what have I done! I learned a big lesson this month and that is even if you say yes to the fun things that you like to do you can still over extend yourself. Another thing that I have to tell myself regularly is something my Pastor has taught me, and that is, it is better to do ONE thing with excellence rather than doing a whole lot of things half-heartedly.
I think, for some of us people pleasers, it IS in our DNA. Since I have graduated to, and am well into my 40’s I have learned that people pleasing doesn’t benefit me or my family so much! And, I like you Lisa, am learning that those people who “love me” are going to love me in my yes’s and no’s….and those who are going to “leave me” were going to leave me any way. The freedom that comes from letting go of people pleasing is when they “leave me” it’s kind of “okay” because you realize it wasn’t really me it was the selfishness of them. (Yes, I did say that!) The strength and beauty of who we are can really shine and who we are in Christ ; and HE was not a people pleaser ….HE was HIS FATHER’s pleaser! Cheers and kudos to daily making the choice to please our heavenly Father and not others….but enjoying blessing others which makes them happy (and us) along the way!!
Great points. Sharing with us the language…the actual words to say is over half the battle.
The best advice I constantly have to give myself is the same thing I tell girlfriends when they say negative things about themselves: That may have been true in the past, but acknowledging it today means you’re able to change it! (whatever “it” is today!) Start with loving yourself where you are, and those things will fall into place. This life is a journey and we need to pour the same love and affection into our own hearts that we work so hard to share with our babies and spouses and others! God created us in His own image and He has wants us to love ourselves, be whole, fill those empty spaces with him, not mess, and have JOY in our lives! Thank you Lysa for Made to Crave and Unglued!! I’d love the hard copy (bought it for my e-reader) if I win it… Mostly, I look forward to all God has for all of US, sisters in Christ supporting one another on this journey! PEACE!
*Lysa (ooopppsss….bad typo!! ) :)))
Absolutely, positively describes where I’ve been, where I continue to find myself and from the pit from which I am being restored!!! And I’ve been on both sides – I don’t like to be told ‘no’, but I’d rather be told the truth than misled wtih lies!!! Thank you Lysa!!! You are inspiration of Godly proportion!! God bless you as you are a blessing to others, through Jesus, Amen!
My oh my you have really hit the nail on the head with me on this subject. I really needed those verses and to be reminded of who I am trying to please. I always want everyone to like me and fear being talked about. I really need to learn that I cannot always say yes and I liked your advice about checking in with your family first. The sad truth is this happens with church so often. Not enough people to do the work so you end up doing it because you feel guilty when you say no. Thanks!!!! So much for this post.
I struggle with this almost daily. It seems so odd as it seems like it’s more of a struggle for me now as I’m getting older to say no and disappoint people than it was when I was younger and raising my kids. I think when I was younger I could justify saying no because of commitments to my family. But now that all the kids have grown when I’m asked to do something I don’t want to do I have a hard time saying no. It’s not that I have another commitment or really any good reason why I couldn’t do something other than I just don’t want to do it. But I have a hard time saying no, so I go ahead and say yes and regret it. I find myself doing things I don’t really want to do, but I felt bad about telling somebody no.
People pleasing is so much of my struggles. I try to please my boss, my kids, my husband, my professors, my friends, my co-workers, etc. etc. I want to take care of all of them all the time. Do my dismay….. I figured out that only one person (me) is not capable to do this on a daily basis with all the WANTS and NEEDS associated with this list. In believing that statement had to admit an even bigger issue that is associate, I can’t control how it all works out. I will not, nor can I expect to, make everyone happy by completing all their wants and needs. Again, I have discovered I am only one person with 24 hours in a day and sleep is not something that can be neglected for long periods. I have given up a couple things so far and am working on the rest on a daily basis. The control issue has just came to light over all this. God is leading me to understand that my health will become an issue if I don’t allow the “no” to come out more often.
Great points! The one that gets to me the most is to make peace with the fact that some people just won’t like me. Wow! Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? 🙂
I used to be a notorious people pleaser. Funny how no is usually the first word a toddler learns and the last word a Woman of God uses reguarly. Somewhere along the way I learned to have balance in my life.The problem in recovering from a life of people pleasing is going to the other extreme and forgetting how to say yes. So yes and no now get equal time in my vocabulary. Yes and Amen.
Yes. This is so true of me. I am a people pleaser. I am a busy single mom and feel that I do not have the time to do all the things I would like to at church, children’s schools, with friends, etc. Sometimes I find I am spreading myself to thin and I have to step back a little, but then feel quilty. I also find that I get my feelings hurt when people do not help with things. I guess I feel that I give 100% and I wish others would at least care. I know I’ve got to work on this. I did purchase your Unglued bundle and devotional and can’t wait to get started. If I did win the give away, I do have a friend that I would love to give it to. Thank you for all you do.
I think my biggest struggle is not that I have to say no sometimes, but figuring out HOW to say no – because I both worry about disappointing someone AND because in my pridefulness, I *think* I can do everything. I find the challenge two-fold for these reasons. I would rather spend time with my family above nearly anything else and yet, they, as you said, bear the brunt of my poor choices. Recognizing for myself that my pride plays a big part in this struggle has been really important – because if I can remember to ask myself….is this for me, or is this for God……that nearly always makes my answer much clearer!!
Yes I struggle with this as well. Sometimes the people you most seek the approval of is family. Honesty can be hard because you will hurt them. Not doing something up to the level that is expected disappoints. Many times I have gotten myself in over my head trying to please everyone around me.
While my heart says, “Yes, Yes, Yes!”, the reality of my time says no…I just don’t have the time right now to tell you ALL of the ways this post describes me!
Oh boy can I relate! I continually find myself in the dread mode because I say “Oh sure I can do that no problem” I then end up spreading myself way too thin, and honestly when that happens the one place I need to be, in the presence of My God, is the last place I can find time to be, and of course if I am not in His presence, my presence most definitely reflects that truth and EVERYONE around me is made painfully aware of that too!! I know this in my head, I do, and I am learning(way too slowly, ughh) to do exactly like you suggest in your blog. Thank you for sharing your life and your lessons with us. It is good to have sisters. and it is GREAT to have a faithful Father!
I struggle with this constantly and I have been on a three month search to change my focus from my job (recognition, success, “busyness”) to waiting for God to provide directions. I finally get it and he has shown me that I can trust him for everything. This has been a long road but I am learning that God “has my back,” and that always volunteering or accepting responsibility is really a lack of faith on my part. I have spent my entire life trying to get people to like me – through work – and now I stop and listen for that “still small voice.” It’s there!
“Thank you for asking me. Let me check in with my family. If you haven’t heard back from me by the end of the week, please connect with me again.” This should be my automatic response about most requests and it isn’t. Going to work on that. Thank you for being blunt about this subject.
this really spoke to me today. i need to learn when to say yes/no appropriately. God is Good!
As a school counselor, I struggle with being a people pleaser because that is a part of the nature of my job…to help “fix” everything. Then, I start thinking that if I don’t take it on myself, then the problem will never get better…and then I take my stress home and take it out on the people that I love most. Part of my people pleasing is definitely about my need for control, it is actually my way of thinking that I can control everything by making sure I’m the one who does it. God is showing me that my need to please people, not disappoint them, is linked very closely to my need to control.
I am one who can’t say no. I will think no but yes always comes out. Then I hate myself for being unable to say no. I guess I think I will hurt someone’s feelings if I say no, that they may feel rejected and I know how that feels. I am so bad that I can’t even say no in a text message! UGH! I am going to take your advice and use the comments that you suggested.
I definitely struggle with this! In fact, I recently discussed this very topic with my spiritual mentor. When I’m asked to help with something, my immediate reaction is – let me check my schedule. But when I see that I have nothing to do at that specific time, I immediately say yes. No other thought or prayer is put into the decision.
I am learning that I need to pause, as you mentioned and really think about my answer. Sometimes the reasons I want to say no though is because I simply want to sit and read a book, take a nap or hang out at home. It’s those times that I feel the most guilty saying no because I feel that if my schedule is free, I should be helping…
This is exactly what I needed to see today! I hate disapointing people (although I am perfectly capable of accepting being disapointed by others) and these past few weeks, being true to myself and what I stand for I have felt I have let others down. I just keep praying and I know God is there for me (this often occurs after I have beaten myself up for a few hours lol!).
Yes! I have trouble saying NO!!! I’ve learned that if the one being disappointed is myself and /or family, then I have to say NO. After Reading What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, I realized the one I needed to say Yes to was God, and not man. So before I say yes to anything now, I pray about it and discuss it with my husband. I love the change I’ve seen in my giving of Yes’s because they are more heartfelt now, and my relationship with my husband is growing too, because we discuss what is going on. I’m not perfect at this at all, and I still doubt myself when I say no and feel bad for disappointing others. But I try to take it day by day.
Oh my goodness… this hits home with me. I know I need to work on this area of my life and your blog helps me so much….
Thanks for taking the time to minister to me today, Lysa. I am a work in progress!
I really love that you gave examples of how to say no, or how to let your yes sit a while before you answer. I often say an immediate “yes” without thinking of how it will impact my time and my husband’s time – especially when it comes to church activities. We recently had a conversation in which he shared that it was frustrating when I plan things without talking with him first, and I realized that saying “yes” isn’t just committing my time, like you said, but is also taking time away from my marriage. Great blog. Thank you!
Isn’t it funny how God puts a person in our path with just the right thing to say when we need it most? Thank you Lysa, for allowing God to use you to speak into my life today. I am struggling with this very problem today, and have struggled with it on and off all my life! Unfortunately I modeled it to my kids as well and they now struggle with it as adults/teens (just as my mother modeled it to me, LOL!). I want to break this cycle!! My head knows the way out of people-pleasing but my heart hurts with all the times I’ve failed and said yes when I should have said no. I’m feeling very broken today. Thank you for speaking words of wisdom and encouragement!
I struggle with this very topic so much. To the point that I make myself sick with worry and I end up taking it out on those closest to me – my family. I really appreciate the realities you list of “people-pleasing” and the ideas/responses on how to deal with it. I need to pause more and not be afraid to put myself and my family first. Thank you!
I tend to say “yes,” when I know I don’t need one more thing on my overfull and spilling onto the ground plate. Its like I have this invisible resume amongst my friends that if I increase my “experience” on this so called resume then I will be approved of. Sure I will be the homeroom parent, a full time mom of 4 boys, a full time employee, a full time wife, do concession stand duty, make diy gifts, attend PTO meetings, participate in school and sporting events, WHY NOT? Well, why not…because if I fill my life with all the the unnecessary things that I can say “NO” to, then I will have more time to consume God’s word and listen to his voice in silence. This is my intent! Learning to balance is the key and I have not yet become an expert yet.
I know for me, if I will take the time and simply say, “Let me pray about this and you pray about it and I’ll get back to you,” is incredibly helpful. It took awhile to develop that habit, make it consistent, but it does help me not take on too much.
I really like the reminder that I may be taking away from my family whether in time, energy, focus or whatever it may be. I need to keep that in mind.
I know through prayer God will show me if I am taking from Him, taking from them, or doing the activity for the wrong reason.
May I suggest one thing you should NOT do? When I became over-loaded after retirement, It seemed a reasonable thing to ‘JUST SAY NO’. If I just said no for a month – 6 wks., I would break the cycle and be able to attain better balance. Sadly, after a month or so of saying no, I began to like the spare time at home with my crafts/books/cooking and kept right on saying NO! Now I’m having a difficult time saying YES! Still looking for BALANCE!
Lysa, I have the people pleasing disease big time but I also have very thin skin when I do so much for someone and there little or no appreciation. This issue goes back to my childhood when at 11 I was given the responsibility of caring for my 4 siblings while my Mother and Father worked. I was expected to handle this responsibility like an adult but when my parents were home, I was right back to being treated as a child. I never really got a thank-you for what I did when I really needed it My Mother did talk about it many years later, saying I wasn’t raised, I was “jerked up.” As a result, I think I’ve always felt the need to please everyone and to have everyone like me. So, I need help with God-pleasing and realizing that God appreciates me and that is enough. Made to Crave is helping me a lot and I really appreciate your work in this area. Thank you.
I used to be exactly like this. I was always somewhere I didn’t want to be because I said yes, or beating myself up because I said no. Guilt, guilt, guilt. Then my daughter was diagnosed with anorexia and boy let me tell you, things changed for me. During her therapy, I started to realize she also wants to please everyone except herself! She always says yes to others, and beats herself up for the smallest things. Now this won’t lead to such extremes for all of us, but it could be the start! We need to learn that it’s ok take care of ourselves, and that we are good enough if we say no or don’t go along with the group. If someone doesn’t like us, we have to say, “oh well” and move on. I learned this, and I changed. She is working on changing. Help when you can, but you matter too!
I feel like Satan loves to use this “disease to please” against me. He tries to make me think if I’m really loving people like Jesus does, everyone around me will be pleased. Such a lie! SO awesome of the reminder of what REAL love looks like … so much better than the counterfeit. Also, love the practical responses you offered to help me loosen the grip on the people-pleaser in me. Thank you!!!
I don’t particularly struggle with saying “YES” to much but I do struggle sometimes with the guilt that maybe I should be saying YES more. Sometimes when I look at how others are serving or volunteering their time so often, I wonder if I’m failing by not serving enough. But then I have also seen the other extreme and the amount of pressure and stress that can come from not being able to say NO. So I guess my main battle is with knowing what that healthy balance looks like.
This is so great! I really need that scripted statement which offers grace (“MY heart says ‘yes, yes, yes'”), and yet realism (“My time says, ‘no’.”). Thanks!
I to struggle with this. Honestly I needed to hear this TODAY! I am in M.o.p.s , leadership, lost our pregancy last week at,11wks, along 3rd miscarriage. My director actually emailed me last night, & told me ITS OK TO SAY NO!…. I was offended at first because I love what I do there. She then called me & I decided I owed it to MYSELF, to be honest &, told her YES, I can not take on any extras than the basics right now. After that conversation it felt good that I pushed my pride aside, got real, & didn’t hold in my pain! Im looking forward to next weekend in St.Paul with you Lysa! I know your words will bless my heart. & Im praying now to receive! Praying for you <3 Blessings
I have struggled with these issues my whole life. And I am 60 years old. I am starting to make better decisions, but I still struggle. And it is so true, when we over commit, it is our family who struggles. And in the long run, we struggle, because we feel inept at home. AND GOD LOSES BECAUSE WE DON’T SPEND TIME WITH HIM. As women of God we need to make conscious well though decisions, from our head and not always from our heart.
I remember hearing one time “see a need, fill a need”, I am a big people pleaser, so I took that to heart only to have the Lord tell me, that is not truth. I now take a step back and ask the question, do I want to say yes because I want to be recognized or do I want to say yes, because it is something close to my heart and God wants to me do it. It is not always black & white, but if we take a step back, pray and evaluate, God will speak to our heart about our decision. I am certainly still a want to be “people pleaser”, but this process has been beneficial for both me & my family:)
Ouch! I have been working on – and making hiccup progress with – the answer pause. (Wow. What a difference that makes. Now if I can just ALWAYS remember to use it…). But the concept of not everyone liking me – why is that so difficult to master? I have days when I hear myself say something silly to ingratiate myself or make a commitment I know I will regret and all I can think of is Willie Loman in “Death of a Salesman” and his mantra of it being necessary to be well-liked. (Note to self: rebuke the spirit of that piece of literature.). Will I ever be comfortable enough with “No” that I can relax into the right to say it, Lord? If I open my mouth, just circumvent me and fill it with the truth, Spirit.
People pleasing is a HUGE issue for me. I discover new and fun ways (sarcasm) that it affects me all the time. I pray about it regularly. Here is a great verse:
But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:13 ESV)
This verse reminds me that pleasing other people is really fear of rejection and idolatry. It helps me remember to focus on God as my number one.
It is recently that God has given me an awareness of the people pleasing tendencies I have. He is teaching me that it is not about me but about what is best to bring glory to Him. This is a very challenging process but I know it is drawing me closer toHim. Thanks!
Thanks for sharing. I still have a hard time and need to remember to pause. I need to say I will get back with you and not feel pressured to give an immediate answer. Thank you for reminding all of us that we can say no………….Pat
Recovering perfectionist and people pleaser here. In my experience people who expect you to say yes will retaliate when told no. It’s a difficult road to navigate leaving me to either suffer the retaliation or give in. Painful, especially when it’s a relative.
This is such a great topic today! It really hit home for me. It’s not just worrying about hurting people by saying no that I struggle with. I also have often (daily? Haha!!!) found myself in the trap of worrying about what everyone will think of me when they hear that I am a stay @ home mom. Many people tend to be pretty judge-y about that choice, and assume I have time to do everything. I feel guilty about being lucky enough to do this and…well, it can be a downward spiral from there, haha! This verse, really lightened my heart today. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” I do feel like I am where The Lord wants me right now–and I need to remember that this is what should matter to me!!! Thank you for this! And thank you for always being so open with your life to all your readers! It so helps to know that someone who I really look up to struggles with the same things I do!
I used to struggle with saying no. I am not very involved with much anymore… because I did do WAY too much. However, with three kids, there are things in my life that make me involved by default. There are lots of things that I would like to do, but my husband does not want to be or isn’t interested in doing these things. So, my guilt comes from my need to be involved in SOME things but I don’t because I don’t want things to be hard for the kids or me. So… I am just a big ball of guilt all around 🙂 I don’t mean do everything, but I am just made to feel that I always do too much and in reality, I don’t do anything out of fear and guilt. WOW… that sounds horrible as I write it!!!
I’ve struggled with people-pleasing my whole life! I’ve discovered the root comes from a fear of disappointing others or having them think less of me. Growing up I always believed that if I pleased others then they wouldn’t reject me. I’ve come a long way but still have a ways to go in this area. Thank you for being honest and sharing these tips that are helping you. Galatians 1:10 is such a great heart check for me today. Who am I ultimately trying to please? I choose God 🙂
Bullseye! Like an arrow to the heart. Learning at my parents knees to be the family enabler.
Keeping family peace at all costs … unable to say no out if fear, which only beget more fear that bled into my relationships with GOD, spouse, children, church, work. Saying yes and failing often. So much fear I have never responded to a blog afraid others would scoff.
2 3/4 yrs ago I fell on my knees as my world crashed around me calling out to JESUS for a deeper walk with HIM. HE has led me out of this dis-ease and into abiding with CHRIST.
HE’s been opening doors leading me into womens ministry and along with more requests for my very limited time.
In fact 2 new requests in my inbox. My first event planning session forthcoming and a whole bushel basket of “people pleasing” concerns and this blog.
Tears are running down my face as I ponder how Great, thoughtful and loving our GOD is to send me this encouagement at such a timely moment.
Thank you Lysa for being the clay in our Heavenly Potters Hands
Boy, did I need to hear this today!! THANK YOU, Lisa, for your insight and suggestions. I will use them verbatim!! May God richly bless you and your ministry!
For me the high frompeople pleasing is short lived because then I am mad at myself for saying yes then I am frustrated and do a poor job because I am over committed. Thanks for some insight.
I have struggled with this all my life. I want people to like me at all times, and I have gotten myself into trouble trying to please everyone all the time. It just can’t be done! The older I get, though, the easier it seems – but really I think it is that the older I get the more I desire to please Jesus above all else, so I’m seeking Him more and more each day, digging into His word more and more each day, and amazingly and wonderfully, confidence to stand alone if need be is rising up inside of me helping me do what is best whether other’s opinions are good or bad.
Hi Lysa, thank you very much for this post. I have been struggling with perso pleasing for a long time. I say person pleasing because my issue is about pleasing just one person. It is a friendship I feel I am scared to lose. In the last little while, my heart has been condemning me regarding this issue. The other person doesn’t have an issue. Not even sure they have a clue what’s going on. I am the one with the issue and by God’s grace, I am praying about it and asking God for help to get myself out of this situation. Any suggestion from anyone will be most welcome.
Lysa, Thank YOU for writing this blog; it seems to have struck a chord with a LOT of women!!! I also struggle with the people-please disease and it has caused such anguish in my life! I have had times when I felt saying no would devastate the person asking me and the guilt that I would carry would be so great that I would cave in even when I knew it wasn’t right for me at that time. It is so wonderful to know exact scriptural help to remind myself of and to help other women I see in that place. I’ve had to learn to say no just as you have – even to things at church that would over-commit my time, resources and energy. I’ve had to learn to say no in love and move forward knowing that the Spirit led me to make the right decision for me. As long as God is happy with me and loves me, nothing else really matters! Thank you so much for the simple wisdom you share and for showing us a grace-filled way to gently decline! God bless you!
My Dear Sister, I so can identify! I must say God has brought me along way…There is so much freedom when I don’t send a text or an email explaining my “why, I said No”. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit, bc He reminds me there is no need for explanation.
Thank you Father for every opportunity that is presented to each of us, to say “no” in love, so that our hearts and minds a clear of guilt. Thank you for growing each of us in this area, for opening our eyes to the issue, so that we may lay it at your feet! You remind us to cast our cares on you, because you care about us! In Jesus Name, Amen!
My Dear Sister, I so can identify! I must say God has brought me along way…There is so much a when I don’t send a text or an email explaining my “why, I said No”. I am so thankful for the Holy Spirit, bc He reminds me there is no need for explanation.
Thank you Father for every opportunity that is presented to each of us, to say “no” in love, so that our hearts and minds a clear of guilt. Thank you for growing each of us in this area, for opening our eyes to the issue, so that we may lay it at your feet! You remind us to cast our cares on you, because you care about us! In Jesus Name, Amen!
Such beautiful truth – focusing on myself seemed foreign but in reality that is all we do when people pleasing, there is always a pay off for us. So… being so self focused I finally learned to say no when it was pointed out I was simply being disobedient! If God does not say yes, that means it is a no! I was acting as if I knew better than God. Grace upon grace upon grace!
Thanks so much for your honesty. I feel the same way. I pray for deliverance all the time
OMG!!! I cannot believe you wrote about this today! I know God is truly working with me and using your blog is just one of them. By no means am I perfect, but I love to make others HAPPY!! I amvery much a people pleaser, to the point of making myself miserable and so stressed out. What you said in this blog was so awesome, there are others that feel the way I do!! I don’t really do it so much to have acceptance, but I hate for people to be disappointed, upset, hungry, tired or even feel inadequate. So I try to help in any way I can for them not to have those situations arise for them! I had decided yesterday, I have to learn to accept the fact that I am not wonderwoman! Some people even feel like I do it for other reasons, other then just trying to be helpful, and it is so hard, but I remember that God knows my motivations and that is all that truly matters! This blog was just such a blessing to me. I felt it was just reassuring me that my decision that I made yesterday was what I needed to do. So thanks and just keep praying that I can be strong, and of course, I will pray for you and any others.
Lysa, I just wanted to let you know the affect you are having on our community and neighboring ones. You see, I just did the Yes to God OBS and I haven’t stopped talking about it yet.
There is a group of about 20 young “new” preachers in our 2 county area that are in there 20’s and 30’s, my husband surrendered to the ministry 3 years ago. All of us preachers’ wives keep in touch and our husbands as well.
Since the OBS, God has been making Radical changes in my life and I talk to the other wives about it. They in turn talk to there husbands about it, naturally 🙂
All of a sudden my husband preached one Sunday morning on Radical Obedience and the 5 question filter. Now, with the other preachers and wives and even churches, I keep hearing the phases, Yes to God and Radical Obedience.
2 weeks ago 5 churches got together and held a mass revival, the main focus was saying Yes to God!
Things are changing here, and I thank Jesus Christ and you!
Sincerely, your sister
This post was so simply put, yet incredibly powerful. I have struggled with people pleasing my entire life, and even now, I second guess every decision I make and the impact it will have on those around me. I find myself basing my happiness on that of others. Often times, it is a depressing place to be.
This post was so encouraging and a wonderful reminder that it IS okay to say no sometimes. Taking care of yourself and your own family is most important.
This is a great and powerful post Lysa. I consider myself a people pleaser and a blender. Thank you for sharing your people pleasing words and how to handle them, I so needed to read this and need to remember these bible scriptures as well as your words. Let me explain being a blender. Let’s all face it, when you put stuff in a blender it all goes in the same way, it all gets blended in the same way and it all gets poured out together in the same way. When I am in a situation with certain groups of women, some call themselves Christian and the others are just unsaved friends. Well, the problem with this in my life is…… I am a Christian and 95% of me walks with the Lord every day, whether I am praying, talking to people, working with people. However, the other 5% of me is a blender. When I am in a group, as I explained above, I start out talking in a Christian manner an being the Christian the Lord wants me to be, then when unclean words and conversation start, I find myself blending in to what they are saying. I don’t do it intentionally, it just comes out of me (kind of the way I used to be and live). They all laugh and think I’m so funny how I don’t get offended at what’s being said, but in reality when the group dismantles and I come back to my own home I am totally ashamed of myself and God has convicted me strongly. This is extremely difficult seeing that one of these women is my daughter in law. I should be encouraging her to be more Christian talking and acting and not blend to go along with her and her friends. This is not promoting the Lord, but demoting Him. She claims to be Christian and doesn’t talk or act like it, but then again when I’m a blender I’m behaving the same way she is. I need to put on the full armor of God when I am around her. I need to acknowledge the Lord constantly to show Him how much I do love Him. If you have any suggestions and words of wisdom to help me say to her when she talks and act like that, I. would so appreciate it. I am praying that any women out there reading this will realize that they are not alone on this subject. Help me Lord to speak the words you want me to say to others, and help my actions to show that you are in me, so I will not displease you in any way. God bless you all.
Oh, Lysa, let’s start a PP 12-Step Program…I live by Proverbs 29:25 (MESSAGE), “The fear of human opinion disables;
trusting in God protects you from that.”
“Human opinion disables.” I’ve been trying to overcome this for so long I’m embarrassed to say. At the end of the day, though, I’m sick of that PP woman that lives inside me. She has to go. Thank you for always being honest and offering a way out of the dark. A friend once told me (or that PP girl that lives inside me), “Janell, for goodness (she didn’t really say goodness) sake, MAKE YOUR YES YOUR YES AND YOUR NO YOUR NO!” I hated and loved her all at the same time. I now hear her voice when I’m about to digress. Here’s to living the abundant life God intended!
I have always felt I had to make everyone like me. Never disagree, they might not love me anymore !!! As I get older I have found out as you said; they will either love me no matter what / OR they will dislike me no matter how much I try. I thank Jesus every day for giving me the strength to ignore their anger and attitude.
Thanks for this post!! I have to learn to pause before I agree – or disagree – to requests for my time. Your post helped me put things in perspective.
I struggle with people pleasing as well and am starting to do better with saying no. My main problem right now is all the responsibilities I have already said yes to and feel obligated to continue.
I am a people pleasing perfectionist. All I can say is, “I need help!” Finally, I am realizing this is not God’s will. God is the only one who can change me. HELP! Prayers are needed! I know all of this in my head but it is hard to change my feelings. I am going to lose my mind worrying about this all the time.
I don’t have the issue with saying yes like I used to. One of the things that helped me was to realize that if I over stretch myself and say yes to too many things I’m not only hurting myself and my family, I might be holding someone else back who really needs to step up and say yes. We are so quick to think “if I don’t do it, it won’t get done”. Sometimes that’s God way of saying its either time for it to end or time for someone else to step in. We need to trust that it’s in God’s hands not ours.
I struggle with people pleasing a lot, but as I get older it is easier to be truthful and say no. Remember the saying “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy”,
Hello Lysa! This post came right on time. An elderly lady that I attend church with has been sick off and on for quite some time now. Over the past couple of days she had been back and forth to the emergency room in which everyone is now concerned since the doctors aren’t finding anything wrong with her. A friend of mine whom is also a friend of the elderly lady sent me a text asking me if I would help sit with her. As you stated in the post, My heart was saying yes, yes, yes but I just could not do it. My emotional and mental state of being would have been through the roof had I agreed to it. I didn’t want to say no because I didn’t want her to feel as if I didn’t want to do it. I was at work when she sent the text so that gave me quite a bit of time to reply. It also gave me time to get advice on what shall I do from a couple of people. Maybe It was just God but a little after I had gotten off of work she text me back and said, I had no clue you didn’t have transportation (in which I do not have a vehicle which would have been another reason why I would have has to say no). I never spoke to her on the phone since the test which is why I say it must have been God that worked in my favor. He knew my hearts intentions.
Oh I have this disease as well! I do all that you said plus I tell people I will pray about it before I give them an answer and I run it by my husband. I love serving the Lord and I unfortunately can’t stop myself from pleasing the Lord. My husband is a great person to turn to and get a straight answer if I can add anything else to my already full plate. And usually his answer is no! But he is right!
I just finished the UNGLUED book and bible study and it was amazing. I struggle with this people pleasing disease too!!! So glad I am not alone. My bff has no car and if I can’t take her places she has no ride. My husband lost his job, which came with a work truck and so we share our 1 functioning car now. As a christian woman, wife I have to make sure the car is available for my husband of 25yrs now even though I swore when our son Levi was 18, I was out the door. That was the UNGLUED Vicki talking, thinking, feeling. Not that I don’t have those UNGLUED moments still, I just have learned to work through it all so much better now.I do feel badly having to say no however I also feel worse choosing my bff over my husband which is not right to do. Levi is no almost 18 and 1/2 and I am fighting for this marriage to live on. I just remember when I feel UNGLUED to remember who I am first off….A CHILD OF GOD…and then I just say JESUS over and over and the peace fills my soul and calms my anxiety which is suffer from. Thank you Lysa~ You are a blessing <3
I admit it. I am a people pleaser. Like you, I have gotten better, but it is still such a struggle for me. Thank you so much for the bible verses and encouragement, Lysa. 🙂
I am a people pleaser. This is a huge area of struggle in my life. I really like the answer that you plan to give when you have to say no. In my heart I really want to say yes but given my time constraints I can’t do it. I think that is a softer, more loving answer than just a flat out no with no explanation. Thank you for giving me something to think on today!
My problem is not that I agree to do things out of love, but more because I feel “bullied” or just pressured by pushy people.
I usually have the nerve to tell most people whether or not I could honestly accomplish what they are asking of me in an acceptable time frame/manner, etc.
But those who just assume you will agree, because “after all it is for the good of the Kingdom” and “what kind of person doesn’t want to further the kingdom” … I know it’s still “people pleasing” and I’ve got room to grow as well!
I am a 50-year-old widowed mom of two almost-grown kids and the “disease to please” has impacted (negatively) every area of my life. It has made me a not-good mom because I didn’t make my kids do the things that they should have done. It made me a not-good wife and caregiver to my late husband because I said “yes” when I should have said “no” to being the SOLE 24/7 caregiver. It has made me a not-good partner in my new relationship because I am so eager to see him happy I agree to do things I’d rather not do. Negative impacts on my relationships, my health and, most of all, my spiritual life. God is dealing with me on my anger and resentment about this and healing me …. SLOOOOOOWLY. I haven’t honored anyone in my life and I particularly haven’t honored God because I haven’t lived honestly (so many times I’d like to have said no!) or responsibly (so many times I SHOULD have said no!) or intentionally. Thankful for His grace which covers us. And thankful to you for this post. It helps to know that someone else struggles with these same things.
This has been a struggle for me my whole life! The line that read about the person asking will not see the blunt of my stress could not be more true. I say yes to a project and then when I get in a crunch, my family has to deal with with me! I know this is something that God is and has been convicting me about for a while. Glad to know I am not alone. Have a blessed day all!
Oh my, I’m a people pleaser. I’ve been this way all my life, often to the detriment to myself. I’ve always thought it was more important that everyone else be happy and taken care of and that I could ‘take one for the team’ and be displeased, overlooked, needs not met. At 43, I’m finally allowing myself to heal from this. It’s okay that I make sure my husband and children are happy and taken care of, but I need those things as well and I no longer feel like I need to apologize for it. 🙂
I too have this problem. I hate saying no! I always worry that others will think badly of me when I do. Thanks for this post!
I have no advice on this subject, instead could really use some words of wisdom! Sounds like this book may be perfect for me! 😀
I need to print & post this – with 9 children I always feel like a failure if I try to please them. I love to care for them but tend to take it personally if they are upset or I can’t do what they ask of me .
I’m a people pleaser who tries to act like I don’t care, but I soooo do! I’ve been this way my entire life!
I have struggled with people pleasing quite a bit in my life. I hate the snare that it has in my life. There are certain topics that I will not discuss with certain people because I know it can become a snare for me to want to please them again. So I choose who I speak with about certain things…unless God shows me different. I have had to learn to be honest with others because I know I will be accountable before God for how I handled truth in my life. I want to glorify God in all that I do and I know that though that is my heart’s desire, I don’t always achieve that want. I choose to go the road more traveled once again and try to please man instead of God. I want to be free of this. I am thankful that I am free’er than I was just 5 years ago…and now I pray this journey will continue on in the right direction. Thank you for your ministry. What an encouragement you are to me.
Thanks for sharing. I often say No but then feel guilty that I should have said yes. Then when I say yes, I wish I would have said no for the fear of not doing it well enough or the right way. Hard to find that balance sometimes.
I too have always been a “yes man”, and it’s not so people will like me, unfortunately it’s more of a pride issue then even that, it’s a “it’s easier just to do it myself then have someone else do it and mess it up” attitude. Which is sooooo NOT a loving attitude! You book is intriguing me, I’ve got to read it 🙂
Thank you for this blog Lysa. I struggle very much with wanting everyone to like me and be around me. It really hurts my feelings when someone doesn’t agree with me and doesnt like me. I have recently been praying that God will help me to overcome this understand that God’s Love is enough. Who cares what others say or think about me. I am a Child of the one true King and that is enough!!!
Lysa, LOVE your books and your blog and your HONESTY!! I share your posts so often on Facebook. Love you-! A recovering people pleaser and perfectly imperfect also!
I struggle with this often. I seem to want to be everything to everyone and try to juggle too many commitments and responsibilities (that are self imposed). I am learning to think before I respond “yes” to anything. I am learning that I can’t be everything to everyone and that it is OK!
I totally struggle with people-pleasing too! I’ve had to learn to say no, which is a hard thing to do. And as the Lord began to teach me more and more about who I am in Christ, and my identity in Him, I have begun to find the confidence I need to strive to please Him more than others. But I still have moments since I am a people-person!
That is hard for me too to please others but I know it’s hard but pleasing God is what I can do better .
I still struggle with people pleasing. You’re book “Unglued” completely changed many of my relationships and interactions with people and the world. Thank you so much for your ministry. Hearing real life struggles from other women and what God’s word says in reference to those struggles is a huge blessing! It is hard to say no, especially to family or friends but I’m learning more every day about who should have priority in my life and of course; as long as I put God and His Word first I know things will turn out just fine 🙂 My favorite thing from your book “Unglued”…..the term “imperfect progress”.
For me, I am trying to reconcile the cultural aspect of people pleasing and fighting for real love. My heritage/culture is deep in people pleasing without disregard to love. You are born to be a YES man. So relationships are stuck at the surface and trying to go against the status quo has been challenging, especially when your entire family are full of yes men. I can only pray The Lord continues to work in my heart to fight on and work in the hearts of others so we can move forward into meaningful, rich relationships. Hope that made sense!
“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.”
great sticky statement
OH MY! I am such a people pleaser. I want so much to be accepted and like by everyone! That i think i tend to push them away 🙁
I love what you said about saying no. (My heart says yes yes yes, but my time says no) I love that. i am so afraid i will not be like if i say no. thank you so much for sharing your heart. i love how real and down to earth you are. i hope to meet you one day! thank you for your heart!
Oh, Lysa……I, too, wish I could speak about this as something that I have overcome. Truth is…I struggle daily with keeping a balance. Thank you for your honesty. I love “Unglued” and have shared it with many friends as gifts. May God continue to bless you.
Everything about this post describes me! And as a pastor’s wife of almost 15 years, I VERY easily get bombarded and overly committed VERY quickly. But with God’s and my husband’s help, I’m slowly learning to prioritize and learn to say no….and realize that I don’t have to do everything for it to run well….and people really won’t get disappointed if I don’t do everything! It is very freeing for me to say “no” when I know it’s something I shouldn’t be doing anyway. LOVE this post and thanks for the encouragement today! I need to read Unglued! My friends and I went through “When Women Say Yes to God” over the summer and I still say my “YES to God” prayer every morning. 🙂
I can’t wait to read your book. I don’t really struggle with people pleasing and saying yes when I want to say no – I have plenty of other issues! However, I want to make sure my children don’t struggle in this area.
I have often struggle with people-pleasing…especially when I get a weird vibe from someone. I am one of those people who asks, “is anything wrong?” probably one too many times. I feel like I often have dtr (define the relationship) moments because of my own insecurity. Thank goodness I am blessed with Grace-bearing friends and husband! I have gotten better though, and your book, Unglued, helped a ton! Boundaries and confidence are often people-pleasing killers! Thanks, Lysa!
Oh my how MUCH this devo RESONATES with me!!! And my HUGE heart God gave me! I have to stop focusing on what others think or may think about me & stay grounded in only what God thinks of me. I have soooo many burdens of worry & at the root of it all is unneeded stress! I am a work in progress and have a long way to go, but these TRUTHS from His Word have truly ministered to my heart & soul today!! God bless you!
I struggle with this every day. If I don’t say yes, I feel guilty about not saying yes, and then do whatever it was anyway. I am constantly stressed about this because it makes for very busy days – my weekends being even busier because I feel I can fit more in. I rarely take time for myself because that will take away from what everyone else needs/wants.
I really struggle with this issue! I can’t say no and over-commit myself and then end up stressing and resenting the person/commitment. Yikes! This really hits home. I appreciate the suggestions for ways to handle situations when you are tempted to say “yes”. I could use some help in this area -lol!
Hi, my name is Laney, I am a people pleaser, too! Why arent there support groups for that? 😉 LOL. I am finally learning that I can not do everything, that everyone wants. We have 4 kids, homeschool, my husband works out of town (he is home 6 days a month) so it is literally impossible for me to do everything the kids want, and “help” everyone that ask. Often times, they don’t “need” it, but want to pass off some of the responsibility! Thank you for your post today!
When we first joined the church we call home, I struggled with saying no. I wanted to be involved in church activities and I wanted my children involved so I just said yes all of the time. I came to a point in my life where I felt like I dreaded every time I had to go to church and serve. Through much prayer I finally determined that I could not serve God if I was miserable doing so and it was also unfair to the ones that I was teaching and interacting with. So, I prayed about it and I gave up all of the extras that I was doing at the time and I prayed telling God that I was available to use me as He saw fit. It was merely days when a call came and I knew that it was God’s plan, even if it was a temporary position to serve. I learned and grew so much in that time and now I am serving as co-director of VBS and I am so excited to see what God has planned for me personally, but also for our church and community. Thanks for your ministry. You are such an encourager to me in real life events with your blogs and daily posts on Facebook. God Bless!!!
My DNA is also set up to be a people pleaser. I worry so much about letting others down and hurting their feelings. So glad I read this today and I hope to find a way to work on my people pleasing tendencies so I will not worry so much.
I think my problem is not saying “yes” too often (I guess I don’t get asked to do many things). Rather, my problem is not saying something when I know I should for fear of being ridiculed or thought less of. I keep many of my opinions to myself when I think sometimes God would like me to share an alternative perspective.
I have a problem saying “Yes.” to people. And with Psoriatic Arthritis, I need to put myself first so I don’t run myself down and get a flare up. It’s hard. I’m filled with guilt whenever I do (rarely) say no. And many times I’ll go back and apologise and say I’ll do it anyway! It’s a horrible cycle.
Thanks for being soooo real. I grew up in a Christian home where everything was pretend…… It had to look good, regardless of what was really going on! Thanks for showing all of us what life really looks like and that God loves us anyway! Thanks for your transparency!
Oh I have been so guilty of saying “yes” too quickly and of overcommiting! And oh the grief it has cost me! With strained and failed relationships and taken away from my family. I have learned some valuable lessons in the last few years. I certainly have learned balance and to think first before saying “Yes I can do that”!! I have also learned to wait and ask “God is this something you want me to do, just because something seems like the right thing does not always mean it is the right thing for me. It is an ongoing struggle but one I am working through.
I am a lifelong people pleaser, and this has cost me dearly in the past. I struggle against people pleasing daily! This is one of those things I have to release and let go of each morning and I still fight against it at times. Thank you for this article – it’s great to know someone else understands!
I am the womens ministry leader for my church and I am so excited about sharing this book with them. I am a huge people pleaser and I get so exhausted trying to keep up some time. This book will help us see how to turn to God so He can help us lay it all down together.
I am very very bad at people pleasing. You are so right, our family is who suffers from this. The stress takes its toll on use and we take that out on the ones we love. Would love to read your book and want to try to do better starting today!! Thank you for this post as list of us definitely needed to read it!
I too struggle with this a lot. I can become so hurt and defeated when someone has an issue with me or doesn’t like me. I have recently come to a place where I realize the my identity in Christ makes it so that I do not let these things affect me so deeply. I believe that is the key…when we can fully grasp our identity in Christ, how He views us, like Lysa says: “God knows us, who we are today but also the deeper truth of who we REALLY are.” When we can come to peace in this truth then the people who hurt us or don’t like us won’t cripple us. I am trying to refocus my people pleasing to God pleasing…if I’m more concerned on whether I am pleasing God or not it’s easier to let the people pleasing side of me take a back seat. Lysa you are such a beautiful inspiration and encouragement in my life. Thank you for allowing God to work in and through you in a way that reaches us and has such an impact.
I am such a people pleaser and have come to know that it has to stop! I need help! Its stressing me out! My anxiety is so high that I am in tears daily! Where to start! God doesn’t need me to do this to please him! I feel like a doormat! Your words help me so much Thank you for letting God use you! I feel if I say no I’m not blessing them! But in turn they are hurting me!
I too am a people pleaser … until I am not, then I am a people hater … not really, but my behavior used to seem like I was one! After reading “Unglued” and realizing the different ways that I stuff or explode to different folks, I have made a prayerful effort to change some of the damaging ways I act or react. Thanks for always seeming to write directly to me and my life. I would love the devotional giveaway! Peace to you and yours!
My saying “yes” to too many things revolved around wanting the best for my five children: homeschooling, music lessons, sports, Bible study, housecleaning, church and service to others-all good things I felt I could not say “no” to. Then God added the trial of pain and depression on top of it all, and I collapsed. Dropped my kids off at a friend’s house and walked away, not knowing if I would ever come back. What followed was a decision to say no to EVERYTHING until I got better: put the kids in public school, dropped all extra activities, stayed home in the quiet of the day and rested and prayed and napped. I began to heal. Every year since then has been better and better, as I slowly an carefully embrace new responsibilities, with peace and joy, knowing that GOD is strengthening me to be able to say “yes” again.
This is good stuff, sometimes I wonder what else God would have for me if I didn’t care so much about what others think. I might be a better wife or mother or friend or daughter….
The more comfortable I am with my identity, my actions, my choice of words – the less of a people pleaser I am.
Thank you for your honesty. Although I can say no with a content heart, I will be more at peace using the words you shared. God Bless you for all you do and share openly.
I too am a people pleaser, so much so that I rob my family of much needed time together. I. Would live to buy your book! Please let me know where I can order it, and if it is available for Nook! Thanks for the great blog!
Ditto ditto ditto…women tend to be the caretakers in life and we are expected to be available for whatever crisis arises. To the point of frazzle-dom (is that even a word?) I am working on a “7-second delay” before responding, but that is difficult. I am taking responsibility for building up expectations. It feeds my ego to be known as a dependable “go-to” at work, church, volunteer job, wherever. I am afraid I won’t be liked (or asked again) if I say no. Thank you for your transparency, Lysa!
This seems to be a common thread among many of us! When I find myself back in that mode of people-pleasing, it helps me to remember, God is the One I really want to please. And He’s not so pleased when I’m stressed about what others are thinking about me. “Delight yourself in the Lord” is a helpful meditation for me. It takes the focus off of me, and puts it onto the One who alone is my peace. One more thought ~ let’s not beat ourselves up when we slip into that people-pleasing mindset. We women are way too hard on ourselves! That doesn’t please God either. Love God, love others, and love ourselves enough to embrace ourselves just as we are. 🙂
The more I release on my to do list and te more unlearn to say I can’t do that right know the greater inner peace I have. Still so hard at times and definitely not doing it perfectly but trying!
I have always struggled with people pleasing. I also wish it was something of the past that I could be looking back on with one word, conquered. When I look down deep I see the ugly root cause of people pleasing and that is unmet expectations. If I do this for this person, then they will like me and meet my need for this. Not only do I strive to break the habit of people pleasing, but to also get everything I need from God. Amazing blog post today and yet another great reminder of how to keep my eyes glued on God!
Oh goodness. This is me to a T! Sounds like I need to pick up a copy of “Unglued!”
You are RIGHT ON sista! I struggle with saying no. I and love to be involved with many things at my church, my community, my family and my son’s activities. I get so lost in the busyness that I lose focus on my relationship with my heavenly father. Before I realize it me and my whole world is
unraveling and rightly so. I will make a conscious decision to slow down and soon thereafter, the cycle starts all over again. I must learn how to stop this destructive cycle! Maybe your book can help me! Thank you for all your wisdom!
Wow! Thank-you for your honesty. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only woman who struggles to please people and keep my sanity. I am in graduate school doing my teacher internship and working part time. It is exhausting and yet rather than take time for myself to rest and relax I often take on more commitments out of a fear if rejection. These verses (that you shared in your blog) are helpful. Thanks
God certainly has perfect timing. As I read your article today, I wept. It was as if you wrote it specifically for me. I felt like I was looking into a mirror. Thank you for sharing your heart. The scriptures you shared struck me to the core. I am bookmarking them as we speak. Thank you for making a difference in my life. I thank God for you and your messages that inspire others daily!
I still struggle with this…………walking through a new part of learning to say no and not yes and not strive for other’s acceptance or attention everyday! This was a huge encouragement to read this and learn!
I loved this book!! I am forever trying to please people instead of God…. must work on that. I had this book and gave it to a friend….
My pleasing is different. I want everyone to believe me. I fight about a cause and injustice unti I am blue in the face. Then I want everyone to understand that my passion comes from a good place, like people should look at the passion and not the behavior. Then I go around trying to apologize for what has captured my heart and my spirit. I have finally come to a place in my life where if people don’t believe me or what I say I just leave it with God. He knows. I take comfort in the fact that He knows the truth.
Bottom line, for me, when I KNEW that God loved me I had a DUH moment and freedom swooped in and set me free from so many lies, including the people pleasing, manipulation, controlling old ways that I used to try and find what was missing. I still have old patterns to notice and remind myself that I no longer believe those lies. But KNOWING that He loves me has been mind blowing. I tried in hope to believe by faith for over 40 years. KNOWING something makes a HUGE difference. When I KNOW that He loves me it is easier for me to respond to Him as I make decisions, KNOWING that He said, “do this, yes or no”. Now that I KNOW He loves me I can love others well, because I KNOW His love.
I agree with Pam above me, posted at 1:27, where she said she became free from people pleasing when she knew that God loved her. I have to say that in my first marriage, I wanted so badly to be accepted into a family that was very “choosy” about who their son would marry, and I never made the cut. I kept trying with holidays, making cards, dinners, decorations, anything to let them see my worth, but it was all in vain. My attempts and marriage both died. When I went through my divorce and began studying the Bible (God was calling me back), I heard Him clearly that I was HIS. The weight came off. The initial reaction was amazement and thankfulness. Now, seven years later, I still recognize it, but I’ve asked God to show me when this starts happening and I stop all superficial attempts. I accept that people will not like me as I am, and I’m okay with that. I don’t like everything about a lot of people. As a believer, I accept those who are unlike me because we are all God’s children. And I truly believer that we are to accept our fallenness and imperfections. I think the root of people pleasing is a lack of trusting that God is still working in us. We think He should be done. But we will never be, this side of Heaven. So, we have to accept in ourselves our flaws, and recognize that He is working (PRESENT TENSE) and it’s okay. Realize and recognize HIS LOVE and acceptance of our imperfections through His Son, Christ Jesus, and love outwardly, without seeking anything in return. I, too, am in progress, and praying you through.
“Real love pursues authenticity rather than chasing acceptance.” This sentence in your posting today really struck a chord with me. I am a truth teller, I like raw authenticity. I am one person on this earth that doesn’t struggle with the “tough love” concept…and you certainly won’t get alot of acceptance when you have to practice the “tough love” approach with someone. I have learned over the years temperance. He continues to refine me and remind me that His Grace is sufficient for ME too! But when you are tempted to chase acceptance, please take a moment to remember in the end, acceptance into His Kingdom for His Glory is the goal and seek God out for the answer to the question or decision you are at!
Oh my! How I needed to hear this! I’ve been a people pleaser for as long as I can remember and I’m 36 years old. I’m making baby steps, but I’m determined to overcome. I used to do or say anything I could to make people happy, even if it meant me being extremely miserable! I’m at the point now where I am able to say no, but after a couple of days I begin to feel guilty about saying no. I am determined to beat this, prayerfully sooner than later.
I am learning right now to pray before I give my answer. As a young mother with small childrens I still desire to be part of everything but I need to remember that my family comes before everyone and everything else (besides God). Thank you for sharing this. I love that you give verses to back up what you are saying so we can read the scriptues ourselves on the topic.
thank you for sharing Lisa, its nice to know I am not alone. I have the people pleasing gene, and it has ruled me most of my life. its an almost daily, “Give it to God” issue. He has brought me a long ways though as I trust in Him!
This is such a great reminder and so encouraging to be reminded that its okay to say no and to stop pleasing others all the time. I find its a common struggle for women because we thrive in relationship and never want to disappoint. I am learning that pleasing others often negatively impacts my family and our time together. I pray and ask God daily to help me prioritize my time so that I glorify Him in all I do and say.
Unfortunately, I am not a people pleaser at all. I’ve been working hard on thinking of others before myself, but it’s really been a struggle. Thank God that He is patient and kind!
I struggle with this as well, I always feel like I’m letting people down if I say no, or that they may not involve me in other things if I say no. I was never popular in school and even though I’m in my 40’s now and I’ve been out of school for many years I guess all the insecurities are still there. It gets so hard sometimes now that I have kids, because I feel like I am letting them down now too when I have to say no to them. I am working on it, but I struggle with it every day, mostly with feeling guilty.
Yes, I have Always been a people pleaser. I have always been told I have a servants heart, but I struggle with saying no. I am better than I use to be, but still have a ways to go.
Wrote this from my phone, here’s the right blog… http://www.faithfamilyfashionfood.blogspot.com
Growing up, I was a huge people pleaser to the point of never giving my thoughts or opinions on anything. God has been working with me over the years… Although I don’t tend to be this way much anymore, I FEEL like I should be saying yes in my heart. It’s still a struggle, but by Gods grace I’m growing. Thank you for this post!
LOVE this post. I must confess that I am a recovering people pleaser. I, also, desperately wanted to be like. To be included. But after completing a 6 month christian mentorship, I broke free from that. Well, let’s be honest. I will always struggle with that perhaps but I am a work in progress in many things in this christian walk. You are such an inspiration to me and inspire me to want to help other women.
I rarely “make” breakfast in the morning. Breakfast usually consists of me tossing a cereal bar or pop tart into the car with a sippy cup of milk.
One morning, in the not too distant past, I didn’t remember to “make/toss” anything into the car. We were running late and there was no time for my trusty, yet yuckie, standby of the McD drive thru.
My four year old daughter quickly solved the dilemma by locating a baggie of weeks old Starburst candy tucked between the already gooey seats from a recent evening watching her brother’s basketball game.
“I could just eat some of this,” she suggested.
“Quick!” I insisted, “but only a few!”
As we pulled into car line at preschool I was mortified as I peeked once again into the rearview mirror to find once tiny and rosy cheeks filled to overflowing with the candy. She was sucking back the drool of pure sugar slime as I frantically dove into the glove box to retrieve some saved McD napkins.
“Spit it out, honey! Spit it all out!” I shouted. “Hurry, hurry!!” (before someone notices that I’ve singlehandedly derailed your entire future in this one “what was she thinking” imperfect mommy moment).
In the matter of mere seconds I had managed to perform the diving, twisting, cleanup acrobatics that would make a Cirque de Sole performer with an affinity for tidiness blush.
Phew! Crisis averted. No one would ever know that moments ago I had almost sent my dear daughter into a sugar coma.
“Good Morning!” beamed the teacher as she opened the car door to retrieve my darling, yet undernourished child.
“Good Morning!” my daughter echoed leaping from her car seat (that I’m not 100% confident is installed correctly).
“Look what I got for breakfast,” she exclaimed opening her tiny had to reveal nearly a bazillion pieces of Starburst wrapper paper that quickly took to the wind spreading colorfully across the pavement.
The teacher and I exchanged a glance. I read in her eyes what looked to be pity meshed with a smattering of disbelief as she closed the door.
I couldn’t get out of that parking lot fast enough. While part of me knew I should pull over the car and try to retrieve the colorful litter I maneuvered the cones and surrounding minivans with professional driving precision.
For weeks after “the incident” I prepared Julia Child-esque breakfasts complete with scrambled eggs and toast hoping that my daughter – my four year old daughter – would think to mention that, “she’s not normally so scattered. As a matter of fact just this morning I was enjoying a lovely free range quiche with fresh squeezed organic OJ when she brought over the latest Turtle magazine to help begin my early reading.”
Although the morning cooking was short lived I still catch a glimpse of one of those colorful wrapper papers tucked tauntingly under a bush at the preschool from time to time….
I know I have been “caught” a time or two as well. I couldn’t tell it as well as you just did and bring humor to others. Thanks for the reminder that we can look back on these moments with humor and know we have grown from our mistakes. If you ever write a book or blog, I’d surely buy or follow it! I need this kind of perspective in my life. Thanks for posting! You have a gift!
I’m beyond happy to see that I am not the only one who struggles with this dilemma. I shouldn’t feel guilty for saying no to spare my own sanity and the happiness of my family. And because I rarely say no I have led certain people to believe that I will drop everything and come running to fix their problems anytime they call. I am immediately writing down your suggestions and the verses you gave to back it all up! Thank you so much! Blessings♡ Robin
I remember my daughter-in-law told me once that not everyone would like me. I was devastated! That was my goal – for everyone to like me all the time! That was when I was very insecure, had super low self-esteem, and got my worth from people liking me for what I could do for them. Since then, I’ve learned some things. I’ve learned that I can’t make everyone happy no matter how hard I try, I’ve learned that God loves me even when I mess it up and that I need to find my worth in Him, and live to please Him all the time. That is the only thing that will give me the peace of mind that I am looking for. I wish I could say that I am now always secure and that my self-esteem is at a healthy level. That is not always the case, but I’ve come a long way! Only by the grace of God and spending time with Him!!
I’ve been a people-pleaser as long as I can remember. I’m a born peacekeeper, I don’t like conflict. I also like to fit in.
I struggle with the no word. Even when I’ve done well and said no to that person trying to sell me something on the phone, as soon as they ask again, or change the context of their questioning, I end up with them calling me later in hopes I’ve changed my mind. Even worse, I’m a consultant for a direct sales company and I’ve kept myself from doing well at it because I’m afraid of offending someone or hearing that disappointing “no”. I’ve gotten better, thanks to the help of my laid back husband, but I still have the struggle inside.
I have decided that since I now have a son, I have to learn the word better. I don’t want to take away anymore time from my family than I need to. I also don’t want to be dragging them around because I’ve overcommitted myself. I’ve seen what stress does to someone (I have examples from my past) and I don’t want to go down that same path. My new thing is when I can remember, I pray that God will take hold of my time. After all, who wants to be stressed when you can be blessed? 🙂
Your words are always such an encouragement to me! It took me many years to admit to myself that I am a “people pleaser”. My mother-in-law gave me a book on this subject matter many years ago. As she gave it to me she said I thought this might be helpful for you. I thanked her and when I got home I was like, “she doesn’t even know me, people pleaser, I’m not a people pleaser I can say no to people and I don’t care if they don’t like it.” Well just a few weeks ago that book came to mind and the light finally came on. In fact this causes me a great deal of stress to the point that I even get sick from it. Now that I finally admitted it to myself I am prayerfully letting Him change me. Thank you so much for your encouraging words! You are truly a blessing!
I am definitely trying to break my people pleasing habits. I LOVE doing for others, I feel like it’s just in my DNA but sometimes I do so much for others that I end up being stretched too thin leading me to become stressed and I take that stress out on others. The worst part is that I let the stress build and I think become I rock thrower and bring up ALLLLL I have done for everyone else with not even a thank you in return.
I am working on it though and learning the balance between helping others, leaving time for myself, & including God in all of it.
I grew up in a household with an alcoholic older sibling who was constantly in trouble with the law. In order to compensate for the embarrassment of having such a family member, I was always nice to people when I didn’t feel like it, did favors for people when I didn’t feel like it and basically hid feelings of inadequacy and hurt because I didn’t want anyone to not like me. I married a people pleaser who dealt with similar family issues. Early in our marriage I believe our faces were stuck in perpetual smiles. My husband has cracked his smile and is doing better at working out his people pleasing ways. I however still worry constantly about “did I do something to make them not like me?” after social functions. I have passed this on to my daughter. Our son is blissfully unaware of this people pleasing trait – so much so that we have had to discuss the possibility of his being switched at birth. He has this abnormal healthy view of other people and their control of their own feelings. Weird how that happened. This trait really does stress me and I pray constantly about it to my Lord and lift it up only for it to return. I understand it is a learned behavior – I am having lots of trouble unlearning it and how am I to be the example to my daughter ( who now has a daughter) if I can’t control my own behaviors. It is a circle that has to be broken.
Oh how difficult a struggle this is! I too am a People Pleaser. It has it’s benefits as in making me better at my work (Church Secretary), but I’m learning that even though I want to do many things, I must learn to say no to “every request” … and you’d be surprised at how many ways that can affect your life… right down to not eating everything on your plate at a restaurant because you know it is too much, but not wanting to offend the cook… so many little, little ways… I’ve not read your book, but ladies in my Church have done it as a study (on a night I’m already booked with something else oddly enough) 😉
GUILT is what I feel if I say no and if I say yes I feel guilt for taking time away from my family. Unglued sounds like a book I need to read bc I definitely come Unglued way too much and then I feel guilty…. thank you Lisa for the encouraging words and opening my eyes to this people pleasing dna that I too have. But I know everyone who struggles with people pleasing has a big heart. We care so much about others but we need to also love ourselves enough to seek God’s wisdom about weather we should say yes or no. 🙂
Favorite quote … “Thank you for asking me. My heart says yes, yes, yes-but the reality of my time says no.” Hoping my brain can remember it and USE it!
From the time I was very young I have been a perfectionist and wanting to be liked and loved by everyone. I have sacrificed my own happiness and well being while living that type of lifestyle. I am not completely “cured”…but I am learning to put myself first in certain ways and to have more balance in my life. Being a single mom as well I feel pulled to be the best at doing everything so I am not considered “having failed”….in my e4yse of course. But each day is a new day and each day we learn and grow. It is a step by step, day by day process 🙂
I am a people pleaser! But only through the last year (and some difficult times) have I learned that it is a battle that just cannot be fought. I wear myself out trying to please. So now, I seek only to do what the Lord would want and what I feel is right in my heart. It’s great to let go of the pressure.
I had never felt that I had to please anyone..even God..until I was married, in 2003.
(I was raised with the belief that God loved me, PERIOD.) My hubby was caught up in legalism. I learned quickly that I could never measure up…and pretty much gave up. We were divorced in March 3012. During the year we were separated my hubby went through a program called Grace Life. He learned how very much he was loved…regardless of what he did. AND he learned to love others the same way. We were remarried August 8,2012. This past year has been amazing.. It has been such a joy to watch my husband walk in peace now!
Oh my goodness! This article is God thumping me on the forehead! 🙂 I really need to learn the word no and stop trying to make everyone like me! Thanks for this encouragement. I haven’t read unglued yet, but I do plan on it being my next study!
Great article! I tend to be a people pleaser. I can’t stand for people to be angry with me. Really something I have had to work on. Learning I can’t control others actions and/or feelings. Growing and learning 🙂
I have just found your blog recently and I have to say I’m using to try and help myself. I am a huge people pleaser and usually and doing it to hear accolades and compliments. I have a very low opinion of myself and I need to change that so I’m trying to change the way I do and say everything. Thank you so much for this blog and all of the help you provide.
Relief! I am not the only one struggling with this. I was just having an emotional break down last night with my roommate as I stayed up until 12:30 preparing food for a youth retreat that I knew I didn’t have time for. I sill said yes as I had no idea how to say no. And who doesn’t want to look like super woman? So I will go through the day pretending like waking up at 4 was easy peasy and will go on the retreat when I know my heart is not in the right place. After reading this post, I am encouraged and excited to practice saying “no”. Not in a way that is hurtful to others, but in a way that is helpful to me. After all, my sanity and relationship with Jesus is important. Thank you, Lysa!
I am grappling with this as we speak (write). Everyone knows I will say yes if they ask me for help. Whether they purposely think to themselves, “I’ll call Jen, I know she’ll (fill in the blank).” I committed a yes to something last night that I should have said no to. It was a last minute request to babysit tonight for a family member. I am a single mom of a pre-schooler and a teen, I have a full time job and commitments. But, I allow guilt to creep in and asked myself, “How can you say no, she’s helped you before.” But it is different for a people pleaser, it’s one thing to reciprocate favors, but people pleasers (like myself) are a different breed. Someone helps us once and we will continue to guilt ourselves into helping or pitching in on more than enough occasions. And we don’t want them to be mad at us, do we!? I want to change and I will tell you, I have your book, Unglued. I have it in my stack of books to read. (I’ve read a few of your others and have loved them! I love your frankness (it that even a word?) I am circling it and circling it, why? Because I know once I read it, it will change me. And this people pleaser also fears change!
GUILT is what I feel if I say no and if I say yes I feel guilt for taking time away from my family. Unglued sounds like a book I need to read bc I definitely come Unglued way too much and then I feel guilty…. thank you Lisa for the encouraging words
and opening my eyes to this people pleasing dna that I too have. But I know everyone who struggles with people pleasing has a big heart. We care so much about others but we need to also love ourselves enough to seek God’s wisdom about weather we should say yes or no. 🙂
You have to be my long-lost twin separated at birth. Everything you post really parallels what I seem to be going through. If I can remind myself that God is the only one I need to please than I do just fine. It’s when I let others determine my worth that I fall short. Ultimately I just don’t want to screw up my totally awesome kids. 🙂
I struggle with being a people pleased. Always have. Have hard time telling anyone no.
Yes – I am a people pleaser and when I don’t do something “right” I worry that they are mad at me and if I don’t hear from them for a day or two I stress about it. I am working on it and getting better. Sort of doing what you do – letting people know that I need to check with my husband and make sure I or we can help. I am very people oriented and God is helping me to learn how to say yes when I need to and how to politely share that it’s not feasible for me or us at this time. I still struggle with hurting their feelings, but I am getting much better! Loved reading your blog – felt like you were talking bout me!
God created us for connection and relationship. Sometimes we think that means we have to perform to love others, or have them love us. I love the statement that our relationship with God should be a priority over pleasing others. I don’t want anyone not to like me. I’m likeable! But I have to get my security from God, not others. I used to come Unglued by stress and anxiety in trying to be what I thought everyone else was expecting. I now value true, authentic relationships that include honesty, disagreements, and transparency given and received in our common love for God and one another. A friend of mine did the study and posted on FB. Even her posts were convicting and intriguing. Thanks for sharing Gods work in your life as an encouragement to others. God bless you!
I have struggled and struggled with this, and now I am learning to think about what is most important. It is true that the ones we hurt with our yes are the ones we love and they end up receiving the no’s. I have been turning that around. No I can’t do this particular thing, because I committed to a loved one I would do this other thing instead. I am still saying yes, but to the right person. I have always struggled with putting my husband above my children also, and this plays right into it. If I say yes to the kids, I am saying no to my husband, so I turn it around except when I say yes to my husband I can say yes to the kids more. This has been my year of change and a lot of people are asking what happened to that yes girl, but not the important ones.
I cant begin to thank God for you. I love reading your blog and your pure honesty. I relate to you more often than not.The wisdom you share is unmeasurable. You are a true virtual sister in Christ. This post actually made me cry.I pray God will work with me on this issue and give me the courage to say no when It is too much and not to worry what others think. Again thank you for being such a blessing!
Your sister in Christ <3
My husband is a head high school football coach. I’ve had to learn it’s ok to say no. It’s also ok to not be available to everyone at any given moment. I’ve got to take care of me and my little family first.
I have been a people-pleaser all of my life, for the same reasons, I understand when you say you are a true people lover, I LOVE people so much, the good, the bad, the ugly. I feel like God gave me a heart to genuinely love people, with that I absolutely cannot stand to say no to others, in return it has caused so many strains on so many relationships especially the ones I love the most & are closest to me, I feel like they unintentionally get the leftovers & I am so tired of that painful, guilty feeling. I will say yes to everything & then burnt out for the things that are most important to me, them I end up feeling mad at myself, I realize I need personal boundaries, it’s just so hard to know what they are, I love the steps & tips you gave to help put things in order & how to think when saying no & the polite way of being honest. This is something I struggle with on a daily basis, I am getting ready to lead a bible study with some ladies that I work with & this one is the one I am going to pick to do with them, it is so nice to hear someone share the same thoughts & struggle I deal with silently every day. Thank you so much for being real about this very emotional topic of people-pleasing. I needed to read this today.
Hello, my name is Terri and I too want people to like me. I certainly fall into this trap. God has been showing me areas in my life where I allow the fear of man to control my thoughts and decisions. But he is working in my heart and life and growing me and teaching me to trust Him in all circumstances each day. Growth is hard – but bring it on, God! I am being stretched in this battle, but I love this journey of grace, gratefulness and joy that He has me on. Thanks for being transparent, Lysa. Proverbs 29:25, “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.” Great verse!
I struggle with people pleasing constantly. In fact, it caused a barrier between my husband and I. I always felt like he made me do this, this, and this… when honestly, I should have been the one to just say “no, I can’t today. I have too many other things right now.’ He may have been a little upset for the moment but it would have saved alot of unnecessary lingering hard feelings. I’m glad this book is on the market to help!
Yup, I also struggle with this, and have been hurt more times than I can count when I am in need. Case in point, when I was at work as an RN (I am now medically disabled) people who did not like 12 hour night shifts, would come and ask me to take them, and in turn they would do my day shifts. I would switch so that they could have the shifts off they needed every time, even if It meant I would be doing 7 nights in a row. But, when I needed a shift off, no one would ever want to help me 🙁 I have also had this happen with personal friends so now I basically stay to myself so I no longer get hurt! 🙁
I would love to be your friend! Asking for God’s help when choosing friends is a big help. You don’t need a bunch of intimate friends, a few godly women will do. They will enrich your life and you will enrich theirs. Please do not cut yourself off indefinitely by not trusting! God wants you to have fellowship with His other daughters! I love you!
It’s comforting to know there others out there “like me.” Everyone knows and says (including myself) that I am a people pleaser. It will emotionally and physically upset and unnerve me to think I have disappointed or upset someone. It’s a “thorn in my flesh” as Paul says, and as Paul prayed for it to be removed so have I. I have to ask The Lord to help me keep me grounded in this area. I belie it has it’s good and bad points. Bad points can be over committing or being more consumed with pleasing others than The Lord. The good points though are, wanting to help take care of others and having determination to do my very best to take care of others. I believe it’s all about keeping a balance and your points are right on target. Thank you!
It’s funny you wrote about this particular subject. This past summer we had a guest speaker at church one Wednesday night. He preached on this exact subject. The very next day I watched someone on tv teach about it and then not long ago it was the subject of my daily devotional. I believe God is trying to tell me something. Sometimes it’s your own family members that ask way too much. I have been working on my “sorry, I’m not able to at this time” response. I pray I will listen and obey God. Thanks for all you share!
Oops! Sorry, Lysa, for the misspelling of your name. 🙂
I have struggled with people pleasing every since I became a Christian. I grew up in a very unforgiving household, and I learned early on that it was just easier to do whatever I could to maintain the precarious balance of peace in the household, even when it meant stretching myself thin. This has spilled over into every area of my life and it is, at times difficult to consider myself worthy enough to say a firm no instead of volunteering for this and that. I probably don’t pray enough about this, but I am working on it. Guilt is a huge factor in my own stress for sure!
I wish I could say I was a recovering people pleaser or that I’ve gotten better, but alas, I’ve only recently discovered my people pleasing disease. 🙁
I would like to say that I am not a people pleaser, but I am. I struggle with wanting people to like me. I don’t always do things to make them happy, but l hide parts of myself that others may not like. This binds me, and I feel inauthentic.
I have always been a people-pleaser. I, too, wish I could use past tense and say that I’m all better. As I allow God to work in that area, I have seen progress. I am grateful for that. 🙂 I am also grateful for women like yourself, who are willing to show their human side and allow us to see that God can use us in our weaknesses and in our strengths. Thanks, Lysa, for sharing your heart.
People pleasing was/is my middle name. I know that is what has had me in a bind for years. With God Grace and strength, I am getting better. I could say if there was a “People Pleasers Anonymous” I could be the first to say, “My name is Deena and I am a people pleaser.”
My children are 17 1/2 to 22 1/2 and they all know my people pleasing buttons.
Lord help me to be a God Pleaser first.
At times I do struggle with this. I don’t have a problem telling people “no” but I do become ridiculously anxious about fitting in, being liked, saying the wrong thing. Sometimes I do not feel holy enough, domestic enough, thin enough, funny enough, quiet spirited enough (I’m loud sometimes :)….but I’m learning to tell myself if it’s the Holy Spirit convicting me -listen! If it’s the devil talking- pray to get out of that trap.
I actually love being around people who share their flaws and are authentic. I feel right at home then =) It’s one of the reasons I love our church! Honesty, Love and Accountability….
Thank you for your ministry! I would love to have this bundle!
I am better about thinking and praying before answering yes or no. I do struggle with feeling not everyone will like me. Trying to fit in with some family makes this really hard.
as a mom of 5 young boys, i tend to want to please everyone…..all the time! I really want to please myself. After parent teacher conferences i recently learned our 2nd son, age 6, has picked up on my perfectionism. I think it is time i learned to say no and to let some things go before it rubs off on the next 3 boys. Saying no is so hard but should be the easiest two letter word to say.
I have never been a people pleaser, but I do have a difficult time saying no because I don’t ever want to pass up an opportunity God may be giving me.
I spent my whole life pleasing others and performing in order to receive love and attention. It was about 3 years ago when it started to change for me. I needed to realize who I am in Christ and His love for me. I don’t need to perform in order for Him to love me. He just loves me!! That made it easier for me to say no and to walk away from unhealthy relationships and situations. When I was pleasing others, I was the one paying the price, not them. I suffered the consequences, not them. I no longer wish to live that way. I struggle with this every single day of my life, but I know that I have God’s strength and His love and that is all I need. I guess I figure….I’ve lived 45 years without these people liking me….I can live another 45. But I can’t live another moment without God!
`I am definitely a people pleaser. I try to please everyone and not make anyone upset. If someone asked me to do something I would do it and myself and family was put aside. Someone very special once told me that I can say no and it doesn’t require an explanation. Sometimes no could be just because you needed time for yourself. I would cancel things that could be just to please someone else and it has been hard but getting easier to say no. My health has suffered and now I have to say no because I’m not always well enough to do things sometimes but still struggle with this very often.
I struggle with saying “no”. I’d rather stress myself out and be stretched thin than to say no. I run an embroidery business out of home and my biggest struggle is to turn away business. The worst times are around Christmas when I’m working around the clock to complete orders, I’ve already published my cutoff dates and people come to me begging for a shirt for their child or a gift for a teacher. I accept with a fake smile knowing that it’ll take more time away from my children. I vow to be better this year about telling those folks that I just can’t commit after I’ve cutoff orders. It’s not fair to me, my family or others!
I struggle with “people pleasing” A LOT! Saying yes will sometimes come at a cost, and the temporary recognition and pleasure it gives are not lasting. It’s not meant to. I have my identity in Christ. He loves me no matter what. The value He has for me is eternal.
I am a people pleaser for sure. Like you, Lysa, I am relying on God to help me be authentic and live only to please Him. Thank you for sharing your struggles and heart so that we can all grow in the Lord a little more. I recently got to see you at a Women of Faith conference in Peoria, IL. It was such a blessing to me to get to go. I truly want my life to be a blessing for others and not based on the selfish ambition to be well-liked by others.
I wish I could say that this is something I’ve never had to deal with, but that’s just not true. I’ve always had a hard time saying no. This last year, tho, God blessed out family with another baby girl born only 13 months after our last baby girl. 🙂 needless to say, I’ve had to learn to just say no simply because often I’m just not able to do anymore than take care of these babies!
I find myself doing this with my husband. I am so eager to please him out of fear of him leaving me that I have really got myself overly stressed right now being a mother to two children and taking 13 hours online and helping take care of my nephew. My husband wants me to go to school full time and graduate college but my heart just isn’t in it because it takes away from my time with my children and frankly stresses me out. So I am trying to pray about it and hopefully be in tune with what God wants for me and my family!
Wow! This devotional was SO timely for me. As a fledgling leader of a small home group and small women’s group, as well as the type of personality that naturally is drawn to both love AND please others, I am finding myself in a position where the need for a “no” comes up more and more. But, even when both my gut AND my spirit (or rather, HIS Spirit) are telling me “no”, or at the very least, “not now”, I find myself struggling to actually come out and say those things, though, because of my desire to love and please others and not hurt their feelings. But, what I am learning is that I must count the cost of my “yes”. The cost of my “no” is something I have always been aware of: hurting/disappointing others’ feelings. But, I had never considered the cost of my “yesses”…not only can that sometimes include stress, lack of family time or rest, but sometimes the yesses are even more costly than that. I am learning to sit and WAIT until I know not only what my heart really longs for, but how the Holy Spirit may be leading, all while I count the possible cost of my “yes” before I finally make the decision. Still, the “no’s” aren’t easy.
Someone once asked me, “What good thing are you going to say no to? Because if it wasn’t a good thing, it would be easy to say no.” So true. So many good things… I loved your quote about your heart saying ‘yes,’ but the reality of your time saying ‘no.’ This communicates to the person that their request is a ‘good thing’ and worthy of your consideration.
Never heard it that way. That will be a good reminder for me.
I think this will always be a struggle to see where my heart is, pleasing man or god? My husband and I unfortunently were pleasing man without even realizing it. We just were just going with the routine. Well that being said we got burnt out..had to pull out of kids ministry, & him being apart leadership and a community group leader. We don’t even know when it happened. We have a heart for people. Hurting people. With a change of leadership we somehow lost that. Justin realized that he wants to please his peers. So he became a yes man without ever realizing it…
People pleasing has been like a sickness with me since I was a small child. My dad, now deceased, was an alcoholic, and my mom is a classic co-dependent who loved her children dearly, but who had so much on her plate dealing with her alcoholic husband that she depended on me, her oldest child, to be her confidante. I’ve spent my life trying to be all things to all people, in a struggle to be loved and accepted.
I read something that gave me a reason to consider why I felt like I had to earn the love and acceptance of everyone. It said something like this:
If I see myself differently than my Heavenly Father sees me, which one of us is wrong?
I’ve been working on seeing myself through my Father’s eyes since then. I’m not always successful, but I’m still working on it daily.
People pleasing is definitely a struggle for me!! I’ve actually been working through admitting a pattern of co-dependency that is not Christ like, and doesn’t do ANYONE any good! Especially me, and especially my relationship with God. I like the sounds of this book 🙂
I can SO relate to this. People pleasing and having people like me are very important. However, I have come to grips with saying no more often. It helps when you realize that when you say yes to something you are saying no to something else. What are you giving up by saying yes, and is that worth the cost? Also here is a Mother Teresa quote I posted on my Facebook site, Abundantly Blessed, the other day, and it reassured me I had made the right decision by saying no to a Dig Pink volleyball game (which would have been fun and was for a good cause) to stay home with my 6 year old the other night.
“I think the world today is upside down. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for greater developments, and greater riches and so on. There is much suffering because there is so very little love in homes and in family life. We have no time for our children, we have not time for each other; there is no time to enjoy each other. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.” Mother Teresa
Go in Peace, glorifying the world with you life. Peace has value. Realize the value and strive for it and “no” comes easier.
Executive coach and author, Daniel Harkavy, says that we have to “say no to the good so we can say yes to the great”. Such an important lesson. We all have limited time and God is pleased when we live in a place that uses the best of the gifts and skills that He gave us.
I can relate to this and am still dealing with it. I think it stems from self esteem issues and wanting to not disappoint people.
I love how Lysa always follows each thought or strategy with scripture. I need to work on pausing before I give an answer. I often jump in and say yes before considering why (what my motives are) for saying yes and what it will cost me to say no too (too much time away from other duties or relationships?) Thank you Lysa for bringing this into my awareness 🙂
I definitely struggle with “people pleasing”, but through Celebrate Recovery (a 12 Step Christ Centered Recovery Group) I have learned that it is ok to say No. That’s means I’m over the people pleasing impulses, right? WRONG! I still struggle with this, but as I lean on God more I find that he gives me the confidence to say No when I need to and reassures me to say yes when I need to without all the guilt. I am a single mother of two and I have two roles to fill, the mother and the father. The guilt I feel when I don’t please my children can really get to me, and some days I let it, until my friends, that God has placed in my life, remind me who/what I need to be focusing on. I hate making my children feel sad or angry, but sometimes saying NO to them is important for their growth and maturity.
This describes me. I am a people pleasure. Deal with this on a daily basis. Have had to say no lately and have worried about the person I said no to. I need to learn to let go and think of myself.
thank you for your words. this helps so much
Lysa, I cant thank you enough for the words you give daily. Since I have found you I have become a better woman. God is amazing and he is doing wonderful things with you. Thank you for all you do and please keep doing it!!
I have struggled with people pleasing and wanting to be liked all my life. At times it consumes me, I become obsessed and as a result the people I love the most suffer. For much of my life the trait of loving and caring has been more of a curse than a blessing. Just a few weeks ago I was discussing this in my women’s bible study class (we are currently reading “What Happens When Women Walk in Faith” and we were discussing the meaning of our names) how I follow God and love like a child. My friends reassured me that this can be a blessing and it is one of the positive traits they see in me. However, it is reading this blog today that I feel empowered that this is a strength if I use use these tips to balance my life. Thank you, Lysa for the inspiration!
Pray is a great thing to do before saying yes or no to people. Depends on the situation and how it will effect everyone involved will determine my yes or no answer. I would rather say No then say Yes and mess things up or not complete what I promised I would do.
God’s will is his way.
I would love for this to be a past learned lesson for me unfortunately it is a learning now lesson. Do to some recent decision by my church a ministry was temporarily shut down. While I had no part in it and was not even in the decision process I lost a few friends. Some friends blamed other friends for the catastrophe. I also wish that fitting in with them was the only chapter in this lesson. Sadly it is not. With a completely different set of people one friend decided it was in my best interest to defriend me so I would have a whole group of other friends. I pretty much traded one true friend for a few fake friends without my approval. I was trying to people please all of these who were breaking off our friendships just to keep our friendships. It then hit me (like a ton of bricks) that I can never do enough to make them my friends or keep them as my friends. That was and is a hard lesson for this people pleaser to accept and deal with everyday. I have to wake up and say to myself the word no is acceptable. I will let people down and other people will have to pick up some “slack”.
I am a total people pleaser. I want people to like me, no matter what. I don’t like conflict for this reason. I’m trying to work on this area of my life by praying constantly about my attitude and what I want people to think of me. Saying ‘no’ isn’t as much of an issue for me anymore, but I am scared of disappointing people.
Your blog today struck a chord deep inside. I have been growing in this area….but have so so far to go. I have been praying for a balance, but God doesn’t want a balance from me, does He. He wants all of me…and reading this brought the stuff I was holding back to light. Thank you for sharing…looking forward to picking up your books and letting the potter mold me more. So so thankful that He has started a good work in me and is faithful to complete it.
Yeah, I need to keep Him and His Word in the forfront of my mind so I can make the choice to walk with Him and in all He calls me to and not in my own strength.
I don’t think I’m a people pleaser, have no problem saying no. But I struggle with getting involved with new things for the fear of not being liked, especially when it comes to things that involve other women. I end up comparing myself to others and tell myself that I just won’t fit in and just give up trying. I’ve become very good at telling myself that I’m not “like” them and don’t bother getting involved.
I have a very long way to go in this area . All I know is that fear has a grip on me making me indecisive most of the time. But often times I would say yes because I want to please people. At the moment I have tough issues to be resolved: my relationship with my twin daughters & my “becoming cold” relationship with my husband. I need your prayers & probably a mentor/counselor. Anyway, I just want to let you know Lisa, that I have been blessed by every writing I read from you. You’re such a blessing & Renee S. too & all P31 writers! More blessings & to Him be the glory!
Yes, I have a problem saying No to people, especially when I care about them. I usually look at it like it is a service I am doing them and part of ministry if I am doing things for other people even when I do not have the time. Unfortunately, I am a nursing student, so it has affected my school performance. Until this semester, I was ok, but now I have had to lay down my ministry at our church (children’s ministry) until I am done with school. This was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. Saying that it is too much and laying down my responsibility for someone else to pick up. It has gone well, but it has been tough to keep my hands out of the cookie jar so to speak. Just realizing that I cannot do it all and be successful was my first step. I am now trying to take that into all the aspects of my life to ask for help when I need it, and take it when it is offered and needed. This is tough when pride gets in the way. But God is faithful and He will see me through to the end.
This speaks directly to my heart. I hate disappointing people and I hate saying no. But I am miserable (& so are those I love close to me) when I say yes to the wrong things. I am learning to pause before I say yes, and to give my rejection to the One Who faced the ultimate rejection. But it still isn’t easy, it is a day by day process, sometimes moment by moment. But I have discovered a new peace that comes with saying no at the right time. It is amazing! Thanks for this today!❤️
This has been a major problem all of my life. By far, the best book I have found to be of help is “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. They teach basic principles that help you be a God pleaser and not a people pleaser. One of their main points is that if you keep giving pieces of yourself away when it is not His will, you will definitely not have enough left to fully obey His will for your life. Good things can be destructive when they take the place of God’s best for you. Above all else, I want to please Christ!
The opening you used reminds me of myself. I am terrible at saying no, even when I really don’t want to do something. I feel guilty when I actually tell someone no. I tend to take on too much and end up not performing at my best because I am already stretched.
I have become better about my “people-pleasing” since my son was born two years ago. It is easier to say ‘no’ to some things when you have to put someone else first. (At least it is easier for me anyway). I also noticed that people, including church, ask for my time less now than before. This makes it much easier, because it has always been tough to say ‘no’ to helping in my church.
I plan to use your methods of breaking this habit! Thank you for the insight and for the suggestions!
I can do relate. I like to genuinely help others and tend ro findmyself adding toooooooo many things to my plate. Then I become overstressed and ugly bc I choose to not to say no to something. When I say yes to something it means no to sonething else and sometimes that has been the most important things… I’m ot nearly as bad as I used to be but there are definately still season where I carch myself begining to say yes too much…. then time to re-evaluate
I can relate in so many ways! As a child of a broken home, alcoholic parents, and the oldest child at home; a huge weight of responsibility landed on my shoulders. I was always a quiet person with the feelings of embarrassment, loneliness, and worthlessness swirling inside me. I really struggled with low self confidence and internalized it when someone was angry with me or even ‘disciplined’ me. Thankfully the love of God was shone to me so many times by the miracles in my life and the people that God placed in my life for that season.
As I got older I wanted to be that person that people could always count on and NEVER let anyone down. That was not an option because I had felt disappointment too many times in my life. I could not be that person!
In my married life I realized that every time I said yes (when I really wanted to say no) I would start to feel anxiety, bitterness, and anger. I knew that as a Christian this was not of God and I really needed to evaluate my priorities.
As a pastor’s wife now wow can that be a challenge to juggle the many, many aspects of not only my life with my husband and children but also the lives/events/parties of my church family.
We all have to balance not being selfish and thinking about others, but also saying no sometimes and believing that God is a big God who can take care of ALL is beloved children.
So I would say really reflect and ask yourself why do I have this need to be a people pleaser? I have to do it all the time!!! God Bless!!
I loved this post. I often have to ask myself, am I seeking to please Christ or people. I think it so easy to get caught up in trying to please people, especially those closet to us, that we forget our main focus should be on Christ.
I think my mom raised me to go against the grain. I appreciate her teaching me that the only thing that really mattered and determined my worth was God and my relationship with HIm. I am so blessed to have had that instilled in me from the beginning. I think however, that it led me to become legalistic towards myself.
I struggle not so much with pleasing others, but more so with pleasing myself and my ego. This too is a very negative cycle to get into because I am obviously not perfect and when I expect myself to be, I ALWAYS fall short. I am not leaving room for God’s grace when I don’t give myself some grace. When I get a sincere compliment, it’s hard for me to accept it and take it for what it is. I question it, not because I think the person is not honest, but more along the lines of how does that person think I did well, when I clearly messed up on this or that? When things aren’t going right, I ask where did I go wrong? I know that is not the right response. I feel like what I do, what I work so hard for is never enough. Because I am so critical of myself, I feel like there’s nothing I can do to please God. And in a sense, I am right, but I am going about it the wrong way! I can’t please God if I am going after my own agenda. I have to remind myself that there is grace and mercy when I ABIDE in HIm, and that is truly the only place from where I can accomplish anything!
I emphasize ABIDE, because that doesn’t mean just stopping by for a daily dose or to ask for help when I need something. It means to trust and rest in Him and to rely on His strength and wisdom in all that I do, and also to receive from HIm the blessings He has for me when I am faithful and dependent on Him. I cannot give my life to Christ and still hang on to it expecting HIm to work in and through me when I haven’t really surrendered completely. I have to remember what Jesus said:
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5
I was born a people-pleaser and it is something I still struggle with today. I am prone to worry that someone will not like me or will stop liking me because of what I do or say. Many experiences of falling apart when troubles come has taught me what it means to truly surrender. I was crying out to God one evening and told Him I would give Him everything – my husband, my children, my home, my possessions, my finances, everything. But I needed to know He was with me. I just wanted to feel His presence. I was given supernatural peace at that moment. My troubles weren’t gone, but I knew He was with me. And when the next trouble hit, even though I felt completely alone and couldn’t ‘feel’ His presence, I knew He was still with me and that I had His promises to hold onto. Isaiah 41:13-14 is now my ‘life’ verse, because I can take no greater comfort than the fact that the Creator of the universe will reach down from His throne to hold my hand and help me because He loves me that much. (Yes, that verse came from your Unglued devotional!) .
I, too, always want people to like me and really struggle when I feel like someone doesn’t! Lately I just keep reminding myself – “God loves you! He chose you! He loves you the way you are – period.” All of my choices and actions should please him and everything else should be secondary to that. Still, it is so much easier to tell myself that than to actually live it!
I am a born people pleaser, as well. My desperate search for approval has led me down some dark roads in the recent past. A bad job situation, feeling a growing discouragement in my marriage brought me to seek that approval in the wrong places. But praise God his mercies are new each morning — and his love and forgiveness has overflowed through my friends and my husband — and relationships are renewed. This people-pleasing girl also has a long way to go. But through God’s grace I trust He will help me have confidence in his view of me, not my own or of others’.
I grew up having the same issue of not being able to tell people “no” until I told too many people “yes” and I started to disappoint. That’s when I realized I had a problem. I started to look at others and how they could tell people “No” without feeling any kind of guilt and realized that it’s ok to say “no” once in a while. One of my spiritual gifts is “showing mercy” so automatically my first reaction is wanting to comfort and make someone happy. I was created to be a “people pleaser” but at the same time I have to remember saying yes to everything isn’t always the best choice. While making others happy I could be putting too much on myself, causing stresses that can build up and bog me down which I have definitely experienced in the past. Although, just like you, I still struggle with this issue.. I try my best to pause before I give an answer and let them know I need to check my schedule first or with my family first to see what I have going on.. (and that this answer is ok.. :). I’ve gotten better but I’m still a work in progress.. 🙂 I know through prayer, practice and God’s help I will soon be able to handle this issue without putting forth so much effort. 🙂
I am in a constant process of learning to strike a healthy balance between giving my time & energy to others, but not overextending myself in unhealthy ways. One potential problem that I am constantly keeping an eye on is making sure that my idea of healthy commitments doesn’t trap me in comfortable routine. I still want to love & serve people outside of my “comfort zone” & stretch myself, but in ways that grow me, not deplete my resources.
I am so a people pleaser! I don’t think I realized how much until I read your post. I need to remember to be a God pleaser instead. Thanks for the encouragement! =)
I am the kind of person whom I always follow what others want me to do without even considering the consequences because I tend to mold to whoever I am around. I’m a people-pleaser and I will admit that. I don’t like for someone to be upset with me so I do whatever it takes to make them happy, plus I love company whether its bad or good…. I’m learning to overcome this little by little but it’s going to take time
I resigned myself to not pleasing everyone or not being liked by everyone, years ago. We have to learn to be true to God’s word, His calling and be morally upright in this dark world and yes, people will hate. But I have to show my children and future grandchildren, the correct way to act and do the right thing always. People will hate and be jealous, but GOD will be glorified by my actions if I put my trust in HIM and not of things/people of this world.
Bless you all!!
I also am a recovering people pleaser. I have a 16 year old son and 12 year old daughter. I have been very fortunate to be a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes there is a tendency for people to think that i have a large amount of “free” time. There is one very specific boundary I have set around my time. Except for a VERY rare occasion, everything from getting my nails done (a handful of times a year) to ministry opportunities to shopping that doesn’t require a family member’s presence is done during the hours my kids are at school. Having established this boundary, I find it much easier to say no to things outside of that time. My kids are older and often have their own weekend and evening activities. Some might find it silly for me to continue this commitment I have made. You know what, though, my husband is still home in the evenings. The kids’ schedules are inconsistent. I want to finish strong and remain available to them until they are on their own. I have plenty of hours in the day to pursue other interests and opportunities.
I am the kind of person whom I always follow what others want me to do without even considering the consequences because I tend to mold to whoever I am around. I’m a people-pleaser and I will admit that. I don’t like for someone to be upset with me so I do whatever it takes to make them happy, plus I love company whether its bad or good…. I’m learning to overcome this little by little but it’s going to take time. I should make The Lord #1 in my life and then all the other stuff will follow me.
After a heartbreaking experience with my church, I’ve had to repeat this often: What God knows of me is more important than what God thinks of me.
I would put myself in the “people pleaser” group. I don’t like disappointing people and I absolutely hate having people mad at me. It makes me feel like I have, in some way, let them down, whether that’s actually the case or not. I have learned and I am still learning that not everyone is going to be happy with me all the time and not everyone is going to like me. That’s just the way life is. I’m learning (finally!) who I am and if I’m truly going to be me, I can’t be a people pleaser too.
I too, want to make others happy sometimes sacrificing my own happiness to please them. My sister told me last week that not everyone is going to see the beautiful, smart, funny, caring person that you are and what you have to offer. That is okay. Because whether you say “yes” or “no”, the right people will see you for who you really are. Be genuine.
Oh my, where can I begin! I hate telling anybody no and way too often spread myself way too thin to be able to do anything really well and then end up teetering on the edge of an emotional breakdown. My family feels the brunt of those breakdowns and it is usually something small that sets them off. Thank you so much for sharing and for giving hope to those of us who are working at it every day!
I’m just starting to read the blogs and Proverbs 31 ministry stuff and I’m very intrigued and interested. I found this blog about people pleasing to be exceptionally well written and applicable to me. I would like to win the Unglued copy. I actually enjoyed reading other people’s comments, especially the favorite quote about my heart saying yes but my time says no. Looking forward to more of Lysa TerKeurst.
yes, I fall into this trap, I wish i didn’t. I’m insecure and want to be liked. I also don’t like conflict and wish I had a stronger backbone. I appreciate what you had to say, others too, knowing I’m not alone in this struggle. God’s blessings on you!!
GOD is so timely. You today and Jesus CHolyHialling is on this. Holy Spirit is talking!!! My struggle now is to ne relieved to say no cuz He said no, yet good Christians still aren’t happy I obeyed. Back to the drawing board,if God is happy with me, that is all that matters.
Saying no to your mama was hard, but when I said God said No, she said. Ok;) hmmm..i love you all
People pleasing is always something I’ve struggled with. Even came across a book with a similar title when helping my best friend go through some of her things. I asked if it was good and she said “Quite. I even though of you while I read it.” Ouch! I knew I had/have a problem with people pleasing, but it really has slapped me upside the head the past few months. With the Lord’s help this will change and be a testimony to my daughters and others around me who struggle with the same thing. If I could only be concerned with what my Lord thinks more than others, man, I’d have it made!!!
I still have a hard time saying no, I do want to make everyone happy and I don’t want to disappoint anyone. I need to learn to let go and let God. And I need to pray about questions be posed to me to before answering.
Thank you Lysa, I learned quite some time ago that I was being a people pleaser. Through many hard nos and yeses and I still struggle as do you, I am learning not to be a people pleaser. I love the Scripture you quoted from Galatians as that is the exact one my Biblical counselor picked out for me to live by! I had a huge issue with seeking approval of man. ~ Judy
I am a stay at home mom of four year old twin boys. I find that people think I have all the time in the world do to things. I don’t ever want to disappoint or to have people think I am unreliable. I struggle with saying yes too much. I am really trying to work on saying I need to talk to my husband and pray about this before I commit. Thanks for the blog today, I needed to read the verses today!!
People-pleasing has pretty much been a life long struggle for me. Sometimes it feels like I may never overcome it either. I know that with God anything is possible and that’s what I tell myself every day (whether it’s the strength to say no or the strength to just get through the day with my crazy kiddos). As I have gotten older I’ve realized that I won’t be able to please everyone all of the time. No matter how much I say yes or even try to be as kind as humanly possible, I will either wear myself out or, like you said, disappoint my family because I’ve taken time away from them. I know that when it comes down to it, I really only need to please God; and even that won’t happen all the time because I am a sinner. But I thank God every day for His grace!
I’ve been truly inspired by your devotionals even though I’m seventeen. 😉
Over the months of August and September this year, I struggled with loneliness and being alienated by a my closest friends, because I called out my sister in Christ for not following Biblical standards of purity. Sadly, I believe I’m a friend pleaser, because people pleasing goes against my personality. I’ve learned that there are the “friends” you can pour three years of love and sacrifice into the broken relationship and not get anything back no matter how much you love like Jesus…
I know to be a friend like Jesus requires love and forgiveness, but to be honest, my friends have hurt me too many times. And I never tell them it’s wrong. My mom tells me I need to get a back bone with my friends. I just say to them “it’s okay.” Or “It’s totally fine.” Deep down inside, I know this behavior has me caused to have a really hard time share my true feelings to my friends and causes me to feel ashamed when I do share my heart to them. Now, my issues may be on the extreme version of what women feel with their friends, because I’m in highschool. 😉
Thank you, again!
I recently got a promotion at work, and I feel like if I say “no” to things that take me away from home at night and on the weekends, that my company will think I can’t handle the job; even though the night and weekend functions are supposed to be optional. It’s a struggle that I will need to pray about into the foreseeable future.
I really want people to like me but I’m learning I need to check my motives. Is saying yes going to please this person enough to like me or is pleasing this person going to bless them? I want to please the Lord before others and so it starts with a heart check for me.
It is a real “Ah-Ha!” moment to realize that saying yes now to make someone happy or to like me more isn’t going to keep them happy or liking me in the long run. I know that when I say yes to something that is only going to take time from something else I’m not going to do my best and others are still going to be unhappy with me. Hmmm. I love this book. Each time I read it something else speaks loudly to me.
After 46 years, I am finally breaking free from trying to please a family that has many people in it that think they are so much more spiritual that others. They don’t consider themselves “a work in progress”. If I don’t think, act, and live like they think I should, I am threatened with the arsenal of threats of marital woes, curses to my kids, prophesies and “God-told-me’s”. It’s so much harder to break free from people like this. If they weren’t “Christians”, at least I could say they don’t know any better. “Unglued” has helped me immensely! I think there needs to be more talk about spiritual abuse out there. Anyone else out there that grew up that way??
For me growing up, I always felt like I was not good enough. I am the oldest of three and grew up in a one parent household. It always seemed like my younger siblings were treated better than myself. So I have always been trying to seek the approval of others. I want others to be proud of me. I do not want to be the center of attention and I try to always put my children and husband first but sometimes I do feel like my spouse and others should be proud of me. When I found the Lord, I changed to where I was not seeking the approval as much from others. I try to focus more on pleasing God because His approval is all I need. I do still struggle with trying to win the approval of others but I am trying to focus on how God views me and how I can win His approval. I am learning that I can not please everyone and that God loves me for being a child of His!
I need to get back to being the “old” me. I used to say “no” to lots of things. I’ve become complacent and a people pleaser. It hasn’t helped my Interior Design business any either. I also need to get back into my Bible and reading. I need a great devotion to work on
I am 45 years old and I can not really remember ever putting my emotional or physical needs before anyone else until I was recently put out of work permanently due to complications from fibromyalgia. I have always felt that in order to feel loved/wanted, I had to make everyone happy and do everything for them so that I would feel loved and not spend my life alone. Now that I am trying to get disability due to health, it has made things so hard financially for us, so I always say yes and always do everything for my family and with my family so that I will keep them and their love and not feel like such a failure to my family. I know it causes me physical and emotional pain by always saying yes, but I truly don’t know how to stop.
As a pastor’s wife, in the past I’ve felt that I have to please everyone all the time!!! That got so exhausting and to the point of driving me crazy. I’ve since learned that I’m not going to please everyone, there’s no way, so I’m going to be myself and focus on pleasing God rather than others!
I always have a hard time saying no to things I should because I feel like the person who’s coming to me asking me to do something thinks they have found the perfect person to do the job they’re needing someone for and I feel like I’ll let them down by saying no, almost like there’s no one else but me who could do what they’re asking for. What has happened is sometimes I’ll follow through and do whatever is asked or I go back to them down the road and take myself out of what they’ve asked me to do. Some are understanding and are okay with this, but I’m sure others change their opinion of me when my yes becomes a no. I do want to be known as a woman whose yes means yes and no means no, so I’m careful when I give out a yes now. I only give a yes to things I know will not cause me or my family stress and only after I discuss the opportunity with my husband.
Disease to please! Eye opener
I, as well as a lot of people, have this horrible (well sometimes horrible) “people-pleasing” gene. I tend to get so wrapped up in trying to help people, doing things for other people, (including family), that I tend to overbook myself and forget that I even exist! I get so wrapped up that it’s hard to remember where my priorities need to lie. Lately, I have been taking time to think before responding, and I’ve caught myself even telling someone “no, now isn’t a good time”. WOW!
I struggle with the wanting people to like me thing as well…
I was really bad with being a “people-pleaser” when it came to my kids’ dad. I would bend over backwards to make sure he was happy…and all along, it wasn’t what God had in mind for me. I remember the night I told my ex that I wasn’t his stepping stone anymore and that I wasn’t going to be his martyr anymore. (it was a phrase my aunt had said to me) And once those words were released from my mouth, I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders… I knew that I had been a doormat for far too long.
Too often, I forget to think about myself…and more often than that I praise God for having something better in store for me, for helping me survive all of my darkest battles, for helping me overcome, for He loves me! and through Him, I can do anything! (I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. Philippeans 4:13)
I often so yes too much as to please others as well. But I also find myself upset with people who say no. I think this is because I expect them to say yes to me since I always say yes to them! This is a SUPER eye opening blog for me! Thank you so much @LysaTerKeurst
Thank you so much for your post today!! I am 43 and have been struggling with this for a loooong time! As a believer, I always felt guilty if I said no. Someone shared with me the art of saying “Not right now” instead of “No” and that made it a little easier for me. Normally, when I would say “Yes” and really wanted to say “No”, I would not have the right heart attitude as I was fulfilling that “Yes”. When trying to put into practice what I had learned to say instead of “No”, I saw something AMAZING happen. I had been asked to do a particular job at the church that I didn’t really want to do and didn’t really have time to do. I told the person that asked me that “It doesn’t really work for my schedule right now”. She went on to ask the next person. Later that evening the person that had been asked after me came to me (not knowing I had already been asked) and said, “Can you believe it? I am so excited!! I GET TO DO this for the church!! I am so blessed to be a part!” SERIOUSLY??? A HUGE AHA MOMENT FOR ME!!! I would have caused her to miss out on that blessing if I had said “Yes” when I knew I really couldn’t and didn’t need to add it to my plate. What a wake up call! I never want to steal someone else’s blessing, so from now on, I really think and pray before saying “Yes”. Thank you, Lysa, for being so real! I have to constantly pray about this disease to please and your post came at just the right moment!
Just begining to dive into not being a people pleaser. It is rough when it has been my nature to please others even at the expense of displeasing myself. But thank God for mercy as well as resources like yours. Thank you Lysa for being transparent and sharing what God has shared with you.
I have always been a people pleaser & have appreciated being made aware of that & trying to make changes. Most of all . . . I want to change so I can guide my daughter through this. She is showing signs of friend pleasing & I would like her to learn to be true to herself also.
Oh my goodness! The timeliness of this post is incredible. I’m so in the middle of a month long, family disappointing, people pleasing extravaganza! I just want to stop and clean my house and bless my family, but the commitments I’ve made keep me running until Tuesday of next week. I’m so completely stressed and I’m really begging my family to hang in there! Thank you for writing this. I am with you and will agree with you in prayer that we both need to put these steps into action. Bless you for sharing!
I’ve been struggling with people pleasing my whole life. I hate how much other people’s opinions actually really bother me, but I can’t seem to break free from that!
I so Identify with MOST ALL OF YOUR POSTINGS! I have the book UNGLUED but have yet to finish it. I am usually so busy working in our self-employed Insurance Business or tending to my family and/or volunteering my time to CR or Church or helping a friend move because I have a Hard Time Saying “NO”….It’s like someone told me when I was very little that I needed to do all of these things to “feel worthy” and “God Likes when we do things for others”. I know there is a balance but sometimes I feel alone so I’m afraid if I don’t Say YES then people won’t like me….WHAT AM I SAYING…LOL… I am revealing these things that I don’t normally say…Maybe because I feel I can be transparent with you. Really, I am learning that I’m OK because God loves me just the way. So I have to remind myself of this fact now and again. Thanks Lysa, for your stories of honesty and words of encouragement to help get us out of the muck and mire. God Bless you tremendously!
Growing up (still growing!) this was very hard to deal with. Over the years, it has become easier for me to deal with the fact that I can’t make everyone happy or do what they ask of me – esp. as my family has grown. However, in this new stage of life, I realize that I just need to a) guard my calendar and family time and b) seek the guidance of God and my DH to see where we can add or take things away. Then, to just be fine with it. 🙂 Worrying certainly doesn’t add anything other than high blood pressure, gray hair,headaches and an upset family.
Oh Lysa, I can SO relate-
I am *learning* (< see the -ing at the end of that verb? Ha- it's not written in the past tense)
that when I start my day off seeking the Lord's direction, to not be so hasty to say YES to something (even if it sounds like a "no brainer" )….
because even though it's a good, godly goal- it may not be *ME* who's supposed to fulfill that role- it may be God has someone else in mind.
And so before I give someone an answer, I need to go to Him, and say, "Lord, I'm willing to do this, but should I?"
And if He leads me to say NO, then I decline. The hard part is to simply say NO, and leave it at that.
The people pleasin' part feels I have to offer reasons WHY I decline- all the words that come after it are my attempt to not have someone upset with me.
it really isn't easy letting our Yes be Yes or our No be No.
“Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.” I’m in the middle of feeling outcasted from the mom’s in our small little school community because bad me was being honest to another mom and it back fired on me to appear as the bad mommy.
The people-pleaser in me wants to stuff the embarrassment, poor choice, be Christ-like, turn the other cheek and let it all go! But the other part of me wants to be the voice who stands out to put these mom’s in their place, expressing, it is not ok to gossip and appear to be concerned when you really are not, or the concern would have been brought to me! So I let the process begin and trust in the Lord. Trust that I will be inspired to know how to hold my head up high amongst those who look down on me, not knowing who they are. We can not please everybody all of the time or even some of the time. Your challenge is God sent! Thank you. Writing is therapy.
Sometimes that’s the hardest word to say, isn’t it? No. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this topic. My ladies Bible study will be delving into your Unglued book and video starting this coming Monday. I also am planning to hear you speak in Hershey next month too.
This so resonates with me! I have been a people-pleaser to the detriment of my family, choosing to please people whose opinion of me should not count over the opinion of the family that should come first. My reasoning, when I stopped to give it a thought, was that my family will always love me, whereas other people’s esteem had to be earned. When I finally realized that God is truly the only one I need to please, I was able to BEGIN (and still working on it) making choices that honor God: family over others.
the eye opener is this: If you say yes all the time, the people that matter most in your life will suffer. When you look at it like that, is shouldn’t be hard to say no. I am a people pleaser and I know it. 🙂 i am going to try, hoping it gets easier with time.
I would just like to say you are pretty incredible for being so open and honest about your feelings and actions. It is so refreshing! So much so!! I am incredibly thankful to know that you, Lysa Terkeurst a real Godly women, struggles with the same things I do! When I read your devotionals and blogs, I feel like I’m reading exactly what’s on my mind! I just want to say thank you for being so encouraging, uplifting and relatable to everyone including ordinary women like me! You have been a huge blessing in my life! The Lord bless you!
It took me 40 plus years to learn to love & accept myself, I do not have that much time to make others love me too. I am learning to be real, say no sometimes, and just be myself. After all, that’s what God made me to be. How dare me mess up His work trying to pretend to be like someone else! (still a work in progress though) 😉
Oh my goodness, how I have struggled with this! I have such a hard time saying no because I feel like I am letting someone down. I have really had to work on this and and learn that it’s okay to say no sometimes. I found myself involved in way too many things and it was taking away from my family. I also wasn’t giving each activity the attention it truly deserved either. I have limited myself on how many things outside of the home I can be involved in at one time. And I have cut that back a little more since school started and my kids are involved in more activities. This is such a great post and a nice reminder that we can’t please all people all of the time!
I have been a people pleaser since birth I think. My father was a hard man and all I ever wanted was for him to love me. So that transitioned over into all of my life. I just wanted people to love me, so I said yes to everything. Now at almost 60 years of age I gotten so much better, knowing that my God loves me unconditional no matter what is such an awesome thing to get and it took me along time to get it. I was almost 50, I had been a Christian since I was 35. Guess I was a slow leaner, but that matters not, I know it now and I thank the Lord for his word and for people like you who help us to get there.
Thank you for this blog it has been very helpful especially where you state that you don’t give your answer right away you need to check with your family and if you don’t get back by the end of week for the person to give you a call. Reason I like this is you take total responsiblity off of yourself and giving yourself the freedom to think about your agenda and those you love..
With me it gets a bit tricky–because the “people” I am trying to please is my unsaved husband. We have been married 40 years and I have been a Christian for 36 of those years. I would like to say I don’t struggle w the debate between pleasing him and pleasing God but I do! I know my ultimate goal is to please God but in the little things of everyday life I sometimes get pulled from both directions. Remember to pray for your friends who have unsaved spouses. They need your support!
Thanks Lysa, for all your hard work to present scripture to us in a way that we can process it. Also for always being “human” to us!
I am always afaid to disappoint and often find myself saying yes and then having to cancel….which is worst then just saying no to start with.
I am a people pleaser in the sense that when I grew up I did not have the attention, love, or affection from my parents so I looked elsewhere for it. I used school, homework, and my teachers as a vessel to please to fill my need of acceptance. I just started serving in a ministry at my church called Real Life where we pick up girls who don’t know the Lord and come from homes where this is hurt. I am struggling to show and give my love because I have been so needy of always taking, taking and now I am to give. After Real Life last night, I broke down and cried. Today a small voice whispered, “Jennifer, your greatest commandment is to Love, not be loved” I want to win the girls approval of Real Life at the same time of showing them Jesus’ love. Thank you for being Real Lysa, because the ministry of Real Life Girls is about us serving and being Real with the girls. It’s about showing them how we are so not perfect and Jesus loves us. Keep on being Real. Please pray that I will stop wanting to be loved and I will start loving with the heart of Jesus.
I definitely struggle with being a people pleaser, I hate disappointing people. I do practice pausing before answering, sometimes. Other times I get excited in the other person’s excitement before I stop to think this may be a good thing but it is not a good thing for me right now. That is one area that I am learning to stop and think on, recently a friend asked me to go to Haiti on a short mission trip with her, I was all excited and thinking how great this will be but I didn’t allow for the fact that it is not not great for me right now. I am a work in progress.
I am definitely one to stuff and smile, as if people can’t handle my real problems. When in all reality by doing that I am saying that Jesus can’t handle my real problems. Sharing with fellow believers should be a great privilege because they can share with us and pray for us.
Wow! I so would love to say this is a thing of the past as well! However, just last weekend, I had a very dear friend ask me if I would like to do the 5K with her the very next day. My heart immediately panicked. Knowing the next day would be FULL on with activity, (even without the 5K) and I wasn’t fully prepared for the 5K with funds, clothing, or even a good pair of shoes to switch out with, and the most I had gone in recent weeks was a struggling 2 mile workout VIDEO, I still contemplated saying yes, just because I wanted to spend more time with my friend and I did not want to disappoint her in any way!
Thankfully, I had ANOTHER good friend with us that weekend and when I said “so and so” really wants me to do the 5K with her, she reminded me to do what was best, FOR ME! I still struggled inside with the decision, but also empowered. God gave me the strength to politely tell my friend that I did not have the right clothes, and guess what, she offered a t-shirt and I started to struggle but God gave me the strength to just explain that I was already worried about having the energy and sustainability to make it through our other plans for the day and that if she came back next year… I would be ready to do it! Guess what? Although my friend may have been disappointed, I realized it was only because we had limited time together, NOT because I didn’t do the 5K with her! God is so good! He even granted grace that I would not toy with guilt over my decision!
Thanks for sharing this… It has been a big source of struggle for me for many years, people pleasing, co-dependency, all that, but, by the grace of God, I too am learning to put some of your tools into practice, the main one for me has been taking the time to weigh it all out has really helped me!
I would love to learn more practical steps to stop the people pleasing and focus more on God pleasing.
Two years ago I began having anxiety that lead to panic attacks and ultimately a trip to the hospital. Upon seeing a Christian counselor, I learned about my anxiety, how real it is, but also how to fight it too. Obviously armed with a direct line to God in prayer, I also had my little book of mini devotionals & scripture. That coupled with resting and breathing, today I am a new woman. Oh and one of the BIG things I had to start doing? Say “no”!!! We as women are natural multi taskers and people pleasers. So, I knew this was going to be hard for me. But, just like anything, practice makes better. I knew I was going to disappoint people, but as Lysa said, if they were going to be upset or choose not to be my friend any longer, it would’ve happened regardless. I pick and choose what I do. God first, family next, everything else is negotiable. There has to be margin in our lives! And guess what? My friends understand. Sure, there have been disappointments, but focused on God, I can overcome. I pray for those of you who are suffering with anxiety or with the fear of saying no. I learned when I am tied to too many things or people, I’m not as effective as I could be in just a few areas. The enemy wants us so distracted with such a full plate of stuff that we miss what God really intends for us to be doing…pleasing Him.
Thank you for your wisdom! It’s as if you climb into my head and speak my words. We just finished the Made to Crave bible study last night…. Looking at starting Unglued next.
I would really love to read this book. I have struggled my whole life with controlling my emotions. It is always good to bring in reinforcements.
I love your comment some will not like you! I think many will not like you! You are real and say things that do not make you look like a perfect person or someone who cares what others think. I finally got your book here in Mexico and I can say it has helped me to really trust God’s word and daily make unperfect progress in my ministry, my life and my marriage. Being the step mom of a child with terminal illness I have learned that emotions can not control me or my life would be sad. THANK YOU FOR BEING REAL AND SHOWING US WE CAN BE REAL TOO! THE TRUTH IS IN THE WORD!
Life has been very challenging at the moment. I’m truly learning to rely on God with my entire life and not just parts of it. I used to give God pieces of the puzzle instead of the whole thing. Now I’ve decided I can’t do it on my own so I’ve just given God all of it. Pray that I continue to do this as it is hard but I know this is what needs to happen in order to fully serve God.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
I usually dont struggle with the saying no part, however, I struggle with the negative self talk regarding how the person might view me once I do say no. Great article.
Im a people pleaser, I just want to help every one and make them happy. Really im making it alot harder for my self and not speaking the truth. This is an area I need to work with God on.
This is me wrapped up in a nutshell. I have always played this role throughout my life. I have put too much stock into what people think of me or how I might disappointment someone that I have forgotten to be my own cheerleader. I read the first few paragraphs of Unglued online yesterday and it was like I had written it myself. Thank you for your FB posts and continuing to bring the word and works of God to everyone!
I am a huge people pleaser. And yes, it is something I try to work on, but still have a long, long way to go. It’s especially hard to say no to my family and friends because I feel like if I don’t please them, then they won’t help me when I need it. I put tons of pressure on myself trying to “do it all” when I know I can’t. I’m a single mom with four kids living at home and one child who does not live with me, so the demands on my time are already stretched with my own immediate family. So when someone asks me to do something for them I immediately start feeling guilty for not wanting to help them, guilty for the time away from my own family, and my stress level goes sky high. I’m not sure how to deal with this, but trying hard to say no in the most loving way I can, and to keep reminding myself that my family and friends will understand if I can’t help them due to other issues I’m dealing with. It’s still very hard though.
I am very much a people pleaser and want to be liked. I hate to tell people no because then I think they will not like me or help me. I always try to put myself in the other persons shoes but that is not always good either. I have had an emotional breakdown and am on medicine now to help me with that and am also going to support group and working with a counselor but I really want to get stronger in this area of my life. I really want a stronger backbone and also am realizing that I just need to rely and be pleasing to God not to man because God is what counts. Thanks for all the encouragement that you give us and also showing us that we are not alone in our struggles.
I have always been a people pleaser. In elementary school I can remember trying to please teachers, in middle school the “in crowd” in high school it was the people who ran a you ambassador program. In my adult life I said yes, yes, yes literally to the point of burn out. After my first year of marriage my pastor sat my husband and I down, he pointed out that between the two of us we were involved on 8 ministries, leading 3 of then. He asked how we spent time together building our marriage, it was difficult to answer him.
Shortly after getting married I was offered a position which I had dreamed about, I would be at the top of my career! I took it and for the next three years advocated hard for children and families of our local First Nations band. I so desperately wanted to please the community and show them Jesus love, compassion and open arms. This winter I began having heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, crazy emotional mood swings and depression, saying yes, yes, yes had put my health and well being in danger.
I have started to say yes I’d like to but I just can’t- however still struggle. I have my first baby due this December and desperately want to put her and my husband first always.
My heart is torn three ways, my family, my ministry and my career- I believe like Deborah we as women can balance it, we can be leaders- but the key will be saying No.
Thank you Lysa for your inspiring blog. Thank you for reminding me that although my heart screams YES my time must say NO.
It’s frustrating to admit as a grown woman how much, deep inside, I still want everyone to like me! 😉 I always assumed that at some point in life, I would grow out of that stage. Realizing anew that life is a process and we won’t be perfected until this life passes to the next. Looking forward to both more growth and the next life!
I all too often say ‘yes’ when I should be saying ‘no’. I have the tendency to worry too much about what people will think of me. I like to be helpful and to make things easier for others, but when it boomerangs and the regrets of the added stress affect my family, I wish I would have had the guts to say ‘no’ in the first place. Your point of taking time out before answering is the best advice. It allows time to pray about it and seek God’s approval, or disapproval and for wisdom in making decisions. I know that if I pray about it, seeking His will NOT my own prideful will, I can be at peace with whatever the answer is because it is what God wants for me. It’s easier to write this than to actually do it every time. I’m striving to be better at not doing things that are unnecessary, causing added stress that my family doesn’t need. It is a work in progress!
I am on the other end of the spectrum. I’m a “let me tell you how it is” kinda person. And as one friend has asked “Can I have a little sugar with that?” So now, when I don’t tell someone what I think, it’s because I’m not sure I can say it in love, so I just stay quiet. Being this way isn’t any fun either!
Love you and your ministry! Would love to win your Unglued bundle. I struggle with being unglued frequently.
Wow! God has been working with me in this area. This year people have come and gone and at first I thought my whole world had come to an end. Oh! But God had so much more for me to learn. People still don’t like me at times but I know that it is not them that I should be worried about. The One that I should be pleasing is my King The Lord Jesus Christ. I am a princess of the Most High King. He tells me when to say no and when to say yes and He never fails me.
I’m such a people-pleaser and a personal guilt tripper when I say no:(. I’m trying hard to pause (even if it’s a pregnant pause of 24 hrs!) and think/pray before committing to anything!
Saying yes is a big enticement to me but if I do something out of resentment it backfires. Either I get frustrated or sometimes I’ll get bitter about the action. I’m older now and I have learned that the best Yes is the one where I am answering a call from The Lord, not my own scheme to manipulate or elevate my self- worth. Jesus always did what He saw the Father do first. If I don’t feel like I have the strength for the Yes but I see God’s hand beckoning me to do it, I do the action and always it turns out wonderfully well.
I liked this post. I remember the first time I read those verses in Galatians and the little word OR jumped out at me. Here I thought I was pleasing God when I also sought to please men. I was so wrong. For me, it helps me to remember that Jesus himself did NOT do everything before him. He only did the things his Father wanted him to do. When we think we need to do it all, we are making ourselves out to be higher than him. The other thing I appreciate about your post is the suggestion to take your time when you give an answer. For some reason I used to think I needed to answer right away. A pastor once shared when his kids asked him for anything he told them if he needed to give an answer right away, it would be, “no.” They quickly learned it was better to give people time.
Sheesh! This makes me realize a lot about myself, I am a people pleaser very much, and to think about people not liking me. Very interesting thing you said about “they will eventually not like even if I say yes right now” so true! I think the hardest part for me, is I feel like I am making up for lost time. My kids are still young and for the first part of their lives I worked full time. Now I am home with them full time and I say yes to a lot of stuff with them because I have missed to much. But really they will still suffer because I will be frazzled and stressed if I don’t find the right balance. Oh wow….Lord hear my prayers…help me to find balance. Being a stay at home mom has been a huge blessing and very challenging all at the same time. Thank you for your words of wisdom!
Thanks for posting this. I am a people pleaser and I feel a burn out coming. I always wanted people to like me and I am finally feeling the stress of that. This book seems heaven sent.
So true that some will not understand our need to say No. Saying No is not my problem. Saying No ‘like a sweet southern Christian’, now that’s another story. People like me have to remember that a balanced life doesn’t swing the opposite way either. Our No needs to be a “No, I can’t do that but thank you for asking me. “
I always felt like I didn’t fit in because I did not go to college and I am a stay home Mom. When someone ask my advice or help I used that as a chance to show my worth even though I knew some of the things I did not need to be doing. It was not what God made me to be. My faith and self esteem has grown much sense those days. I try to not be led by my feelings anymore.
You’re talkin’ my language! Thanks for the encouragement to do better!
As a pastor’s wife I find I have tendencies to be a people pleaser so that it will reflect well on my husband’s ministry. But I have found out that you can get burned out by trying to please everyone all of the time! I still have to make a conscience effort to do what God wants me to do even if it’s not what is most popular.
I had tears pouring down my cheeks as I read your post… thank you for having the courage to share your struggle instead of pretending to have conquered your weakness. Your insights and scripture references resonated deeply with me. If I don’t win the book I will certainly add it to my wish list. Thank you again.
This post is very inspiring. I would love to read Unglued. A good friend of mine said it changed her life. I agree with your post a lot. The old phrase “you can’t please people all of the time is so true. It is time to shake off the negative feelings we may feel as a result of not pleasing someone. Love the scripture of pleasing God. So true. I am about to start a book called “When Helping Hurts” for my monthly book study group. Sounds like an interesting topic!!
I do better most of the time, but still struggle with my parents, especially my mother.
I think one of the hardest things for me is the knowledge that people don’t like me. thank you so much for the blog though it just reminds us that we need to say no sometimes and that life is just that way. Sometimes people aren’t going to like us no matter what we say, yes or no.
Oh Lysa! I struggled and struggle with this people pleasing disease too! I’m 49 and still am working on it. Although I’ve been learning to say no, it IS HARD! Being liked seems to be so hard-wired in me, that it strikes a cord deep within me. But, I’m not as fast, focused or able to accomplish what used to come easy to me. Balance. My husband took the brunt on much of my people pleasing craziness. Now, he speaks up, lovingly of course, when I’m considering new adventures. I’m learning to ask God for discernment and direction and considering if the direction is consistent with my life purpose goals.
Thank you for who you are and for your Christ-likeness and love 🙂
I am such a people-pleaser! I am struggling with this very thing right now. It is not just about saying yes or no. It is also about how to accept critisims, complaints, feedback or whatever you want to call it without taking it all so personally. I have one person I am working with whose comments feel very personal. He says I am taking things he says the wrong way. I say he needs to learn to give critisim in a way that won’t sound so personal and that when he doesn’t like something he should bring a solution with his critism. I admit I take things personally. I am working on this each and every day. I struggle to not allow the things I do define my value and worth. When what I do isn’t good enough for others, I don’t feel valuable or worthy of their friendship or support.
Boy do I need help in this area! It’s the primary reason I signed up for A Confident Heart OBS. I also need to read Unglued. Thanks for sharing your struggles so we don’t feel alone.
This Sunday I will be leading my first small group. This is some very good advice for me to keep in mind. It already has been hard trying to accommodate others for what time we were going to meet for this study. I had to stand firm in putting my children first even though it met some opposition at first. Thankfully I think we’re know following God’s idea on things. But as I lead this group I need to prayerfully consider what God want’s these ladies to know and not feel like I have to cater to everyone’s wants.
I definitely struggle with people pleasing. Though not from the perspective of saying yes when I want to say no, but always worrying about how I am perceived. So, I may say something and then worry about what I said, and how the person has taken what I have said. I believe it is a horrible symptom of pleasing. But Jesus be praised He is working on me and I am finding my identity in Him and not people.
I too am a people pleaser from way back but I have to say I come by it naturally. So is my dad. Most of the time I don’t have a problem with it as I love making people happy. But I will go out of my way or get myself into trouble in order to help another. Even when I do, I am still happy when all is said and done. Is there hope for me? Do you think your book Unglued could help me?
I sooooo have a people pleasing problem. I always worry that I’m going to hurt their feelings even if saying yes to the situation hurts me. Ugh! I struggle with this every day and it is mostly in the relationship with my boyfriend. I worry more about pleasing him than pleasing God or myself. Today has been an extremely challenging day with this and I so need to lean into Jesus. I have such a long way to go with this, but am not giving up and I know God sees my struggle and is here with me. For that I am eternally grateful.
I’ve struggled with this issue so much. Not only do I want to please others and look good, I also want to please myself. “If I do this one more bible study I will be so much closer to God.” Instead of letting Christ work in me and work with Him, I want to run ahead of Him and show Him how good I can be. The only trouble is the only true change is the one that Jesus does in my heart. I need to find peace that I am where I am right now and trust that God is taking me on this journey of life. He knows what I need to hear and at the right time. How hard it is to slow down and trust God and what He is doing, rather than trusting my own will power to achieve!
Thank you so much for this Blog today – I am so glad I saw the reference on FB directing me to it.
I have been struggling with a decision today and it’s like the Lord just gave me the answer I have been seeking through your wonderful encouraging words!
I can’t (and don’t have to) live my life to please EVERYONE, just My God and my family!
Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
You are an inspiration and I am blessed that you are so open and willing to share what your struggles are and continue to be. Thank you for helping so many others! 🙂
I’m a people-pleaser big time…have been all my life. I was brought up in a family where it was my role, and boy, did I do a good job of it. I’m still working on it, even at the age of 60! With God’s help, I hope to eventually overcome my problem and say it’s in the past, but I’m a definite work in progress.
This really hit home with me. I have always worried about people not liking me and usually agree with them instead of being honest with how I feel. God has helped me with this as I grow in Him. It’s not always easy.. Thank you for the verses and this message. I needed this.
I find myself struggling with this quite a bit. It’s not easy saying no, but truthfully every yes is a no to something or someone else….including rest, time with spouse, family.
I could really benefit from reading this book!!
We just had a speaker talk to my MOPS group on this very topic this week. Think God is trying to tell me something? 🙂 We just moved our family across the country where we knew no one and I am just starting to make some good friends. I’m struggling with balance – I want to grow my relationships with these ladies but sometimes feel like it takes so much time. Great wisdom here thank you!!!
Wow, this came to me via Facebook from my niece. Did this hit a major CHORD! I am 67 and definitely in the sandwich generation. 92 year old parents, and four grand children under 6. Raised in a Scandinavian Lutheran Community you can almost FEEL the weight and pressure that has built thru the years. I grew up on a farm the eldest with4 younger brothers. There was no room for “NO” and soon it becomes a way of life. In the last five years I was diagnosed with a blood disorder – JAK2 (high mutated platelets). Cause – severe stress. So I guess your blog and all the bible versus and positive answer to all those people that want something from me are a BIG help. Thanks and I will read your book. Bonnie
When I hear the term “people pleaser”, I automatically want to think “that can’t be me. I don’t live for anyone besides God!” But when I look at my actions, I realize that all too often, I look to others for approval and acceptance. Thank you for a timely (for me!) article, and some great tips that I am going to use on my life as well!!
Oh how this resonates with me today. I recently said, “Yes” to something my ex-husband asked of me and I regret it. After our twenty-year marriage ended because of his control and abuse, my instinct to appease him is still strong. It is uncomfortable to say “No” if you fear anger in response. But it is still important to be able to say “No.” I’m learning.
Was just contemplatingthis whole thing today myself 🙂
What a great post!! I love how you have three concise ways to handle situations when we are asked to do something that might not fit our needs or the needs of our families. I particularly liked “my heart is saying yes,yes,yes! But the reality of time says no”. Well said without any hurt feelings. And you put it into perspective – someone will be disappointed – either our families or the persons who asked. That makes it easier when making these decisions. .
I remember when I was younger there was a popular crowd. I wanted to be friends with them so badly. The only problem was one girl told me her dad did not like hispanics. I took a chance and went to her house and asked if she could play. Her dad answered the door and said she could not play. I told him not to worry, I was an Indian not Hispanic. And yes, I got to play with her.
I was so hurt. I cried for days and then when I told my family we all cried together. It was at that point I realized that I was who Christ made me to be and HE LOVED ME VERY MUCH. I still struggle today with people pleasing but I look forward to being apart of the bible study.
Wow was looking for this verse! Nothing can explain how the Holy Spirit uses you… Disappointment has NO room when Jesus comes on the scene!
It is always refreshing and encouraging to me to hear that I am not alone in my struggles with being a people pleaser. Thank you for sharing so candidly! Your words were refreshment today!
I think that people pleasing is a hunger for approval and acceptance. An inability to say no harbors a fear of rejection, retaliation, and perhaps conflict. Also, were trained as children to never say no to our parents and it is ingrained into our being as a result. I also believe when we don’t know who we are or our purpose we a guilt ridden and out of sink with our authenticity when our own Messiah Complex takes over. We cannot be all things to all people all the time. That is God’ s job and that means I relinquish control of all outcome doing what I van when I can. Learning our priorities and limits are part of growing up. Doing well what I do is all God wants from me. If I’m a foot trying to be a nose, It’s not going to work and vise versa.
I too am a people pleaser and I say yes when I really don’t want to because I’m afraid I’ll make someone mad at me. Then I dread the event til the time it is over. I get stressed out and my family is the ones that feels the stress I’m putting out. I’ll say I will not say yes to anything else I really don’t want to do again. Then it happens again it is a vicious cycle. I need help.
Boy oh boy!!!! I struggle with this all the time. I want people to like me and I will try so hard that I put others behind me that need me the most.
I have prayed about this and always try to ask God, before I go forward with pleasing someone. I am human and a sinner so I seek Him for guidance on everything.
I just bow my head and say,
Lord of my Life, Lord My Savior…. guide me and show me what is in front of me. I need to please YOU more then pleasing others. I know that others might not like me so I try hard to make them. Lord, I will not get mad at them, because it is my selfishness that I want others to like me. I will still love them. Lord, protect my heart!
You are all I need Lord.
This resonates with me so much! I admit to being a people pleaser and really hate having to say no for fear of letting someone down or making them not like me. The question I have to ask myself, though, is if they don’t like me because I’m giving priority to my family, should I be that worried if that person likes me less? Probably not! This post helps me so much! I AM getting better about saying no when I need to, but it’s still hard. As I am learning to say no sometimes, I’m also learning not to be disappointed when people turn me down and tell ME no when I invite them to do something! So learning this is a win-win! Thanks for your ministry and the truth you speak for our lives!
I too am a people pleaser just learning to say no hard specially when dealing with family but it helps what I know I’m not the only one and I love Joyce Meyers studies on people pleasers
Ugggh! This is soo me. I always thought I was the only person who did this. What a relief to see someone else’s struggle with people pleasing and the possibility for it to be overcome, one yes or no at a time!! Thank you, Lysa, for your honesty.
Overall, I do want people to like me, because who wants to be the person people complain about or dislike. I’ve had this problem since high school, I always had the feeling that people were talking about me – the way I looked or acted or whatever. But then I came to the realization that how vain am I – to think that I matter that much to a random person in the hall. You have to think about the people you WANT to please – are they just random strangers? or your immediate family? I take a lot on my plate and I know it’s because I like the attention/appreciation I get to say “I do this list of things”, but it needs to be more about the quality of what I do, NOT the quantity. I’m still learning that I need to do the best I can at what I do, even if it’s minimal and not worry about what others think.
I struggle with saying yes so much that my hubby wonders if “no” is actually in my vocabulary!! Thank you for sharing your struggles too and for giving us words to live by!!
I have no problem saying “no” in an email or a text. Somehow, that lack of intimate contact makes me bold. But, when it comes to face to face – I say “yes” way too often so that I don’t disappoint. I am big on the truth, but it’s so hard to deliver the truth when you have to look into someone’s eyes. I have never liked anyone being disappointed with me or thinking I don’t have it all together. I recently had a baby at age 42 (my oldest just turned 18) and I dreaded telling my family. I just didn’t want to hear their judgments. When I gave it to God, I realized that He had decided to bless us. This was His gift to us and my job was to use it to bring Him glory no matter what others thought. Funny thing, it turned out that everyone was excited for us (although worried at the same time). Thank God I’ve gotten better with this issue as I’ve aged, but I don’t think we ever quite “arrive” – God needs us to remember than in our weakness He is strong.
I love this as I have a terrible time saying no to people! I also will cancel or not do something to please people in my family at times. You see I’m in a wheelchair so people have to help me some and drive places. That’s a burden to some…even my family thinks so. I’ll do anything to keep the peace even if I suffer from that which in most cases is what happens. I also have a very verbally abusive father who has cut scars deeper than actual surgeries I’ve had. I cut myself short for others and that’s not right and I shouldn’t have to. This book helped me figure out some solutions to a lot of the situations I go thru and I greatly appreciated it! I’d love the devotional to do as well as I sit at home all day since I’m recovering from a bone marrow transplant. But I am cancer free so praise God for that! God Bless u all and God Bless u Lysa! Thank u for doing what u do!
this topic is very relevant to me, this is what I do also. Thanks for the
scriptures, I need to study more on this. I have studied your unglued
book and enjoyed it very much. Have you written more on this
My children are grown and this gets harder with grandchildren. How do you tell
the little cuties no? Grandma doesn’t have time to come to your soccer game
that is two hours away at 9AM because I have to work on Sat morning? Because
I would have to make up my work some other time, and I already work 50 hours
a week, and I get very grumpy with my Husband and employees?
That was what I had to do this weekend, say no, and I absolutely HATE it! And I
feel guilty about it! I just want to make EVERYONE HAPPY! But I am trying to
get smarter about this as I get older. Usually, I would just go ahead and do whatever,
and then have a melt down like a three year old a few days later. Yuk! Then I still
end up feeling guilty , and a failure! So I know there has to be a better way.
growing in Christ……
I feel like your actually talking to me! I too am a people pleaser and I am thankful to hear I am not alone! Thank you for sharing your struggles with us! I must read the book, sounds like a life changer!!
Simply stated: I need this.
I do struggle with people pleasing, and the ones who pay for it are the ones closest to me when I have overextended myself or am filled with dread at the cost of a “yes.” Thank you for an answer to give “the reality of my time” and a reminder to count the cost.
God spoke to me through this devotional. I admit I still have people-pleasing tendencies I need to work on. I believe, however, that by keeping in my mind and heart the following thoughts, I will overcome, with God’s help, this tendency to please others.
1. I am unconditionally, unfailingly, and eternally loved by God no matter what, and that’s all that matters.
2. In response to His love, my goal each day is to make Him smile by saying “YES” to doing whatever pleases Him, and “NO” to acting on whatever displeases Him.
3. I can never please everybody, anyway, so I live for an audience of one, for the greater pleasure, honor and glory of the One who loves, understands, and accepts me wholeheartedly.
Your blog today touched my heart. I have been struggling with trying to please my mother in law with whom I live with. I have been driving myself crazy trying to please her but nothing I do works. I have even gone as far as to stop going to my bible study groups and prayer groups just to be at her beck and call. I have been so unhappy and it never dawned on me what I was doing. Thank God for speaking threw you to me today Lysa its as if you wrote this just for me.
I struggle with people pleasing, and with coming ‘unglued’. I would dearly love to have your devotional to help me through the process of growing in these areas.
I really struggle with this. I am getting a little better, but it is makes it extra hard having people in your life who sometimes don’t take no for an answer,and can then manipulate you into feeling like you’re so mean. I am trying to prioritize my life, but still have a ways to go. Thanks for your encouraging words:)
I absolutely struggle in that, I love saying yes to people and I can’t stand when someone doesn’t like me. I am a people person, if I’m not surrounded by others then I struggle with unhappy and depressed feelings. That probably has a lot to do with why I am so willing to take on more than I maybe should for others. Sometimes I am so exhausted but I still say yes and I will, during those times, pray for strength and remind myself that I am “in service to the King” by caring for those that He cares for. I love this reminder though that sometimes you need to say no. After all, if you have to buy your friends by being a servant to them, are they really friends to begin with? And I agree with needing to make peace when others don’t like me, we can’t be all things to all people all the time nor should we try to be. Thank you for this post!! Also, thank you for being willing to bless others in a giveaway!! I hope whoever receives them enjoys them tremendously. <3
I have struggled, also, with trying to make everyone happy but then not having the time or energy to do what needs to be done in order to make myself and my family happy. I decided awhile back that I will make decisions to say ‘yes’ based on how truly helpful I would be in a certain situation, and whether my help can be used in such a way as to share the light of my Savior. I pray to be His light, to be overflowing with His love and goodness to the ones around me. In the past, I felt like I needed to use every opportunity available to ‘help’ someone out and show love to that person. Now I know that helping out in my church as much as possible is important because it helps pour love into the body of Christ and it sets an example to my two young daughters. I have learned that when I see someone struggling with a problem and they have no one to turn to…that is a time to extend my efforts and love. When someone is in the midst of freaking out in the grocery store because she has lost her credit card…that is a time to stop what I am doing, and try to give some peace to another. Soup kitchens in our community are often times in need of help…that is a time to pour myself into sowing goodness into our city and county. I feel we need to prioritize more often. If we are always rushing here and there to ‘help’, we are often causing problems at home. Other than my Redeemer and Savior, my family deserves the most of what I can give. We now use family time to go out and try to improve life for others. 🙂
I do struggle with people pleasing. Just recently my friend asked something of me that right off the bat I didn’t feel comfortable saying yes too. When I started asking more questions, she asked “do you not feel comfortable with what I’m asking of you”, and I said “no”. She then said “if that’s how you feel I will talk to you later. Don’t worry I will never ask for your help again!” and then she hung up on me. I tried to reach out to her but she will not respond to my text or e-mails and will not answer her phone. Unfortunately we have been friends for over 38 years and that makes me really sad. I am okay with my response and have learned over the years that I can say no to things that I do not have time for or do not feel comfortable helping with.
I just thought I would share as I have had to learn how to say “no” but occasionally, even when it’s the right decision, it still doesn’t feel comfortable. I want to share one experience about when we knew God wanted us to move away from where we were living. I had someone saying to me that they didn’t want us to move for their sake so I challenged her on something. I said “Would you rather us disobey God and stay and be miserable because we are out of God’s will so we can stay here with you? Wouldn’t you rather I’m happy?” I know when we have to say what we have to say, it can be difficult but it worked. We have had to do many things God has wanted us to do that not all of our friends have agreed with but we live for God, not them. Thank you for the tips on how to say no. I usually say I will talk to my husband or let me pray about that and that gives me a chance to see what God wants. I will usually, after I’ve said “I’ll talk to my husband”, go to him and he will say “Do you want to do this?” or “Do you feel God wants you to do this?” and if I say “no” then he says “Okay, then you’re not allowed to do it.” LOL I just say talk to him 🙂 He doesn’t mind because he would protect me. After all, when life is over we answer to God, not them. He is MUCH easier to please.
I am SUCH a people pleaser! I have been told time and time again to “learn to SAY NO!” I struggle with this because I feel as if I am letting people down if I don’t automatically say “yes” or jump in to help with whatever they are asking me to do. I have overextended myself doing this almost to the point of breaking. I have prayed daily for help with this and I STILL struggle with people pleasing daily!
Many years ago, a wise person told me one of the many signs of Christian maturity is when we can say “no” without explaining any reasons for doing so. Just a polite “no, but thanks for asking”, or whatever might be appropriate; and that is all need be said. It’s amazing how “free” it makes you feel.
People pleasing has been an issue with me for a long time. I say yes to things I don’t really want to do and, on the rare occasion that I say no, I have feelings of guilt that are overwhelming. I’m learning, with God’s help, to be okay with saying no and fight the feelings of guilt with His Word. I would love to have your devotional! I have the kindle version of Unglued, but love ‘real books’ so much more. 🙂
I have always been a people pleaser. I am the middle child. I want everyone to be happy. I want everyone to love me. I ate to say no. But as I get older and more confident (finally) I am learning it is OK to say no. I want to do the things God has planned for me, not so much the things I think I should do. I have a servant’s heart but that doesn’t mean I have to be a doormat!
People pleasing is something I definitely struggle with so your devotional spoke to me today for sure! I find that at times I make decisions or act certain ways so I don’t “stir the pot” and upset people only to later kick myself and say “who cares what people think!”
It is definitely a work in progress area for me!
Big one for me as a ministry leader, trying to please people while trying to please God, and sometimes thinking one is the same as the other. I am learning to not listen to the criticism an how not to become discouraged.
Good hard word. I’ve struggle so much with this to the point of panic attacks. God has been so gracious as to help me through this. As an inner city missionary and homeschool mom, it’s so hard to let your helping people hurt you and them by not saying no. Our hearts as I’ve learned are idol factories and I’ve seen that well in how I’ve crumbed in knowing what people think or how I’ve disappointed them. No more!!!!! I’m looking to be set free completely and I really have a burden to pour that same grace and freedom into the young girls I disciple. Your devotional would not only help me , but also the young girls and women in the inner city where there isn’t hardly any good resources being found.
We are doing the “Unglued” Bible study in our Sunday School class right now. It is so eye opening for me and all the others in our class! We all can relate in one way or another and I am one who does not like conflict and will keep my mouth shut to keep the peace. I know sometimes this is a good thing but it can also be a bad thing. I also struggle with people pleasing and would love to have the devotional! I am growing in these areas but I feel like it is so slow. I know God is working on me!
While I don’t really have a hard time telling other people “no” the one I usually said “no” to was the Lord. Mine is the story of being saved at a young age and then the ” now what do I do?” set in. While it was easy to follow the “rules” and the ” image” of the good, Christian girl my parents set up for me at first, my teenage and college years were not pleansant times. I married at 29 to the love of my life and God has blessed us with two beautiful children. We attended church and played “Christian” until everythig began to crumble. I knew God was drawing me and pursuing me, but I would not say “yes”. It took tragedy in my family for Him to get my attention. Fast forward two years and here I am in love with my glorious Savior. It has been quite a journey. One that I do not have any regrets because this God who I had no idea who or what He was is more real to me than anything!!! I am working my way through your devotional “What Happens When Women say Yes to God” and I am seeing how my obedience,saying “yes” to Him just fills me with blessings:) God bless Lysa! When you told abkut giving away your Bible, I thought “Yes! I want to be obedient to my Savior however He asks!”
“Real love cares enough about other people to say no when saying yes would build up a barrier in the relationship. ” Oh my goodness, this makes so much sense. Guess that would imply we need to be a little more far-sighted and look to the future of things/decisions and not just be near-sighted, the hear and now things. Amen and Amen sista!!!!
Just pause before giving an answer…what a great idea! Wonder if I’ll be able to remember to do it? I struggle with the tendency to say “yes” to every request, whether at church or at home.
I admit I still have people-pleasing tendencies I need to work on. I believe, however, that by keeping in my mind
and heart the following thoughts, I will overcome, with His help.
1. I am unconditionally, unfailingly, and eternally loved by God no matter what, and that’s all that matters.
2. In response to His love, my daily goal is to make Him smile by saying “YES” to doing whatever pleases Him, and “NO” to acting on whatever displeases
3. I can never please everybody, anyway, so I live for an audience of one, for the greater pleasure, honor and glory of the One who loves, understands,
and accepts me wholeheartedly.
This post was such a blessing to me! I grew up in an abusive home and it seems that I am always doing whatever I can to keep the peace, and becoming depressed and angry in the process. I am working through a lot of these issues because it affects my family more than anyone. How I long to have a true fear of God and not a fear of man. But I am still working on this (I probably always will be)! Thank you for sharing and allowing me to not feel so alone in this!
Everyone struggles with something, saying no is not currently one of mine. When I was single it was easier to say yes and find myself over-committed at times. Even after getting married and working a full time job, I could still be involved in several extra projects. However, having kids changes your daily time schedule drastically! I LOVE helping people! That’s why I chose to be an EMT and work on the ambulance before giving birth to a circus several years later! 🙂 I am a mom of 6 between the ages of 3 months 8 years old. I homeschool (which I said I would NEVER do!) and ATTEMPT to keep up with house work and feed my family in a timely manner (not always easy when nursing a baby)! Maybe it’s just me, but saying no comes quite easy for me. We all go through different phases in life. I am a current resident in the phase – hanging onto what little bit of sanity I have left for dear life! 🙂 How can I take on more when I am struggling to maintain what is presently before me? I have dreams, goals, and projects of my own that have been put on hold for the sake of raising my children and tending to the necessities. For me it’s not much of a thinking process to contemplate between taking on a new venture (example – teaching a SS class) or giving what little time I have left to my own kids. There are some really great ministries out there, but does that mean our kids get the back seat so to speak so that we can reach others (whether they are church members or complete strangers)? So for now, in this season of my life with small children, the no’s are easy for me to come by. And it can be tough getting cornered by a well meaning church leader who needs teachers and I seem like the most logical solution since I am contributing the most children to that department! I guess you could say it’s personality, but I have never been one to give in to guilt trips! Many do. My advice – KNOW your priorities BEFORE giving anyone a chance to commit you to something no matter how good or helpful that something is! Ok, enough with the longwindedness (real word?)! 🙂 Thanks for the sanity break and adult “talk!” 🙂
Wow thank you!! It is so refreshing to hear someone else feels the same way, I hate to say no even if it is for something silly. But sometimes for myself and my family I need to, I struggle with letting people down and having people like me which I know stems from my past. I hope to conquer this one day but now I am a work in progress! Thank you again for sharing and for the scriptures! 🙂 Be blessed!
I still struggle with this all of the time. If I say yes, they will like me. Then I get myself so overwhelmed that I mess something up and feel like I have disappointed. Have to remember that if someone is going to like me it’s because of who God made me to be and not because of what I can do for someone.
I too have always struggled with this issue. Am I over it? Not totally but as I grow older, The Lord has increased my self worth and shown me in what areas I needed to love and respect myself more. Life truly is all about balance….to love and be loved, to give and be given to. One of my favorite passages is found in 2 Chronicles 20 and I have titled it “Know Your Position”. That holds true even with this. We need to be careful with the precious time and place in this life God has given us and remember the one we need to please the most is our Heavenly Father. He will take care of the other details if we will only allow him to.
Wow! Thank you for sharing! I am on staff at a church and the battle for man’s approval rather than for God’s approval is ongoing. Thank you for your honest words. I feel encouraged to keep asking the Holy Sprit to search my heart and motives. Great word for today.
I constantly struggle with being a people pleaser. I always want everyone to be happy even if it means I am not. I know that sometimes I need to say “no” but it is hard. So how do I change.
I have struggled with being a people pleaser my entire life and may end up paying for it with my marriage. God is teaching me through it all, though, and I’m learning that what God believes about me far outweighs what anyone else thinks or says about me.
Too many times at work, my staff will do something that goes against policy (nothing illegal of course), and often times I have the tendency to look the other way to keep the peace. But what ends up happening is the continue w/ the bad behavior and I end up being the one who gets stressed out. I have been getting better at putting my foot down and enforcing policy but it is still hard. I think I even lost an employee today due to them not following policy and me trying to enforce it. Its a hard blow, but in the long run, it will be better for my health and better for my store as well.
Pleasing people has been a life long struggle, and I do it so well!!! My family isn’t big on giving me my love language, acts of service, duh!!! So, I have unfortunately found that that can be filled up by others the more I say YES!!! I am having to learn to let God love on me, expect my family to love me through their love languages (acts of service isn’t fun if it’s not your ‘language’!) and accept them right where we are…..hopefully in a peaceful place!!
Thank you for honestly sharing your struggle with us!!!
I struggle with people pleasing. God is helping me with this. I would dearly love to have your devotional to help me through the process of growing in these areas
I have been so deep in what you are talking about it lead me in a downward spiral. I wanted to please people so much I left no room for God and myself. I thought doing for others was leaving room for God, but He showed me differently. It lead me to jealousy, low self esteem, and depression. God has gently been speaking to my heart to give it all to Him. I need to please Him. I have heard a lot about you in a positive way and look forward to reading your book. I someday would like to write as well. I am in college at present. I definetly want to learn all I can to learn to please God more and be content to lay down the need to be affirmed by others.
This is something my husband and I have been working on recently. We realized that saying yes to some people and issues were putting our family at risk. We need to make sure our family is taken care of and find ways of helping people that don’t risk our relationship and our children.
Because I don’t like the “pressure” when others ask me to help with something, I am soo reluctant to ask others to help me so I don’t put them in the same situation.
I find myself being a “people pleaser” quite often. When I know that I should say no to something, I say yes just please the other person. Or when I’m shopping for clothing, I find myself thinking of others and wondering if “they’ll” like it and not thinking of myself 🙁
I have a tendency to write what would be pleasing to people. I just cannot help it, I had to say that, because that is what is going through my mind right now. Haha!
Well, the truth is I use to try to be a good little girl and do everything as perfect as I could, so others would be pleased with me and not say anything negative. You know the words that people sometimes say, “You could have….You should have….Why didn’t you…..
I felt like a failure most of the time and never good enough.
Another thing I use to struggle with was trying to please family members. I would go to great links to be sure to send encouragement cards, birthday and Christmas cards and gifts, but never getting a response back or any acknowledgement at all; not that I wanted it, just wondered if they received what I sent them. When I went home to visit they treated me like an outsider. But, I showed my love and kept my cool. I even apologized for any past hurts that I might have caused when I was younger and ask forgiveness.
Well, this year was a new beginning for me. I decided to give to those who were in need. Those who needed clothes, shoes, food, etc. It has been so rewarding and such a joy to give to those who really appreciate it.
God has showed me how to love others and if they don’t like me, that’s okay….Jesus does and He knows my heart.
I am a people-pleaser, too! Great thoughts! Thank you for sharing!
Where do I begin! I struggle with this daily, I care for my 3 yo grandblessing 5 days a week. I’m very active in the church kitchen and on the board for our women’s ministry. And I love it! But since I care for my granddaughter I have to say no to things that I feel I should be a part of. Also run errands and drive my mother to appointments. I don’t have much time for myself. But I did take the time to just do your Made to Crave book and audio. We will start the second part next week! It has made me realize so much. They are doing this Unglued at church but I’m not able to attend. What a blessing this would be! Thank you Lysa for sharing your love and wisdom!
I totally wear the mask of a people pleaser! Sometimes, I find myself especially wearing it with my kids. As a single mom, it is very hard to say No! I know it is something I need to work on; one day I would like to be that Proverbs 31 woman!
I struggle with coming unglued at little things. Do I like this about myself? No. Do I want to change? Yes, but how? I pray every day foe guidance and comfort. I feel a difference. I’m a work in progress and perfectly imperfect, this I know. Some peoples solution is to take prescription medicine. Yes they may help, but I don’t want to depend in prescriptions to make me happy and to please others, I want that to cone from the inside. I want people to see a change in me and know it was The Lord who made these changes.
Hi, I love helping where I know I can really make a difference. But this week has been really frustrating to me. Our church along with many other churches in our community has started helping out downtown on Friday and Sat. nights from 10pm to 4am. To make a long story short I volunteered to help in the office, I’ve been enjoying it too. But this week was very trying, I kind of feel like I was ambushed for doing what I was asked to do. I created files for everyone and put everything in order, listed on everyone’s folder who was missing what and also put in everyone’s folder a copy of their team with their contact info and their pictures. Mind you these are not for everyone to see, their for their files only. However I was accused of making these to distribute out to everyone, which that was not the case at all. But the senior leaders have already distributed a contact sheet with teams and contact info on all the groups and people involved with this ministry, the only thing different on the one that they distributed is it doesn’t contain their photo ID, which they wear out every Friday and Sat evening. It hurt is all I can say, I have no problem with saying no to people, but that day I was asked if I did and whether or not I did and whether or not I felt that the job was to hard and difficult…as stupid as it sounds I felt deeply hurt and insulted at the question. I guess what I’m wanting your opinion on is should I feel hurt or am I just feeling over sensitive because I do like to please people and I do like people to like me. I do not like feeling used and I do not like feeling like I’m being taken for granted. As silly as it sounds this incident has really wreaked my week, I know I’m to blame for allowing it to, but it really has hurt and I’m not sure what I should or if I should do anything about it.
Thanks so much for this message! I’m trying to become less of a people pleaser. I’m so afraid of disappointing others and not worrying so much about how I feel. I’m getting better at saying no but still worry about what I said no to. With baby steps and God’s help I’m sure I’ll get better.
Oh my goodness this post was for me. I am awful at this. Saying yes to just be included but not wanting to do the actual task. Afraid of what others think..the list goes on. Yeah for Confident Heart online study coming up. Shweww I need some wisdom. Thank you Lysa for always being honest and real! I love how you share your heart yo help us.
I too like to please people. I struggle with this because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and because I don’t want them to no like me. Your writings are such an encouragement to me. I don’t want to please people at the risk of my family or faith. If I can please them because God is telling me it is the right thing to do then fine, but if not I want to learn how to not only say “no” but to let it go. Thanks Lysa
I loved this Lysa!! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. I too struggle with always taking on too much and trying to please everyone BUT God and myself. I am a work in progress for sure. My husband tells me that he has seen a little change in me since I committed myself to the scriptures. These devotionals and encouragements help a lot. I take comfort in knowing that God knows my struggles because He made me. He wants me to depend on Him to conquer this!
Your comment “if I say yes to this, the people that matter most in my life will suffer” really hits it home for me. Definitely something that will help me when I try the new technique of pausing before I answer.
I really enjoy your writing. Thank you for sharing from your heart.
I would love to read “Unglued”.
The first time I read this scripture it hit me in the gut! I realized I had, all my life, been pleasing myself and man. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man I would not be a servant of Christ,” (Galatians 1:10). I don’t have to please everyone, I can say that! I have permission, I am allowed to say NO! Amazing how we can make ourselves feel obligated or guilty and get ourselves into situations we would normally never want to be in! I now remember this scripture and stop and ask myself questions before giving answers. There are times I forget and soon remember, it is OK for me to say no, God is not displeased with me! I do not depend on others to make me happy, I take responsibility for my joy. I do not seek approval from man or the world, God’s grace is divine power to help us with all of our shortcomings and is available to us at all times.
Hi lysa thank you for your words of wisdom and honesty, yes I do tend to please people I find it hard to say no and then when I put so much pressure on my self I get frustrated and angry and I know this is not Gods way . Its true that you never please everyone no matter. the worst part for me I get angry when people get advantage of my kindness. I pray that God will give me boldness to say no when I need to and not to feel guilty when I say no. Blessings Lysa.
Saying yes to everything these days hasn’t been my “issue” lately… but saying “no” to things has brought a bit of guilt in my soul, though. I know I need to take care of myself, being 37 weeks pregnant and all… and I certainly need to pay more attention to my body, my other 2 children and my husband. So why do I still feel the “guilt” creeping in when I say “no” to others?
I wish I had read this 20-25 years ago. My family suffered greatly from my people-pleasing days. I didn’t learn to guard my time until I was much older. My children are grown and have left the nest, and I have more time to commit, but I’m burned out and dread the idea of volunteering to do too much. Busyness is not the sign of a good Christian, quite the contrary. Our Savior withdrew to spend time with the Father, giving us a role model to follow. We need those times of solitude as much, if not more than He did.
I don’t usually see myself as a people pleaser, but sometimes I do overcommit myself even if it is for my own benefit. I need to realize I don’t always have to do it all or that it’s okay to take a break from something every now and then.
I’m on both sides. I’m fairly known to say my mind when I”m around people I know. I’ll say yes to plenty and no to plenty too. However when it comes to people outside of my circle I have a harder time. Yes- it’s people pleasing. That’s why when I asked via email versus face to face I’m more comfortable. We can all only do so much. We set an example for our families. While we may be helping the school/church/organization our family may suffer as a result. It’s not a fair trade. Lets put ourselves first and maybe volunteer as a family more. It’s a win win for everyone. I’m trying. Not always succeeding, but certainly trying.
Yes, yes, yes Lysa! I come from an alcoholic family so enabling started early and now sticks its insidious fingers into my life when I least expect it. I can decide to say “no” and decide to stick up for myself, but when the moment comes -I clam up and my quietness is often taken as assent. Thanks for your blog!
I am hooked on your books. If I could effectively communicate how I feel, your books is it. I’m learning this year to love myself (Made to Crave) and communicating better with those I love – especially my hubby (Unglued). Thank you so much for your encouragement and for giving me hope that I’m not just stuck this way!
Even though I am the mom I try to please my oldest son so much. He is bipolar and tends to be angry and hateful, it is so hard to be honest with him.
I am the type of person that just wants to find a way of helping everyone. I often say yes, when I should have said no. I try to make a mental list of people I’ve helped throughout the day, so I won’t feel bad when I do have to say no.
Wow! This sounds like it was written about me. I’ve ALWAYS been a people pleaser. I had no self esteem when I was younger and felt like I always needed to say “yes” to keep a friend. Then I would get frustrated and mad with myself because it really isn’t what I wanted to do. After 24 years of marriage I became divorced from an adulteress affair my husband had and boy did that make my self esteem plummet! I was scared I would also lose friends and I kept trying to say yes to everyone. Now I realize Christ is my best friend and anyone extra is a bonus. He loves me unconditionally and so should my true friends. Even though my ex husband couldn’t do this, it certainly doesn’t mean everyone else feels the same. Thank you for this blog!
As a Single Parent I have to say No a lot now. And it has made a huge difference this Fall for me. God has shown me throught friends, family and a lot of stress filled days why saying no is better than yes. It has allowed my kids and I some much needed time to spend as a Family and recharge our batteries so our week goes better. And I am glad that I have friends in my life that say the things I need to hear instead of the things I want to hear..
Although it has meant tears and hurt at times… God has shown me that life is not about being “busy” or money or things…
It’s about being with the ones I love and friends and family I cherish…. making time for that is what’s most important….so no is a good thing…
I certainly have a problem saying no at work, church, for friends, or my husband who always has to have something done just when I can’t possibly do one more thing. I now have to decide if I can do justice to the project or request before I agree to doing or assisting. This way I can tell the person asking I am unable to give my all to their request and do a good job and I don’t to do any less. Even though the person is disappointed, they understand I don’t want to do any less the best job I can and they deserve.
Glad to know that I am not alone in this area! I have gotten better, but still struggle. Just can’t stand to think that I might be somebody’s “irregular” person. 🙂
This is something I really need to work on. I’ve struggled with it always.
I have always been motivated by love. Whether it be my love for others or the desire for them to love me, this is what drives the majority of my thoughts and actions. Right now, I am going through a very difficult situation that is making me reevaluate what love looks like. I think I may have to love myself and take a stand that will be difficult in the present but beneficial in the long term. Though my stance may hurt someone I love, he and I will be better after the dust settles. He may never admit it and I fear that he will withhold his love from me but others have allowed him to run over them and now I am left to be the one that stands up and says no more. Please pray for me as I move through this trial.
Struggle with this A LOT! I just wish I could do it all and I really want to help others, but there is just not enough time in the day to do it all and then I end up not giving 100% to the things that I KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that God has called me to do. I need to remember to take time to pray and think about things before I just jump in and take on more than I should, just because I don’t want to let people down. Thanks for this blog!
I think I needed to read this today. I get stuck in the rut of trying to please everyone and those I really want to have in my life walk away because Im so busy trying to keep everyone happy I appear to not have time for them.
I struggle most with my family. In order to please them I say yes. That often leads to more disappointment as I am unable to fulfill the tasks. I have found my people pleasing is a result of my extreme dislike of conflict. Lately I have been asking myself, “am I saying yes to please someone rather than worrying about pleasing God?”
Have you been looking in my heart? It feels like you spoke straight out of my heart…
I get caught up in People Pleasing at work, and it gets messy.. I really looking forward to learn from your new book!
I am a person that does not like confrontation, so I tend to say whatever people want to hear instead if standing up for what I know is right because I’m afraid I will hurt someone’s feelings and they won’t like me. I tend to “people please” because I have my own insecurities. I’m working on the verse Galatians 1:10!
i am a people pleaser full blown, i want to make everyone happy and i want to be everyone’s friend, but as i read this today i realized that it is my family that gets the brunt of my disappointment and stress, so i pray that these verses hide in my heart to remind me to be a God pleaser instead
Great book Lysa! I love people and love relationships. I am trying more so to seek approval of god rather than friends or family! I find it really tough at work to love people and to be honest with them without disappointing them But I’m trying praying into situations helps particularly if I can shoot up a prayer during the moment ..
I have been praying about this area in my life. I am tired of being a people-pleasure and I don’t know how to stop. Lysa your example are good, I know my mind says no but my mouth say yes knowing that being with this person is not good I still will go with her into the negative conversations. How do I say No with confidence and be comfortable with my firm decision?
Lysa – just as when I read Unglued, it felt like you had been following me around and writing out the details of my life. An introverted child who didn’t fit in anywhere, I turned to people-pleasing so others would like me. And now I am 47 and still trying to keep everyone happy. And I know I don”t need to be, because my true friends are going to love me anyway, but when you’ve been a people-pleaser for so long, it’s hard to change.
This is so true. I recently found out that by trying to be pleasing or overly concerned with how someone important in my life was feeling or what they were wanting, that I was in fact coming across as indecisive and not confident in myself. This actually bothered my friend so much that it put a wedge between us. What I thought was being caring was actually me not being completely honest.
This was a hard lesson to learn.
I also agree that my true friends love me and I them no matter if we have to say no to one another some of the time.
Thank you, Lysa!
When I m over scheduled my family. Gets my leftovers. Which are is impatient. Un kind mommy. Irritable and so forth. So before over booking myself in life and work. ( which being self employed) is challenging. I remember who comes 1st.
god Family. So they can be sure. To get my best people pleasing skills:)
I have always struggled with saying yes to not disappoint others. I enjoy making people happy and I feel like I am failing them sometimes when I say no. I just bought Unglued and can’t wait to start reading it!
This is so me!! I have had this problem all my life. I feel so bad when I disappoint someone or don’t do what they want even if it is at the sacrifice of myself or my feelings. Your blog inspired me to try some of your tips and see if they help me! Thank you so much, it was exactly what I needed to read today :0) Funny how God always knows what I need when I need it.
I am afraid if I don’t please People I will be alone and lost. No one will stick around .
I definitely need God’s help in this area. I am a “yes” person, and additionally am one who often does not say something to certain people because I think it might cause problems in our relationship.
I also am a people pleaser, to the point that my dominate personality at home does not even like to make decisions or have an opinion with friends in fear that I will disappoint someone or they will think a certain way about me. Would love your book as I’m trying to manage not coming unglued with three boys!
Blown away and feels so good to hear real truth! I get myself on more trouble & stressing my self out due to not pausing and my lips already saying YES. I am originator of Help A Girlfriend and part of our mission statement is to generously model the grace & beauty of our Lord Jesus it’s difficult to even get thru our meetings without worrying your not hurting someone’s feelings! Thank you for breaking this down enough I can chew on the wisdom bites!
So relieved to realize that I have company in this area – working really hard with God’s help and guidance in this area – making small charges daily towards the right direction. Thank you for sharing real life with us.
I consume myself with worry about if people like me. I want everyone to like me and want to be my friend. I totally stress myself out and my family pays for it. I am praying about this and rely on God and not on approval of others.
Either I have found that way to say no to things or I just never had an issue with it.
I’m not sure I say yes to enough. I feel content but at the same time, I feel I should be doing more.
I have a constant battle with saying no…and unfortunately seem to have instilled it in my daughter. I used to chalk it up to having the gift of service…but I do realize that it is often the fear of disappointing someone. I also just bite my tongue at times because I worry about someone not liking me if I speak the truth. I am grateful for people like you through whom God speaks to me, and convicts me of those times I’m concerned too much about pleasing man instead of God.
I know I am a people pleaser although I try very hard to stop myself. I know that I fail. Not because of the fear of them not liking me but more out of the fear of not feeling useful. I still pray for guidance on correcting this.
This is a hot button topic for me and many generations of women in my family. I’ve been trained to please so finding the path of untraining has been my ongoing search. I’ve learned to imitate the non-pleaser (aka hubby).. I’m learning how to repeat what I’ve seen over and over again with this good guy boundary keeper. He emits total acceptance of the person while using just a few words that allow him to step aside. It is a practice!
Amen and amen!
Oh, Lysa, this is GOOD! Thank you so very much for this post! I, too, am guilty of people-pleasing (I’m actually struggling with a commitment I am regretting now due to that PP problem). Your tips on saying no are so helpful! This is just what I needed! I recently bought ‘Unglued’ and am just at the part you referred to in this post. Thanks so much for being transparent–you are a true blessing!
Whew! I am so glad to know I am not the only one who struggles with this very thing. Like you, I would love to say I’m past it, but the reality is,well, I’m better, but not cured. I feel the twinge in my stomach every time I say no, and really almost sickened because I may have caused disappointment. God has taught me more about keeping my vision upward focused on him and his plans, and he’d handle the disappointments I may have caused. It is a challenge, but I’m learning!
People pleasing has always been something I have had to work to war with. As I get older tho, I have come to realize that pleasing God really is the only thing that matters in the long run.
I have always said yes, until recently. It actually started with saying yes to God when asked by our Education Director if I would lead a Bible study for “Unglued”. I prayed about it for a while, and God said yes, so I followed! I barely had time to breathe, but found I truly love leading women to God. During leading “Unglued”, I discovered I had to say no so that I could put my energy and focus on our study. It is easier for me to say, “I would love to, but I am not allowing myself to commit to anything right now”.
I have struggled with people pleasing all my life. I will please others with words or actions until I just breakdown. Shortly after telling how I feel I will go and apologize for not making that person happy and then try to explain my way out if how I feel and convince myself I am wrong and they r right. I feel as if I don’t please others then they won’t love me. I hope to break this pattern one day
Thank you for your encouraging post on people pleasing. I was most encouraged by your suggestion to wait before giving an immediate answer when asked to do something. Your reply to talk with your family about it first was an excellent thought. Thanks again!
My spiritual gifts are craftsmanship and service. I teach elementary school. Soooooooo with the service and teaching I end up volunteering for LOTS just to please. I want to be helpful but my house and friends get neglected. I have started saying no more and have found those I thought were friends are no more, so I am alone. I am with Cheryl. I have achieved what she fears. My house is getting attention but I am alone.
I struggle with people pleasing. Family abandonment and growing up in a dysfunctional family has left me with lots of insecurities. People pleasing is a by product of not getting the love I needed from family. I got attention only if I did exactly what they wanted me to do. If not the consequences were horrible. Working on this.
I realized I struggled in this area when I had to tell someone no and she thanked me! I was very confused but she said that because I was able to say no it meant she knew I was committed when I said yes. I fell ill 11 years ago & have struggled with each no I have had to say. Thank you Lysa for sharing your experience & wisdom with transparency. I may still struggle saying no, but feel better knowing I’m not alone! 🙂
“We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.” I love that. I struggle often trying to balance our call to live a life of service with the reality of the hours available in my day and organizing the priorities of family and other responsibilities.
My people pleasing can sometimes come in the form of hesitant agreement – meaning I give in basically. This leaves great room for bullies in my life and I’m 50 yrs. old. I do a lot better now, but I catch myself still wanting to give in to avoid conflict. I’m learning that it’s not really conflict. It’s someone’s disrespect of me or others. We often will rise to stand up if someone else is treated badly by someone, but not for ourselves. Mean women exist in HOA meetings, bible study groups, and every where else.
Father, I want to be loving in truth and loving. Jesus told one disciple..’What is that to you? You follow me.’ Lord I want to follow You. Help me understand what to do with anger – even righteous anger, when deceived. Help me to respond with grace and care. Lord help me to forgive people when treated with hateful disregard, especially when it comes from someone who calls me their close friend. Lord I want to follow You and sometimes that means I have to walk away good activities, good service opportunities and even ‘good’ friends in order to allow my heart remain tender and open to loving others. Heal my heart, and lead me. I want to follow You, love You, and love others. In Jesus Name. Amen.
I often find myself fading into that world where I become someone I’m not just to please people. I am afraid that if I voice my opinion when it goes against theirs that they may think I’m strange or loose respect for me. When I feel someone doesn’t like me I constantly wonder “why?” It’s a very challenging thing I’ve been trying to overcome and I certainly don’t want to loose sense of who I really am.
I have a hard time saying No cause I don’t want to let someone down or disappoint them which goes back to people pleasing. I had to prioritize things and not take on anything new unless I was able to give up something. I also had to quit telling myself “well if I don’t do it , no one else will and it won’t get done.” Which is not true either – that’s probably my other little control issue. People pleaser and control freak here
I think everyone, deep down, wants everyone else to like them. Sometimes we will do anything to get that “approval” or “friendship” from someone. This is an area I know I need to work on and with God’s help I know it is possible.
I struggle a lot with this topic .. I kno u hear it all the time “u can’t make everyone happy” its true u can’t I think the most important point of this article is pausing and allowing God to guide u thru the decision and decide even if I have to upset someone at leadt I kno I did what was right in my heart and I could rest on that peace .. I pray that this helps someone reading … Remember pausing allows God to guide your decision.
I loved your testimony. Thank you so very much. Yes that’s me…a people pleaser. As a pastor’s wife that is a hard place to be. I thank you for your wisdom and I will be memorizing the scriptures you mentioned 🙂
I struggle with this so much. I believe most moms do. It’s hard to say no for fear of hurting someone’s feelings or feeling like a bad mom because you didn’t volunteer to be this years room mom. It’s time to make a change and realize that we can’t do it all. And that’s okay
I have to be true to myself. I am a Jesus girl whether I say yes or no to other people. God wants me to love others but I have to have a focus on God and His will for my life and it is not always what others expect from me. I have to remember that blessed is the man (woman) who is free from the opinions of others.
Our desire to love on people so much can sometimes get us in trouble. I struggle with this a lot, and find myself giving up my alone time way too much, so I don’t even disappoint my family, just myself. It’s good to know I am not alone in this struggle, and that with a great deal of effort it can become easier.
Oh my… have you touched the tip of an iceburg in my soul. I have been a people- pleaser my entire life- and it is so deep rooted I find myself anxious to state my opinion for fear of offending someone. I am hesitant to passionately pursue something on a personal level for fear of failing those in another area of my life: so I dabble rather than excell. People pleasing is very much linked to feeling liked, they’re married I think. I know it is in my head- I just don’t know how to erase those tapes, false as they may be. They seem to play especially loud when life is stressful and I am feeling weak. It’s here in this battle my sense of identity gets blurry.
I love your book iam reading now, I have 6 kids and I have a reallt hard time saying no my husband always says iam a giver and takers know this and they ask me for this reason.
This is an area that I struggle with. Thank you for being willing to share things like this with us. I am going to write down Galatians 1:10 and keep it close by. May God bless you.
I resigned from a committee today because I’m having anxiety issues dealing with the responsibilities. I’m also praying about other activities I’ve said “yes” to. When I began to develop physical signs of stress I knew it was time to change. It seems I’m filling my time to the max with good things but way too many. Time to reevaluate and refocus.
I call myself a recovering people pleaser. 🙂 I’ve comea long way with it, but defdefinitely rears its ugly head sometimes. Thank you for sharing your heart!!
Unfortunately, I learned the hard way that it doesn’t really matter how much I try to please people. After a major medical diagnosis, some “friends” split when they realized what an impact this would have on my social life. It didn’t matter how much I was there for them in the past. Other true friends couldn’t do enough for me, although the hurt of the ones that left still stung. So, I guess my current issue isn’t people-pleasing, it’s the opposite actually – how do I let people in, now that I’ve been let down so many times?
Thank you so much for sharing this perspective. Very well stated.
I just had an example of people pleasing this morning. I am facilitating a ladies bible study on Friday mornings but this morning I was feeling very overwhelmed. I am totally swamped with work and other responsibilities. I was trying desperately to get ready for bible study not wanting to cancel, but my husband who is dying from lung cancer woke up in severe pain. Also I’m serving at a funeral today. I’ve been the only one bringing money in to the family for a long time. I finally cancelled bible study but it was hard because I was disappointing the ladies. I know it was the right thing though and God will honor that.
Do y’all think people pleasing and not wanting to do something because people might not like how you do it(like art, dance, a job.?
I think God started putting me in situations that contributed to me being distanced from the people who I struggled with trying to please the most. If this hadn’t happened I think I may have been too wrapped up in pleasing these people that I may have blindly done wrong.
I have lived the life of the people pleaser and the life of “i can’t please anyone so why try” and I usually live somewhere between the two. I post truth around my house to remind me how much God loves me as is. Even at my messiest. I loved your book and hope I get a copy of my own!!!
You hit the nail on the head with this one. I’m a people pleaser..n i want everyone happy. I lost a very dear friend of mine to a life of sin, and I tried hard to save her, but it took some time for me to realize. The only person to save her is Jesus Christ and what He’s done for us. I can’t please, or save anyone..I need to put Christ 1st in my life over EVERYTHING and then my dear family He’s blessed me with..then pray over helping others. Thank you so much Lysa for speaking the truth today!
It’s hard to have to tell some people no, but I’m learning to be more realistic in what I take on! I am learning that I need to really be thoughtful about what I commit to in order to not be overwhelmed or stressed out. Lysa thanks for starting this conversation and letting us know that we are not alone in this struggle.
This reminds me SO MUCH of myself! I have always been a people pleaser and don’t ever want anyone to be upset with me. I say yes often when I should say no. Then, I feel frustrated with myself and stressed because of time constraints, and I have to work hard not to let others see the frustration. If I say no, I feel guilty and tell myself I should have said yes. I “beat myself up” because of the feelings of guilt. I have gotten better over the past few years, but I am nowhere near where I need to be. I know, if I do a better job of always putting God first in my life, this will have to be easier. I started the OBS Bible studies with “Say Yes…” to keep God first in my life, and I am so thankful I did. Even though I didn’t do the best job of keeping up during the study, I will keep working on it by continuing with the studies. Thank you, Lysa, for Proverbs 31 and your ministry! This is another book/study I NEED!
Oh my I can see myself here people pleasing all over the place. And when I say “no” I feel so guilty and keep thinking “if you were really a good Christian woman on fire for the Lord, you would love the poor and find more ways to help and serve them…Look at what those 70, and 80 yr olds in your church are doing, they put you to shame.” I am going to have to buy these books if I don’t win them. I need deliverance, in Jesus name. I am here to please God, not men. God help me.
I’ve learned saying No may be difficult for the moment. We can’t always say yes to everything or we won’t have any time for ourselves. I’ve learned to let go and let God be my judge and pray about each situation first before giving an answer. It hasn’t led me down the wrong path yet. It’s a daily struggle still for me too and even if I never conquer it I know I have done my best.
Oh my! This article is so, so good! About 3 years ago, I had to learn to say no. It’s still hard… But it is easier than it was. Your #3 hit me in the gutt though! Apparently, I still struggle with that! When I read those bold letters “make peace with the fact some people won’t like me”… Yowsers! Thank you for your raw honesty!
Strange how this post today fits in with something I’ve been dealing with in the very depths of my being….so much so that I hide it pretty well even and especially from myself.Yes I like to be liked and approved of;yes I sometimes crave approval even though I patently dislike that non-attribute in others as a weakness.It’s true I have attempted more times than I can count to ask the Lord to take this from me.Yet somehow it creeps back in as a problem.It’s comforting to know that we all struggle with this although it manifests itself in different forms in our lives as we go about our daily routines….but I do acknowledge the Lord is working this out in me !! yay !
I used to be a people pleaser but sometimes I think I have gone too far in the opposite direction!
I am a volleyball coach for my parish’s youth organization. I love volleyball! I play myself and I am very passionate to share my love of the sport with the young women who have signed up! They are 7th and 8th grade girls (12 to 14years old). They all work really hard and try very hard, but are of varying athleticism and skill levels. I believe in giving everyone a fair chance whether good or bad. I also believe in mixing up the players so hopefully the stronger will help the weaker, and the weaker will learn from the stronger! My dilemma comes from the parents! It was mentioned to me that some parents are questioning why I don’t play all the strong players at the same time, in an effort to win the game. So, now I am left questioning my coaching abilities and whether I should play the better players in an effort to appease the parents. But, the other issue is, I have seven players in 8th grade, so which one doesn’t get to play with her classmates? And who sits on the bench with the 7th grade players? I am certain whoever that girl is, her parents won’t be happy with my decision. Ultimately, the decision is mine, and I know someone will be disappointed! And I am left worrying over this decision and feeling annoyed that I am not asked directly about my decisions or choices. And in the meantime, I am in a bad mood fretting over the decision, not looking forward to the next game and robbing my family of a happier, more pleasant me!
Boy I needed your words this week! I was asked via email to do a job for a customer, knowing that I was already swamped I asked a colleague for help and she to was too busy. So I asked my dad if he could help me w/ the hard parts and I would finish the fine details. You see, I was too worried about telling a customer NO. I didn’t want God to hear me say I was too busy. ‘Cause if I was too busy, he could help me with that problem!!! And I certainly didn’t want that!
Long story short, asking for all this help took me a couple of days of emailing others, and the customer became very impatient! I emailed her back as soon as I got the quote and apparently by then she had gotten someone else within 20 minutes to give her a quote and a completion date. There by, (her words) taking one more thing off of my busy schedule and one less thing to worry about.
Now, the email she sent came across very “ugly” and she claimed she couldn’t receive my quote email until she went into work on Monday…she emailed me numerous times over the weekend wanting this quote…
I was very upset by her words and the way she presented them! I should have just told her I was to busy…been honest! God won’t judge me for that…right?
Your bundle sounds great, thanks for offering a chance to win!
I used to envy a ‘friend’ who would take on everything, just do and do and do. I became like her and it cost my family members my time and they finally told me so. I have learned the need to work on balance. I try to think about being balanced daily, time for family, God, myself and tasks. I’m still working on this!
I’ve realized recently that I try to please others by “protecting” them from my thoughts and feelings. Somehow I feel that I’m supposed to just cope with my emotions alone rather than tell those I love how their choices affect me. I’m slowly beginning to realize that this doesn’t help either of us. If someone truly loves me they don’t want me to stew over a conversation or situation. They want me to be at peace, but I need to give them the opportunity to love me in that way. I need to be honest about my feelings not just for my own mental health, but also so those I love have the opportunity to love me fully.
Lysa! I love your honesty and have struggled with this topic forever! Because I am blessed to be a stay at home mom I figured I could do all the volunteering I wanted yet didn’t realize the impact it had on my family! Yes it was great to be the Box Top Queen, PTO Secretary, church go-getter but was dinner on the table when my husband came home? No not always. Happiness and fulfillment really does begin at home and it truly was my family that suffered when I was “saving the world” – they sadly got left behind! So whether you work out if the home or in your home – home really does matter and when peace resides there it can spread outward! Thanks again for enlightening me 🙂
My mentor said,”There is time for everything I need to do.” I know she is right, so what am I doing that I shouldn’t?
The Lord wants all of me and that includes my time. He wants my spontaneous attitude to become refined. I’ve asked for forgiveness and mercy for where I’ve messed up. And with time, I will become practiced at taking every request to him first.
Not being able to say no has cost me dearly in many ways. I’ve lost friends, even self esteem as a result. Not being able to say no is to me is a form of “no boundries”. We let ourselves be taken advantage of. I have the fear of not being liked and want everyone to be happy. That is not reality. It’s a bondage to man.
You are an answer to my prayers again. Here is why? I was asked to go to party where I know that it will be somewhat ungodly in there behavior. As a follower of Christ I was struggling how can I say no and yet keep their friendship because they are co-workers. Not only are they co-workers but they are watching me because they know I am striving to follow Christ. My question to myself was do I go and be a party bore to them as I will not participate in all the festivities, do I go stay a short while and leave, or how do I give an excuse and stay home or go enjoy a day with my daughter and not feel guilty.
If I tell them that “I really wanted to say yes, yes, yes however unfortunately my time says no”, which spending time that I never get with my daughter would be an honest statement.
I am not sure why, but God is speaking to you to telling me what I need to hear. Last week at Women of Faith you said exactly the words I needed to hear and now this is very unexpected to have a second message.
God is always good and you are His answer to my prayer, thank you for these words of wisdom.
The walls of Jericho are high, but faith in God can bring them down. I just have to believe. I think of the walls as sin and through faith and trust in our God(Father), He will lead us and protect us from Satan.
Blessings to you my friend, Lysa.
I think people pleasing and being able to say no without guilt is always a struggle for me and a lot of my friends as well. But it’s true that we shouldn’t overextend ourselves and make our lives stressful just to avoid not pleasing everyone at every time.
My whole life I have battled with pleasing people. Honestly enough is never enough. There is always someone who is going to get hurt or disappointed. My fear of hurting people and wanting to please people manifested in anorexia. I couldn’t control them but I could control my body and my weight. What a lie, I never had control. I am finally coming to the place where maybye it will be okay if I can’t make everyone happy. God is showing me that it’s not my job 🙂
Thank you so much for this post – definitely something I struggle with. I especially appreciated your last point; I need to realize that there will be people who won’t like me, and that’s ok…think of all the people who hated (and still hate) Jesus!
Wow! Read my feelings and intentions in your words. I must be your sister from another mother! That is so me – wanting to please and be a part, but the thing I struggle with is shutting down when my plate gets full. I will unintentionally go the other way and say no until I don’t feel like I’m a part of anything. Praying for a healthy balance! I need to read your book!!!
I too am a people pleaser. I always feel like if someone isn’t happy, it’s my fault, so I do what I can to make everyone happy, sometimes at the expense of my own happiness. I figure that as long as I can make others happy while I am here on earth, then I can be happy when I get to heaven to be with Jesus. Because, isn’t it all about Loving God, and Loving Others? That’s what Jesus would do. So, is it wrong to be a people pleaser? I don’t know, but what would Jesus do? That’s what I have to think about when I am faced with do I want to do something for myself when I can help someone else who needs something. Thank you for letting me share!
many many thing why I am thankful now..I am thankful to be able to smile during my reading time with your remarkable blog today, that reflect many o my continuing struggles..but not about the some people hate me..a friend of mine named “sandpaper friends”..they are her or we are here to sharp our diamond or the other way …we are here to learn from experience to grow and this is one of our growth experiences.Thank you Lysa for your inspirational blog.
Wow! Just what I needed to be reminded of. As a woman in ministry I find myself wanting to just say yes and to please people. I can’t have someone not like me is my mantra, unles its my family of course. So many times I find myself rationalizing that it is ok for my family to be upset with me. Afterall, I am doing God’s work. I have learned that my family is my first ministry. I am much better saying no now but I still have a long way to go. I really appreciate what you said about taking time to pause. I will be doing this from now on. Thank you for sharing and being an encouragment to me.
Thank you for this post…& especially for verses that apply to ‘solutions’! This is something I have struggled with for years. I have recognized it, “worked” on it as I’ve seen how it has affected & hurt my immediate family members, etc. It took some majors situations (my daughter battling cancer) to first stop me in my tracks, so to speak. However, the tendencies gradually returned again until my own health got to the point where I couldn’t keep up with things. I had a Dr. tell me I HAD to say “NO” to people in order to rest my body & limit even what I was doing around home!! I realize now that I need to ask the LORD what HE wants me to do each day…to truly seek His will for my life. He does guide me when He wants me to meet with other ladies, or help others with something…etc. Sometimes, it’s just a quiet day. But It’s still a struggle I’m seeking the Lord’s help with on a daily basis. Thanks for your help & encouragement too. You are a blessing to many…
Taking time to pray and seek God helps me in this matter. I have always struggled with wanting to please and fix people . I really needed to read your post. Thank you for sharing. GOD BLESS YOU AND YOURS KAY
“Mary Make It Better” is what I am known for being…I just want everybody happy… It has taken 50 years to see that you can’t please some people no matter how hard you try so you need to let go and seek Jesus… He takes me just as I am and he knows all my faults and I don’t have to guess what it is that makes him happy he has written it all down for me. Once I came to the understanding of this I had such a burden lifted off me and though I am sad at times because of the ties I have had to cut from others it is ok because I know God is in control and he saw that coming long before I ever got to the point of understanding the need for it… God is Awesome and loves me and I finally can believe that.
I have spent a lot of time being a people-pleaser and trying to meet everyone’s expectations. I have learned that sometimes it is better for the one asking if you do say no, especially if God is leading you in a different direction. I have learned that when people ask me to do something that my response needs to be “Let me pray about it.” I still occasionally give the immediate response and then realize maybe that was something I should have waited on as the responsibility will be more than I need or can do at the moment.
I too have struggled w/trying to “do it all” and “be it all” to my family and friends. I actually passed this on to my daughter, who has the most pure and tender heart I’ve ever known. I have slowly but surely learned that I can’t do it all and it’s okay to say “no” sometimes. I have learned to pray and ask God to let me know what HE wants me to do.
This is an area I’ve struggled with all my life! I take on way too much because I’m afraid people will be mad if I don’t then I’m grumbling the entire time because I’m tired, and usually need to be doing something for myself. Thank you for modeling ways to say no! And pairing the ways with what God says.
As a single mom, it feels like I am the dumping ground for everyone who needs something done. I guess they assume I don’t have a life, well. I tend to say yes and just kick myself when I hang up the phone because really I don’t want to be on this committee or volunteer for that project. I have three children. I am on three ministries at church and I have a full time job. After reading your Made to Crave book – I also exercise 4/5 times a week to drop this excess weight. I am happy to say I’m down 26 pounds but I usually over commit and then grumble the whole time I’m doing this task. My next step is to begin to say no to things that take away from me and my family. And continuing to ask God for the wisdom to say yes to the right things and no to those that I need to say no to…
I am a people-pleaser. Never learned how to say “NO” because I do love people and I want to help, to fix things, to fill in wherever I’m needed. Often my hand goes up to volunteer before I know it. In a recent church meeting I said, “Well, just put my name by that, too, if no one else comes forward.” Thank you for writing this book and for telling us people-pleasers how to pause and ask to get back in touch later. It’s going to help me a lot!
Wow! I experience this struggle too often. Thanks for your vulnerability to help others be all they can become in Christ through your challenge.
This post struck a chord with me…I am 24/7 almost every day of the week, but I am working and volunteering on behalf of children, so it is very hard to say no! My solution has been to delegate those responsibilities that I do not feel compelled to do myself and to seek God’s counsel for everything! My quiet time with the Lord can not be sacrificed for any reason! It is He who gives me strength and the gift of perseverance to be obedient to Him in all things…in every moment! Your book and the “Yes to God” Bible study totally deepened my relationship with Jesus! Can’t wait to begin to read Unglued! My friend just bought the DVDS and I have been waiting to read my book and devotional since the beginning of summer! Timing is everything! Especially His perfect timing! God bless!
Thanks for giving me the insight, I don’t do things always just 2 be liked ‘;”””””””’i do it to avoid conflict, Just go along and keep peace, I;ll ignore my gut, bend my standards etc. But basically it is to please. I don’t speak up for respect. I thiink mine is low self esteem. but how do i work on it ????????
I seem to go overboard trying to please everyone. It has brought me a lot of heart-ache and it seems like after a couple of times certain people expect you to say yes to whatever they want and they seem to have no respect for me let alone like me. Then I end up not liking myself. Your tips and advise are things I am going to put into practice right away!!
I, too, am working on this area of my life and have come to the conclusion that I want quality vs quantity. I am focusing on having a few great friends rather than a bunch of shallow relationships. I don’t feel bad for not being buddy buddy with everyone because I know they will not make me a better person and could take time away from my family.
I am a people pleasure to the extreme. The sad part is I know my. Two small children love and except me for I am so I have place them and there needs on the back burner. My people pleasing lead to a mental break down last Oct and today is still a struggle. My group therapy taught me people pleaseing was really a selfish act. Cause I was saying yes to meet my own unwarranted desires to be like and or needed. I try now to always Seek God first he is the only one we should be pleasing and if we live in his will everthing else will fall in place. GOD needs faithful obedient servants to be his hands and his feet here on Earth. After learning this I found myself doing too much and lying to myself believe that mounts Of stuff I was taking on was Gods work. GODS WORK IS HIS WORK. I am still working on being truly obeident and do only his will. Thanks for writing this blog …. I needed the extra tools and encouragmnet. I also needed to hear I wasn’t along. GOD BLESS ALL OF YOU
Everybody wants to be liked, but the bottom point is: How does the Lord feel about me ? I know He loves me unconditionally and that is what matters most.When I am not sure or feel uneasy about what a person thinks about me, I always remember God’s love for me.He alone knows my heart .People pleasing becomes second when you put the Lord first.
Lysa…, thank you for sharing your heart. I am just discovering your work and it’s like you’ve read my soul. Things you put to pen that I struggle with and loath about myself thinking no real Christian would ever think. To know that I’m really not alone and that as broken as I am, brings such peace. The things I’ve done and said “yes” to all in the hopes of being liked… belonging haunt me. Learning to live and believe daily that I’m loved and treasured by the King of Kings is my daily goal and that this gives me enough peace to say “no” is my prayer.
Thank you for showing me hope that its a road traveled by others…
Peace to you sister.
I think that women, me included, have such a desire to remain important and needed. It is so easy to fall into over extending ourselves so that we can shovel it into whatever hole we have created in out hearts. Perhaps we are lonely of friendship, perhaps our husbands don’t make us feel important, or we are without a significant other. People pleasing is such an easy way to shine ourselves up for others, cover whatever is missing from our lives and “soldier on’. Instead of trying to filling that never ending void ourselves , we need a daily reminder of how Jesus is the healer, Jesus makes us whole. When you sit with God for a few moments daily, read his word, marvel at His grace. Let Him lead your steps. For if anyone here is like me, I can take one millions steps on my own in this world, trying to please others or myself and remain a weary mess; or I can ask God where my steps should go and walk as a stronger woman daily in Him.
I have struggled with people pleasing for most of my adult life…I MUST remember that I perform to an audience of One!!
You know, a wise friend once said, “We need to be very careful that we are doing what we are called to do and not just what we are capable of…”
Since that day, I often ask myself, “Called or capable?”
Now I know that doing the dishes and laundry feel like things I am only capable of, but in reality I am called to do those things in serving my family and caring for what God has given me. However, what if I am capable of certain ministries, but not called by God? Am I stepping in when I should step down? Am I taking another’s place? Missing out on the ministry God has chosen for me? Yikes!
I only want to do what the Lord has called me to do. And thank you Lysa for sharing such honesty and insight on this subject. I especially liked your statement that said, “If someone stops liking me for saying no, they’ll eventually stop liking me even if I say ‘yes’ right now.”
Profound Dear Sister! Profound!
I was just praying about this this morning, how I find it so hard to disappoint people; its like I want to please everyone around me and it sometimes makes me unhappy, the decision isn’t always something I want to do. I just want the courage to be me without conflict, harm or unkindness to anyone else.
This came at a very important time in my life. Friends have disappointed me greatly, at least I thought they were friends. I now see more clearly my need for people to like me for all I did for them and how that needs to change. I need to take a look at my priorities and who needs to be my priority. Where does God want me to put in my time and energies. God is always faithful. I thank God for a Mother who pasted this post on to me. Thanks for writing this Lysa.
Guilty as charged! And calling ourselves “recovering people-pleasers”, a la Alcoholics Anonymous, is accurate because we will never be completely recovered. I’ve even worked so hard to please my own pastor that I crashed and burned from the weight of all the serving I was doing. Thankfully, he was raised by a PP and admits to struggling with it himself.
Thank you, Lisa, for your transparency! If I knew you personally, I’d consider you a “keeper” friend…
I too have the disease to please and at it’s root is the same as you–the need to feel and be liked by everyone. I know these issues stems from a childhood of never feeling like “enough” and I way over-compensated. I have come a long way this past year as there are many blog posts devoted to this topic, but I am where you are–though I’ve learned to say no, I have not yet learned to not feel guilty.
It is also a delicate balancing act of knowing when I *need* to say yes…whether it is to help someone in dire need or in an emergency situation, but remembering also sometimes someone else’s crisis is not my crisis.
Thank you. I needed this reminder!!! Thank Lord Jesus for working through this sister in Christ.
I struggle with saying no. Hadn’t put the label “People Pleasing” to it but that is what it is.
Oh how I want people to like me. And not in that fake, smile and wave at Walmart way. I want them to hug me when they see me, exclaim how funny my comments are, and never ever disagree with me. I hate conflict. I feel the bitter taste of insecurity creep up every time a disagreement happens. “Maybe it’s me.” “Why are you so stupid and WRONG?” My mind starts churning out the remarks instantly. I try to silence it. Have tried for 37 years to shut up the whiny, insecure, belittling voice that keeps me up at night. Lately I am realizing that she’s not my friend; this voice of doubt. It’s Satan, pure and simple. I am a child of the King, a princess in a place that’s not her home. Why would I want the world to like me–a world full of lies and hate, sin and ugliness. I am bound for a better place. My treasures are stored above! And THAT voice is slowly being replaced by the one of Truth–the one that tells me I am good enough–chosen by the Almighty. And that,my friend, is more than enough!
I was born a perfectionist and people pleaser. I did your last study at my moms group and loved it. I am working hard to stay glued:) I want to be more godly in my reactions and daily activities. Its hard to keep it together with kids, hubby, pets… I’d love to get through this study and then pass it on.
This validates everything I have felt in my heart and have heard God speaking to me about. I have learned to say “no” to the good things and “yes” to the best things God has for me. Jesus definitely set the example of NOT being a people pleaser, but how to love ALL people no matter what. 🙂
I struggle a lot with this same thing. As a teacher, there are always things coming up at school that I am being asked to do. Can I cover this class or that one? Will I attend this meeting or that one? Can I take on yet another unpaid assignment? For the longest time I just said, “Yes,” and moved on…. overloading my own plate and taking up way too much of my time and strength. I worried that if I said “No,” I would be seen as a bad person or an uncaring teacher. Then I realized that I needed to consider what God would have me to do. I knew that he did not want me to carry a burden of stress. Now I devote my morning time to him, I go to school, and if I am asked to do something I take the time to pray about it and carefully consider God’s will before I give either a Yes or a No.
I’ve struggled for many years being a people pleaser. It has gotten better but I still have the urge to please all those in my life. It cost me my marriage; 10 years ago now. I more than anything wanted to please my mother so I put her wishes before my own husband. He couldn’t take it anymore and filed for divorce. A tough lesson learned. I am remarried and I make sure that my husband comes first after The Lord. God has really helped me through this. I’m so greatful for His grace. I only need to please my Heavenly Father.
I really needed this today. You are correct in calling it people-pleasing. I so want to do this, but in the end, sometimes I feel that’s exactly what I have done, but not pleased God. Recently, I had volunteered to look into having our church host a 90-minute seminar. The seminar subject matter and reason for it was very worthy. It didn’t get off the ground because life happened … increased work load, caring for elderly parents, and other church obligations. I finally had to give in and admit I didn’t have time to devote to this endeavor and admit it to others that I simply could not take it on, but found that I now had more time to devote to another church project that is very important. What peace I found in that “no.” I believe that peace was what God was wanting in that “no.” Thanks for your blog and writings. God uses it as an instrument to lift me up!
For me, it was about realizing that people ask you because they know you will do it. So I painted the children’s wing at our church with cowboy murals and barely got a ‘thank you’.
I washed my grown kid’s clothes, but they wanted to know ‘why did you dry that?’ or ‘where are my skinny jeans?’
So, now I try to consider, why am I volunteering to do this? Does it serve God? Does it help my friend with 4 children? Will I expect Big Thank Yous? Will doing this activity help a friend while providing me with joy?
Of course, I still blurt out an offer sometimes before I think, but I’m better than I used to be!!
I have struggled with this for years and years. I am better then I used to be, but not as good as I want to be. I have a feeling I will read and reread this post in an effort to cement the concepts presented. I need to remember that my family is effected by my choices, not just me. I need to remember that if I am too busy doing what anyone can do, then I probably have not left time in my schedule to do what God created only me to do. Just because I CAN do a lot of things, doesn’t mean I SHOULD do them.
I have learned to say “no,” most of the time. My mom struggles with this with my brother mainly and even some of his friends. He is a drug addict. I would like to say a recovering one but, with what all has been going on very uncertain with that statement. My sister and I have tried to talk to our mom and as long as he isn’t talking her into things she seems to ready to try the tough love. My sister and I have had to step away from this burden because it just brings us down. We have been praying that Gods will be done for both of their lives. Working on strong faith for this issue. It is ruff when you see someone else continue to make this mistake but I know God is in control and everything will work out right. Please pray for my family.
Sure needded to read this today! I’m 59 years old and STILL struggling with saying no to people. Thank you Lisa!
This is a post I will save for the examples of how to respond. I am a people-pleaser and it eats me up inside when I feel like I’ve let someone down, even if I have no control over the situation.
I loved your point about pausing. If I take a step back and ask the Lord to help me with the discomfort of saying “no,” then I can see once again that His passions expressed in my life require all of me. In that light, saying “no” becomes the favor I do for people who really need someone who can passionately help them. Saying “no” is likely the most loving thing I can do.
This is so me! I can relate to Becky above, I’m 54 years old and still want everyone to like me and have a terrible time saying no. I’ve printed off the verses and placed my name in them. I love them, they are very encouraging. Keep up the good work Lysa. You make me know I can do this, with God’s help.
Hi, I tend to be a people pleaser. I want to make everyone happy and have no one feel left out or mad at me for doing or not doing something asked of me. My husband always tells me not to worry about it, which helps most of the time. It was nice to read this post this morning that had scripture references to help me see that what ever answer I’ve given that I can back it up with God’s word!! Thanks Lisa!!
i tend to be a people pleaser. Saying yes all the time is not good. Especially when you say yes and then your stressed out to the max. I need to learn to say no instead of yes and instead of blurting out yes i need to say let me get back to you at the end of the week. Thanks so much for this! also want to let you know i was the women of faith this weekend in san antonio tx and you and the other laides where awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!! thank you Jesus!!!!!!!!!!!
How true this is! I think you are in my head, you expressed all the thoughts that I go thru my mind when I am asked to do something. Thanks for the steps to take before saying YES and for the scriptures to comfort me.
Thanks, Lysa! This is such an encouraging post for those of us still struggling with people-pleasing tendencies. I love the ways that you’ve chosen to respond in order to break free. You’ve challenged me to do the same. Truly addressing this issue in my life will bring freedom to myself and those on the receiving end of my stress due to saying yes when I should have said no. May God bless you and those of us struggling to break free from being people-pleasers.
Thank you for your “People-Pleasing” posting, I was refreshed and encouraged through it. It will be very helpful especially during these upcoming holidays.
Blessings to you,
Amy @Moms Coffee Time