For so long, I felt the need to be perfect. A goal I knew was not attainable, but one I wanted to reach just the same. Every word I wrote, deleted. Every word I said, carefully calculated. I was tired. My body stressed with worries about having the perfect response to every single person, never offending anyone or insinuating conflict.
All I heard in my head was, “ You can’t be perfect, so don’t try be. Be yourself.” I honestly realized how true that statement was. However, for me, it was harder to believe the truth. The truth was whispering, the lies were screaming.
People pleasing came easy. For some reason or another, my brain had become wired to care way too deeply about what others thought about me. It has been an ongoing process of detangling those wires to realize that I am here to only honor and glorify the Lord. Not give in to the pressure the world puts on us to act, talk, or think a certain way. I am not going to lie to you guys and say that I drank the special Kool-Aid and now everything has gone perfectly swell and I am free, living my life, not giving a second thought to what people think about me. It’s a little more complicated than that. Here are three things that I have found need to happen, to get out of that people pleasing mindset.
1. Learn How To Say No
When it comes to people pleasing, you tend to wear yourself out much quicker than the average person. At least in my own experience. When you are focusing so much on putting the needs of others and the well being of others first, your own health and mentality gets pushed to the wayside. You are so focused on not letting people down, you over exert and exhaust yourself by not having the confidence and the courage to say no. I’ve been there. I know what that is like.
As soon as that two letter word leaves your lips, or as soon as you type it as a response to a question, your heartbeat picks up. You are wondering if they will ever speak to you again or if they even like you anymore. Your mind chooses to go to the utmost extreme, making you go into panic mode. Panicking about a situation that hasn’t even become a reality yet. One that more than likely never will, so from personal experience, learn how to say no.
Now, I am not saying turn down every person that wants to get together or a friend that needs help. All I am saying is gauge the situation. Understand what they need in that moment, but also understand what you need. Saying no does not equal the death sentence in a friendship. Sometimes you need to take a step back for your own emotional, mental, and physical health.
2. Stick Up For Yourself
This was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I felt used, as people used my quirks and mishaps to gain laughter. Now granted, I laughed right along with them, afraid of offending someone even though I was the joke. Sticking up for yourself can be awfully hard, but so worth it in the long run when you truly realize and understand your own value. Your value does not come from what other people think about you. This is an ongoing process as well, but it is key in getting your mind off of what other people think about you and more on what you think about yourself.
YOU ARE ENOUGH. Do not allow other individuals to bring you down with them just because they are struggling with their own insecurities. Stick up for yourself. Now, my advice here would be to not fly off the handle. Nothing is solved when it turns into an argument and both parties start yelling. Have enough strength to walk away from the situation if needed. Do not let yourself get walked over because you are afraid of loosing friends, or just….afraid. Understand that you are valuable. You are beautiful. You are a diamond in God’s eyes.
3. Combat The Lies With A Solid Truth
This is huge and something that I have found very helpful in switching from fear to faith. Believing that the lies in my head, as loud and slippery as they were, were just that…lies. I found that for myself, I was struggling to trust. Trust that the voices in my head were just lies and how that was not my heart or my heart posture. It slowly spiraled down a slippery slope of me listening to the lies, more than I was focusing on the truth. I was sliding further and further down and I knew that if I did not do something, I was afraid I might never find my way back out again.
At that point, I had a reinvigorated spirit to not let this be my new reality. I hope this encourages you, it does not have to be yours either. When your brain immediately goes into panic mode, take a deep breath, and ground yourself.
Respond with a truth to combat the lie.
“They won’t every speak to me again.”
“That’s okay, someone else will.”
“Were they offended by what I said?”
“I was me. I responded as a child of God. He loves me even if the world does not. If they were upset, I hope they would come to me so we could talk through it civilly.”
“I have to say yes, otherwise I am going to lose them as a friend.”
“My mental health is important. It has been a long week and I just need to rest and recharge so I can fully be there for them mentally when called upon. A real, true friend will understand.”
There is power in the words that you speak. No matter what it is, the words that spill out of your mouth can make or break your dreams and the person you become. Michael Jordan did not just become one of the greatest basketball players of all time by sitting on the couch and listening to that voice in his head go “you’ll never be good enough. People are never going to watch you. You’re never going to make it.” No, he did not care what others thought. He fell in love with the game and was going to do whatever possible to see to it, that he was the best.
So really concentrate on the words you are speaking. Speak truth over your life. Respond in faith and not fear. Cherish what God says about you, not what the world says. Understand that you are His beloved, and what others think about you is minor. How God views you, now that is huge. Getting out of the people pleasing mindset may take some time, but I hope these tips that have helped me (granted, still working on it) help encourage you along the way.
|“When you go through deep waters, I will be with you.|
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.” ~ Isaiah 43:2