‘Extreme people pleaser here. I’m addicted. It’s desperate, honestly. ‘Will they like me?’ ‘Do they want me?’ ‘Did I say something stupid?’

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“Extreme people pleaser here.

Not in a ‘Ohhhhh, she is so sweet! She just takes care of the people around her’ kind of way. But in a ‘I’m addicted, and I don’t know how to function without it’ kind of way. It’s not good. Not for me. Not for my family. Not for my friends.

It’s desperate, honestly. And the constant cycle of it is pure torture to the soul and spirit.

‘Will they like me?’

‘Do they want me?’

‘Did I say something stupid?’

‘Maybe I’m not good enough.’

‘Maybe I should be a little more like this.’

It started when I was tiny. All I wanted was to please my parents. All I wanted was for them to be happy with who I was, what I was doing, and where I was going. I needed to know that my painting was good enough to hang on the refrigerator door. I needed to know that my dress didn’t twirl too much. I needed to know that my shoes had precisely the right amount of sparkle. I would beg for spankings as a little girl. Beg. The words ‘We are disappointed’ sunk through my stomach like a stone falling deep into the bottom of the sea. I could not handle it. The swift sting of a swat didn’t have near the weight of the knowledge of letting down my mom and dad.

And I still can’t handle it.

I don’t want their approval. I need their approval.

And to get it, I’ve hidden. I’ve backed down. I’ve stood up against the wall. It’s hard to be disappointed in someone who doesn’t move. It’s hard not to like someone who is invisible. It’s hard to be offended by someone who is vanilla. So, I tiptoed. My entire life became this tornado of trying and crying and struggling to do enough. To be enough. But not too much.

And that’s where Satan tried to stall me. That’s where he tried to keep me. That’s where he tried to steal my life’s rug right out from under me.

If you’re anything like me, you already know the torture that comes from yearning to be liked but yielding to anything or anyone who tries to get too close. I mean, what if they see behind your mask? What if they look too closely? What if the see your flaws and your scars and your bruises? What if they found your truest, deepest self and rejected it?

People pleasing is this constant battle between wanting to be liked but needing to keep everyone at arm’s length. A war between the deepest part of you that longs for genuine connection and the shallow desire to keep the vulnerable parts of you safely secured away. Vulnerability isn’t for everyone. Vulnerability isn’t universal. Vulnerability isn’t pleasing.

And so, the need to please people keeps us forever shackled to comfort.

And comfort keeps us forever shackled to conformity.

And conformity keeps us forever shackled to the things of this world.

You can’t offend anyone when you wear clear lip gloss. But you can’t truly be who God has called you to be until you are willing to be bold either. You can’t truly do what God has called you to do until you are willing to be brave. You can’t truly have the life God wants you to have until you are willing to step out of the shallow end, get up off the floor, peek out from behind the curtain and just wear the red lipstick.

And when you put it on, something just washes over you. Something just lights up inside you.

Suddenly, pleasing people becomes less important than pleasing God. Suddenly, fitting in becomes less important than standing out. Suddenly, doing nothing becomes less important than doing God’s work.

Courage becomes confidence. And confidence becomes contagious.

You become your truest self. And when you become your truest self, you find your truest relationships.

No, not everyone will like you. But the ones who do, will love you fiercely.

No, not everyone will invite you. But the ones who do, will accept you unconditionally.

No, not everyone will want you. But the ones who do, will hold onto you loyally.

You won’t be a people pleaser. You’ll be a God pleaser.

So, come on. Take off that veil, pick out your favorite shade and wear the red lipstick everywhere you go.

It looks so good on you, girl.”

Mother who is a people pleaser smiles in selfie as she sits in car with son in background
Courtesy Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. Follow Amy on Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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