The term “people pleaser” gets a bad rap
“People pleaser.” This is one of those terms that is positive to some and negative to others. According to some experts, people pleasing is a psychological condition. Those who are unhappy with themselves, specifically their self images, tend to overcompensate by people pleasing. I, on the other hand, disagree to an extent. Perhaps this breed on people pleasing does exist, but for me, people pleasing is more of a stewardship. A service. Giving back. WWJFD. What Jesus would freegin’ do!
That said, I see where people pleasing can go horribly wrong. In fact I see it every day on Facebook. I have a select few acquaintances who are constantly posting enraged rants about everything they’ve done for someone. Later, when they feel like an opportunity passed for someone who they’ve helped to help them, the harangue gets ugly. Bible verses get misconstrued. Commandments misquoted. Unfriending (gasp!) is boldly threatened. This is that aforementioned psychological people pleasing condition–the kind where you are overcompensating to get others to like you. It causes self neglect, resentment, stress, and depression. Or maybe these things cause the need to people please. Eh. Chicken or egg.
How a people pleaser really operates
I, however, think these people give people pleasing a bad name. My thirty, thirty-five, (sigh) thirty-eight years on earth have been quite tumultuous. Military moves, wars, hurricanes, family deaths followed by family controversy (aren’t they always), tornadoes, unemployment, NICU babies…. I’ve survived it all and then some, and when I see someone going through something similar, I can empathize. I know what they are feeling, what they need, and what they don’t even know they need, and I want to help.
When I work with people who are experiencing stress or trauma, I will often offer to take on their deadlines or projects. I don’t do it to please. I do it because that’s what they need.
If you can learn to help for the sake of helping, give for the sake of giving, and work or the sake of working, you will get a giant return in calm, peace, and spirit.
If you are helping for the sake of reciprocity, log on to Facebook. Things are about to get ugly.