The People Pleasing Cycle Theory

This is a picture of a people pleaser…

It’s a picture of a person who is lost in the cycle of constant people-pleasing (and a picture of a person, post cry sesh, feeling like a failure from being unsuccessful in pleasing people around her)

This is a woman who makes herself actually sick over if people are happy or not. She not only carries the weight of everyone else’s burdens, but excessively worries over everyone else’s pains, and everyone else’s feelings. She puts it on herself to fix everything for others around her. She feels a weight of fear over her loved ones’ futures, if they will fail, thinking about not being able to protect them when they fall on bad times, and how to protect them fully. She overanalyzes how to love them properly. It’s a never-ending cycle of concern, fear, and protection for them.

What’s weird is… that photo and the person I’m describing is actually of me… I am the people pleaser…

Why though? Why do I people please? Why do I continue to do something that ultimately hurts in the end? I’ve been struggling with that answer for a while now. Even as I type this out now I can feel the Holy Spirit push me, open me up, and answer that for me.

The one thing I do know is that I have always justified my people-pleasing. To explain, I have a very black and white brain. I think in very yes and no ways. I don’t have a lot of gray area thinking and if I ever have to sit in gray area thinking the anxiety escalates. So, with my black and white brain, I actually categorize people-pleasing as a good thing. I think it’s good to help people, to love, to care, to encourage, to support, etc… the thing that I am realizing is that I am taking these to unnecessary extremes.

I love people so hard and so deeply that I crave for them to be happy. I don’t just attempt to make them feel comfortable and appreciated, I take it upon myself to do absolutely everything I can to make sure my loved ones are fully content. This can be a great thing, but it stops becoming a great thing whenever I crave the control of making everyone happy. I feel more in control of my surroundings whenever I can use my hospitality skills to love.

I feel extremely out of control whenever I displease, disappoint, fail, or even anger someone from my actions or words. Not only is the control factor out the window, but I feel like a failure. I feel like the disappointment. I feel like my world is crashing in some sort of fashion. I feel like I can’t fix anything and I get hyper-focused on me being the mistake. I forget who I am as a daughter in Christ. Then the cycle begins…

The Cycle of People Pleasing:
attempt to please > not able to make the other content > feel like a failure > not giving the rest to God > forgetting who the Creator and Father is > forgetting who you are and why you were created

There are many types of people pleasers out there:

  • Pleasing only to receive love and/or credit back
  • Pleasing because they want the attention
  • Pleasing out of insecurities and/or with the root of insecurities
  • Pleasing because they have forgotten God is in control
  • Pleasing too much that it has become unhealthy even with the root being love

I am a mix of the last two bullet points. I people please with the intention of loving someone well. When I people please the most, I forget who God is in those moments. I forget He’s the Creator and that He’s the one in control. I have to remember that I am not God. Of course, I can continue to help people. I can continue to love, support, and encourage, but I cannot fix everything for them. I can’t wave a magic wand and wish all their worries away. I can’t do enough to make every single person happy and make every single problem go away.

I say all the time, “I just want everyone to be happy.” That can be a hopeful statement, but that statement won’t always be true. I will fail people. I’m going to miss the mark. Not everyone will be happy 24/7. Not everyone will be content.

Yes, as Christians, we are called to love our neighbor (Matthew 22:39). Yes, we are called to carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) Jesus said to be like Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), but the Bible never said to BE God and step into His place on the throne to control your situations, life, and people around you.

I am seeing now that I have a hard time grasping that not everyone will not be happy here on Earth. I am reminding myself that this is not our home (Hebrews 13:14). Heaven is the place that believers of Christ get to go to where there is no worry, no pain, no fear, no tears. It’s a place of beauty, perfection, and a place where we get to actually walk with Jesus.

As I am sitting here thinking about the next word to type, the Holy Spirit is laying on my heart the answer to my question… why the people-pleasing? I do it to love. There’s no problem in love. There is no extent, end, or expiration on love, but I shouldn’t make myself sick, cry, or be anxious over not being able to please every person. It’s in God’s hands to provide that eternal joy and eternal content. I can’t do that for people. I can only pray for them, love people well, and still carry burdens with them, but hand it to Jesus because HE is the master of all things love. I can’t work hard enough, provide enough, try enough to please every person. HE is God and HE is enough.

Think about it… when we are in Heaven that’s whenever everyone will be pleased and it won’t be because of something I did. It will be because of Jesus Christ and because of what He did on the cross.

So, to all my people pleasers out there, be done with it and start loving better, maybe even in different ways than what you have been doing. Continue to step up to the plate and use the gifts God has given you to share the wealth of hospitality you have within you. You can only do your best and let God do the rest. Fully trust in His plan and let go of the control. Trust me, you don’t want to be interfering with His stories He’s writing with our lives. He’s a much better writer than we are anyway.

Believe that He is the Father, He has a beautiful plan for us, and that He is in control.

A Letter to My Abuser…

This title might be quite a shock to a few of my friends and family members because many of them don’t know this part of my past. So, to my loved ones, please read this and accept that this was years ago. Please know I ran to Jesus with this pain and I have healed. To my readers, I hope you see the beauty of the end of the letter and hear about the power of Jesus. To other victims, I hope you hear about renewal in Christ. I hope you see that you’re not alone and that there is victory in Jesus.

Dear _______,

I’ve been thinking for days of how I would start this out. There are so many avenues I could go down. There are so many things I want to scream at you for. There are so many things I want to hate you for, slap you for, make you apologize for. You’re probably wondering what I’m even talking about, right? Whenever we first met, you decided things for me that were uncalled for and you did things to me that are unthinkable for another human being to do to another. I just want you to know you didn’t win. For the last 9 years, I’ve had to bear all of all the things you did to me. For 9 years I’ve had to overcome hurdles you created in my life. I’ve had to conjure up the confidence to even tell one person what happened to me. The most insane part about all of this is that you probably have no idea what you did. You probably just think you were fooling around when in real life you took advantage of me and my body almost every time we were together. I can’t help but shake the feeling that you’ve just ignored what you did because you never reached out and you have never apologized.

I want to ask you… why? Why would you think a sheltered, naive, 16-year-old girl (remember, you were 19 and knew better…) would be ok with the games you played? I was just a pawn to you. Why would you think that a child, a teenager, was in the right mind and was able to process those kinds of adult-like decisions at that age? How do you think I would even understand what consent meant, or even comprehended it, and could fully apply it in real life? I was only 16. I was barely halfway through high-school. You were in college! You were a legal adult! Put two and two together pal… That’s not a good look for you. You were old enough to know you were forcing me and you were old enough to know what was done.

Not only was the sexual abuse and manipulation hard enough to handle, you decided to play mind games with me. You already had me wrapped around your finger. Right where you wanted me. I was just your puppet. You had me thinking you were the answer to everything I wanted and needed in life. You tricked me into thinking I wasn’t going to college after graduation. You convinced me we were going to get married after high-school. To top it off, you even got me a ring “promising” that we would get married. Take a second… how in the world do you think a 16-year-old, that’s just trying to figure out who she should go to the football game with on Friday night, what color car she wants, and picking out her prom dress, could be able to process all of that?

What’s sad is, your manipulation tactics worked because my self-identity turned into you at that time. 

I was BRAINWASHED by you. 

How sick were you to do that to someone? 

Do you even remotely understand what all of this did to me emotionally and mentally?

For 5 whole years, I did not say a word. I did not tell a soul. I was silent. I did not speak up. I did not press charges. I hinted to some people, but I was too scared. I was scared people would think I was in the wrong. I thought what you did to me was ok… how crazy is that? I should have spoken up. I should have run to a pastor, to a mentor, to a family member. I should have pressed charges against you. I should have stood up for myself even though I said NO and even though I did NOT give consent. For 5 years, all of this welted up inside of me. I dealt with it, but I did not deal with it well. I had to navigate on finding my self-worth, and self-identity whenever I pretty much had Stockholm Syndrome. You wouldn’t believe how many hours I begged God to erase all the memories of those traumatizing moments. I daily fought having flashbacks and waking up in sweats from the nightmares. By trying to cope with all of this alone, I would just cry for no reason at all. Anytime a future boyfriend would get upset at me, I would physically curl up into a fetal position out of fear because that’s what was instilled in me. Ever since then I created this massive defense wall and promised myself that I would never let someone belittle me again. So, no matter what the situation, I would defend which wasn’t always ok. I adapted by creating an unhealthy defense mechanism towards any kind of confrontation or conflict. I had to figure out how to love again. I had to figure out how to trust someone. I had to learn how to allow people to hug me again or even just someone accidentally touching my arm and not freak out because I was being touched. I had to relearn so many things because of your actions. I even had to learn how to be good at hiding from you. I still had to live in our small hometown with you in it. I was terrified I would run into you and have to see your face again. Since you were my first “relationship” I had to navigate dating. Everything I “learned” from you was all I had to go off of. Guess what, that wasn’t a good starting point. The scars you created kept creeping into everything I did, even in new relationships.

The scars were deep, wide, painful, and traumatic. To know you are married now and your wife probably has no idea that you were a predator back then is the scariest thought. Because I didn’t speak up, there could have been other girls hurt by you, and that haunts me.

I did not truly run or surrender this to God in those first 5 years of me being silent. I just asked him to remove the pain. I just wanted to not remember. I just wanted to be numb. The amazing part is, He did way more than just removing the pain… The first time I spoke up about the abuse in full detail was to a Christian counselor. In order for me to fully let go, she had me explain everything and walk through the specifics. In that moment, I felt the Holy Spirit touch every scar and heal them. Your pain that you caused was gone. The suffering that came from your actions was paid for on the cross that Jesus died on.

The choices you made then are not held over you today. For years I have wanted an apology, but now I’ve surrendered that pain, the shame, the hate, the worries, all at the feet of Jesus. Because of His love shown through his sacrifice on the cross, I am able to forgive. I forgive you. With that forgiveness and healing, I have been able to go out and talk to other victims. I have been able to relate to them. Jesus has worked miracles with this story that I have. Guess what though? He didn’t want this to happen to me. He didn’t want you to do this to me. He wants you to run to Him too. He wants to love me and everyone else on this earth if you accept Him into your heart as your savior. I hope you have Christ as your Father. I hope you know Him and have a relationship with Him.

I want you to know I am in a good place now. I have faith that God is going to continue to use the mess that I was back then into a message. I know He is going to continue to show His love, and healing powers, in me by using my story. Know that because of God loving me and carrying me through this, I am blessed, I am powerful with Him, and I have won because I have Jesus.

I hope you’re winning now too.

– Kelise

To any victims out there, please reach out. Please go to your church. Cry out for help. Don’t let things continue on if you know it’s not right. Speak up. Talk to someone. PRAY. Cry out to Jesus. Ask Him to heal your wounds. Ask Him to carry you through. Ask Him to be your everything. Ask Him to be in your heart so He can be your heartbeat. With Jesus, everything is possible.

If you would like a listening ear to your story please email me on this blog and I would love to hear from you. 

The Red Flag Profile Down-Low… The Christian Version…

Are you a 21+, out of college, working, single, Christian woman hoping to stumble upon a Godly man online? This is whole shin dig post is for you then! I have built a “red flags” list for women that should be useful wakeup calls to show that they’re possibly swiping on the wrong kinds of men and how to avoid diving into conversations, dates, and possible relationships with men that aren’t the Godly guys they were hoping for. Continue reading

Dear Church Hunter…

Dear Church Hunter,

I write to you today letting you know you’re not alone. A lot of us are out there searching for a new home too. I’m currently on the hunt to find the place that I can believe in, have confidence in, dive deep in, have community in, worship in, grow in… It can be a tough challenge finding a church. Every time you find a new one you feel a little awkward because you’re getting the lay of the land trying to figure out what’s going on. You’re also trying to get yourself out of your comfort zone to see if this is a congregation you want to be apart of. Sometimes you end up in a place you had no idea what you were getting yourself into and it’s not what you believe in at all then you feel like you couldn’t run away faster. On the other hand, there’s that time that you just walk through those front doors and you feel the Holy Spirit telling you, “Yes.” As I’m on this hunting journey I’ve figured out a few things that are some red flags, some good indicators, and some things that are just food for thought.

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How to Talk to the Unemployed…

Let’s be straight for a second… most of us out there that are unemployed don’t like the word unemployed. We like to use words like job hunter because that is our current job is finding a new one. Unemployed is not a fun word. It has a huge negative connotation to it. People will turn their noses up at you when that word is labeled as you. Ultimately, it’s just a word, but it still kinda stinks. Overall, I’m still technically unemployed so it’s going to get brought up a lot so I might as well get used to it. Continue reading

When You Try And Try…

Do you ever just completely get down on yourself and feel like a failure? Maybe it’s just me, but it’s happened to me quite a bit lately because life can just be a little crazy sometimes. I have been trying so hard to be better at pretty much every single aspect of my life that my “trying” has made things even harder. My trying has built up worry in me, fear, doubt, and failure. I can’t be perfect, but man, I’m trying to be better.

I’m really good at letting Satan do his job on me. I don’t know why I continue to let him, but I’m trying to work on it. Satan is so good at worming his way into my thoughts when I have a short temper on something, when I am nervous about something, when I’m assuming about something, etc. Pretty much anything that I have a weakness with he finds the perfect setting for me to just walk through. He places doubt. He places fear. He puts so many ungodly thoughts in my head that I have now come to realize that life, a lot of the time, is a battle to fight Satan’s power over me. Continue reading

The Hallmark Spark

Oh Hallmark, how I love you so…

You pull at my heartstrings.

You show me relationships that get connected then torn down for one commercial break, then rejuvenated in the last 8 minutes of the movie.

You pick the most beautiful towns and neighborhoods in the US that I know I will never be able to afford to live in.

You have characters that have the dream jobs everyone would kill to have.

Most of all, you make me believe in the fairytale ending.

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Tell Your Heart to Beat Again.

Where do we go after we’ve been through the valleys? Who do we trust again after all the deep scarring? What can we allow our hearts to believe again? How much can we let someone in again? I think it’s one of the scariest things in life is to let someone enter your heart after all the excruciating pain. I see this happen the most when it comes to dating. Most of my readers know from past posts that I’ve been in a few abusive relationships. That hasn’t helped me in my dating life… at all… You promise yourself every day you’ll never let someone cause you pain like that ever again. It’s harder for people like us to fully trust others in dating relationships because abusers can take a giant piece of you. They can steal your ability to love again. They ruin your self-esteem. On top of it, all the abuse makes you build thick, wide, stone walls so you can’t get hurt again.

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