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.

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