Friday, August 6, 2021

People Pleasing


A discussion about the origins and issues of people pleasing

~~ Watch the Video ~~


  • Galatians 1:10
  • Colossians 3:20-21
  • Isaiah 2:22
  • Matthew 10:28
  • Matthew 5:37
  • 2 Corinthians 9:7
  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Luke 6:26
  • Colossians 3:1-3
  • 2 Corinthians 10:18

“You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Galatians 1:10

“For am I now seeking the favor of people, or of God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”

  • Are you always concerned about what other people think about you?  
  • Do you find yourself saying yes to things when you really want to say no?  
  • Do you often withhold your true feelings to avoid conflict?  
  • Do you agree to commitments secretly knowing that you plan to back out or cancel later?  

If so then you might be a People Pleaser.

For people pleasers, their public image is really a collection of everyone else's expectations.  

Some of us were wearing masks long before the pandemic.

People pleasing is something I’ve been working on myself for the past year.

What Is a People Pleaser?

People pleasers have a hard time saying no and they spend majority of their time doing things for other people

  • They don’t want to

Not talking about

  • Serving for God
  • Taking care of your responsibilities
  • Obeying authority
  • Obeying parents
  • Providing for your children/family
  • Common courtesy


  • Doing it to look good
  • Scared to say no

People pleasers have the belief that if they are good, they will be loved, get their needs met, and live a problem free life.

What are your reactions to that statement?


  • Introduction
  • Traits of Wholeness
  • What is People Pleasing?
  • Causes of People Pleasing
  • Characteristics of People Pleasers
  • Traps of Being a People-Pleaser
  • Problems With Being a People Pleaser
  • Put Your Identity in Christ

We’re going to

  1. Define what a People Pleaser is
  2. Point out some traits that people pleasers won’t want to admit about themselves

Traits of Wholeness

We are in our series called Seeking Wholeness

How can we be  _______ healthy

  • spiritually
  • emotionally
  • mentally

Dealing with life’s current stresses and also being healed from experiences/wounds of the past

We’re not just supposed to get eternal life

  • We’re supposed to have: joy, peace, patience, and self control here on earth

Traits of Wholeness

  1. Authenticity
  2. Honesty
  3. Kindness
  4. Not seeking external approval / validation
  5. Living by values and principles
  6. Setting Boundaries
  7. Taking ownership of your responsibilities
  8. Living with purpose and passion
  9. Optimism
  10. Confidence
  11. Healthy relationships with others
  12. Not losing control of your emotions
  13. Free from addictions
  14. Addressing Conflict
  15. Vulnerability
  16. Not critical or Judgmental
  17. Not jealous
  18. Forgive those who have wronged you in the past
  19. Know that you’re worthy of receiving love
  20. Not afraid to fail
  21. Able to manage irrational fear, worry, and anxiety
  22. Selfless encounters with others
  23. Not manipulating others trying to control their actions/reactions
  24. You care about how others feel
  25. Patient
  26. Don’t give into peer/social pressure
  27. Can communicate directly
  28. Being led by the Spirit

What is People Pleasing?

Everyone Is Selfish Sometimes

There’s nothing wrong with

  • Wanting to please your parents
  • Wanting to please your spouse
  • Wanting to be liked and approved off by others
  • My friends
  • By family
  • Coworkers

Nothing wrong with

  • Being selfish at times
  • Self care

The Opposite Problem

  • no concern in the opinions or feelings of others
  • selfish and self centered
  • Entitled
  • Never help anyone unless it benefits you

The Issue With People Pleasing

Your life is shaped by your fear of

  • Being judged
  • Being rejected by other people
  • Other people looking down on you

People pleasing may be caused by a fear of

  • Rejection
  • Not being accepted
  • Missing out
  • Being told no
  • Conflict

Fear of Rejection

“If you live for people’s acceptance you will die from their rejection.” Lecrae

Fear of disapproval

Affects what you

  • Wear
  • Say
  • Eat
  • Hairstyle

Causes of People Pleasing

Colosians 3:20-21

20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. 21Fathers, do not antagonize your children, so that they will not become discouraged

  • to stir up, excite, to provoke, anger

Invalidated Feelings

You can become a people pleaser if your parents invalidate your feelings.

  • “Stop crying you shouldn’t be sad”
  • “You’re going to eat it and you’re going to like it”

You never learn to cultivate and honor your own feelings and intuition.  

You Tried to Manage The Feelings of a Parent

“Don’t make mommy mad”

  • You made the child responsible for your emotions

You grow up trying to get the appropriate response from someone else.  

You may be fixated on making sure her mother was happy.

  • Making sure that she didn’t upset her.
  • “ I have to get good grades so mommy doesn’t get mad“

Couldn’t Make Decisions

  • Your parents make all of your decisions for you
  • This is how codependency is born

You don’t take responsibility for your decisions because you don’t trust yourself

What You Become

You become over reliant  on your friends

  • What should I do
  • What are they going to think

Opinion by committee

Rachel’s Story

Rachel ended up in a relationship with a man who wouldn't fulfill her needs or respect her boundaries.

She stayed with him to avoid the depression she would feel if she broke up.  

  • Rachel‘s father was unavailable to her emotionally and unwilling to show love to her.
  •  she was trying to fill the space that her father should’ve filled with destructive people
  • they  never fill the need

Meeting the Needs of Others

  • Your emotions weren’t attended to
  • If you were agreeable and took on other’s needs you fit in more ...people acted positively
  • To get your need of belonging met you had to exile your other needs
  • When someone tries to meet your needs you shut down
  • You learned in order to get my needs met I need to push my needs away

Exercise 1

What messages that were communicated by your family seem to imply that you weren’t OK just as you were?

Characteristics of People Pleasers

Seeking Validation Through Approval

Isaiah 2:22

22 Take no account of man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils;

For why should he be esteemed?

They want to:

  • ensure others have a good impression of them
  • minimize conflict

They feel unaccepted or disapproved of if their partner is

  • Depressed
  • in a bad mood

Methods of Getting Approval

Different people use different methods to try to gain approval from others.

These methods include:

  • Having one's hair just right
  • Being smart
  • Having a pleasant nonthreatening voice
  • Appearing unselfish
  • Be different from other men/women
  • Staying sober
  • Being in good shape
  • Being a good dancer
  • Being a good lover
  • Never getting angry
  • Making other people happy
  • Being a good worker
  • Having a clean car
  • Dressing well
  • Being nice
  • Respecting women
  • Never offending anyone
  • Appearing to be good

People pleasers use these things to seek approval and get external validation

Approval From Others

Avoid Conflict

Matthew 10:28

And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Story: honey bun

Agreeing with whoever is in front of you

Matthew 5:37

But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil origin.

  • Don’t say “I swear”; “I promise”

Having to swear or make oaths betrays the weakness of your word. It demonstrates that there is not enough weight in your own character to confirm your words.

— Dave Guzik commentary

Example: Cousin -

  • I can take you to get some shoes
  • We can stop by and see the casino on the way back

trying to please everyone they end up pleasing no one

Not loyal

Not being able to say no

2 Corinthians 9:7

Each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver

If this is the case for tithing/worship, how much more should it apply to people?

  • Overcommitted
  • Regret not standing up for themselves
  • Back out later

Taking Responsibility for Emotions of Others

People pleasers often make themselves responsible for the emotional responses of others.

If someone feels bad, they blame themselves or fear that person thinks they’re the problem.

If a person they desire is in a bad mood they believe they must do something quickly

They are hypervigilant to responding to the moods of their partners.  

To fix it

  • Apologize for things not their fault
  • Offer solutions
  • Sacrifice self
  • Manipulate
  • Lie

In Relationships

If she is angry, depressed, or distressed he will feel anxious until she is better.  

This can eventually create rage towards their partner.  

  • “They don’t appreciate me”  

Covert Contracts

A covert contract is: I will do this for you, so that you will do this for me.  

  • We will both act as if we have no awareness of this contract  

They have unverbalized expectations from their efforts/actions

  • I did it for them; they should do it for me
  • If I cook then you should wash the dishes
  • Since did X for you, they should do Y for me
  • I deserve ___ for all I’ve done

Exercise 2

  1. Identify at least one covert contract between you and a significant other
  2. What do you give?
  3. What do you get in return?
  4. Share the contract with the other person
  5. Ask the other person how it feels to respond to an unclear agenda

We’re Not Talking About

Fear of physical danger or death

Obeying authority

  • Boss
  • Parents
  • Police

Taking care of your responsibilities

  • Accepted a role
  • Maid
  • Children / parents

Not saying be selfish and don’t about the feelings or well-being of others

Cultural restrictions

  • Wearing a shoes/shirt

Traps of Being a People-Pleaser

Proverbs 29:25

25The fear of man brings a snare,

But one who trusts in the LORD will be protected.

Constant people-pleasing behavior can lead to:

Built-up resentment

You may find yourself bottling up anger because you feel that people take advantage of you.

Express frustration by

  • Passive-aggressive comments
  • Pulling away from people
  •  instead of letting them know what’s going on and working to improve the situation

Lack of self-care

Constantly devoting yourself to meeting the needs of others can cause you to neglect your own.

You may find yourself getting sick or mentally burned out

Inability to enjoy yourself

The stress from constant people pleasing can make it hard to enjoy simple pleasures like going out for ice cream or watching your favorite TV show. Committing yourself to a lot of different things can make it hard for you to wind down and relax because of the constant stress.

Example: didn’t watch movies alone

  • Didn’t watch TV - just studies

You Won’t Like Yourself

If you are caught in the trap of pleasing people you will always need someone to like you in order for you to like yourself.  

An attachment to an outcome is resistance that will prevent you from getting what you want.

The more we chase and seek validation on the outside the more we lack it on the inside. 

So then you’ll need it more to validate yourself.

You shouldn’t need anyone else to like you in order for you to like yourself.

It Prevents Connection

People are not drawn to perfection in others

People are drawn to

  • common interests
  • shared problems
  • an individual‘s life energy

People will automatically be drawn to you if you are real.

Hiding your imperfections makes you inhuman, vague, slippery, lifeless, and uninteresting.  

People eventually realize you’re just sugarcoating things to make them happy.

Their dependency on external validation prevents people from getting to know them as they truly are.  

When you release your attachment to the outcome people will start liking you more.

People pleasers build walls that prevent others from getting too close.  

Susceptible to Manipulation

Reacting to emotions of others

This gives their partner the power to set the tone of a relationship.  

  • Their mood is tied to their partners… If she is happy, so is he.


  • Narcissists
  • Manipulators
  • Emotional vampires
  • Users

Exercise 3

Ask Yourself

  • Do you believe the people can see your human imperfections and still love you?
  • How would you be different if you knew the people that cared about you would never leave you or stop loving you no matter what?
  • If you did not care what people thought of you, how would you live your life differently?

Problems With Being a People Pleaser

Luke 6:26

“Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.

Not Authentic

“People pleasing hides the real you.”

If you expose your true self and it gets criticized it hurts more

Hide Their Flaws

Everything a people pleaser does is calculated to try to win approval or avoid disapproval.  People pleasers see any mistake or anything bad as proof that they are unlovable.  

They believe that if anyone sees how bad they really are it will be hurt, shamed or abandoned.  

People pleasers believe they must hide or distract attention from any perceived shortcomings.  

  • If they forget something
  • If they are late
  • If they don’t understand something
  • If they are depressed
  • If they are in pain
  • If they generally mess up


Write down times when you have tried to cover up the above.

Don’t Stand For Anything

If everybody likes you you probably haven’t taken a stand for anything


People pleasers become whatever their friends or associates want them to be at the moment.

Don’t Own Mistakes

Mature people take responsibility for their actions. When they make a mistake or act inappropriately they apologize, make amends, or try to repair the damage.

People pleasers may try to fix situations by doing whatever it takes to get the other person to stop being upset.


  • Defend
  • Explain
  • Excuse
  • Rationalize

  • minimize

If confronted with an issue the people pleaser may try to turn the table and say something to trigger the other person … shame dumping.

Can Be Dishonest

Most people pleasers pride themselves on being honest and trustworthy.  

Ironically many people pleasers will resort to dishonest things to keep approval.  

To avoid negative focus

  • tell lies
  • partial truths
  • omit information

Can Lead to Seeking Validation In the Wrong Place

When we feel unseen, we may start doing things that aren’t consistent with our character in order to gain recognition from people.  

God said he will reward you publicly for what you do in private

  • David had to kill a lion and a beer in private before he got his public victory

We don’t graduate from our need for approval when we leave high school… It just gets more expensive

What would it be like to live with God as our audience?

  • Instead of our dysfunctional friends and family

“The Father saw…”

If the world gave you the trophy… They can take it back

Exercise 4

Ask Yourself

  • Do you believe that people can see your human imperfections and still love you?
  • How would you be different if you knew the people that cared about you would never leave you or stop loving you no matter what?

Put Your Identity in Christ

Colossians 3:1-3

Therefore, if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

We get judgment from other people.

  • We get judgment from ourselves.

They only judgement that matters is God’s

You only see my actions, God sees my heart.

When my identity is in Christ

  • I’m free from your judgment
  • I’m free from my judgment

God is a big thing and other people become a small thing

Story: Jaden looked up to see if Bryan was pleased

I need to be secure in knowing that what I’m doing is pleasing to the Father

Example: Went Public with My Christianity

  • Was identified in church as a teacher, etc.
  • Everything was private before
  • Now I’m identified as
  • Future job interview

2 Corinthians 10:18

For it is not the one who commends himself that is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.

Instructor: Michael Leadon


Identity, Freedom and People Pleasing

Bryan Loritts

Why are you should stop being a people pleaser

Dr. Melanie

You can’t let others control you

Steven Furtick

No More Mr. Nice Guy

Robert Glover


John 12: 42-43

 42Nevertheless many, even of the rulers, believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, so that they would not be excommunicated from the synagogue; 43for they loved the approval of people rather than the approval of God.

Rejection sensitivity dysphoria

  • Be easily embarrassed
  • Get very angry or have an emotional outburst when they feel like someone has hurt or rejected them
  • Set high standards for themselves they often can't meet
  • Have low self-esteem
  • Feel anxious, especially in social settings
  • Have problems with relationships
  • Stay away from social situations and withdraw from other people
  • Feel like a failure because they haven't lived up to other people's expectations
  • Sometimes think about hurting themselves

External Referencing

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