I used to label myself as a people pleaser to justify the fact that I was just too scared to stand up for myself.
Most situations were harmless, like lying to my waiter when he’d ask how I liked my food. I did that for my ENTIRE life up until the past few years, and it’s not really a huge deal. Thankfully, I have now discovered the freedom that comes with the courage to send back gross food! If I’m paying money for it, it needs to be quality- The Cheesecake Factory can handle the loss of throwing away one plate of nasty pasta!
Anyways, being a people pleaser isn’t always a bad thing. People who have this tendency are usually some of the most kind, empathetic, and thoughtful people. But getting in the habit of deferring to others can quickly become a slippery slope. I learned this the hard way.
I have always known that I wanted to save my virginity for my wedding night. I was brought up that way, and it is my personal decision to honor God, my future husband, and myself. But I almost threw all of that away because I was so terrified of letting another person down.
I dated a guy in high school who pretended to respect the boundary I’d drawn for our physical relationship, but actually just did a great job at hiding the fact that his goal was to gradually push the line further and further until I broke my promise of purity.
I thankfully never broke that promise, but my strength to say no was considerably weakened over time! My boyfriend’s persistent badgering ended up in me compromising more than I wanted to, and I suffered from it. I allowed my fear of disappointing him to become stronger than my personal convictions. From this experience, I learned that being a people pleaser is really code for being trapped within the confines of others’ expectations of you.
When you hate rocking the boat, but your boyfriend keeps asking you to take off your bathing suit top even when you’ve repeatedly said no, you might not say anything when he takes it off anyways and then turns it into a joke. (This was a different boyfriend, yikes!!) I can’t tell you the amount of times I was repeatedly pressured by guys to go physically farther than I was willing to.
This isn’t me anymore, but it used to be. I consistently prioritized the happiness of others over my own values. I wish I could say I stuck up for myself more, but it took some bad experiences for me to grow into the outspoken person I am today. These experiences taught me to wait until I found a man who respects me enough to wait until marriage without pushing the limits. And in that journey of learning to stand up for myself, I ended up with a man who exceeds my wildest dreams and shows me what real love looks like each day. He has brought me so much healing through the way he respects me! (Read more about that here)
From all this, I’ve learned that I won’t always be able to make others happy. And that’s okay, because that’s not my job!
If someone is pushing you to compromise your values, moral convictions, or safety, then they can deal with being let down. They’ll survive.
Never let your fear of hurting others result in hurting yourself, and never compromise your standards for another person’s happiness.