Sliding her feet backwards out of our small group circle my friend employed a "moonwalk" that would have Michael Jackson thrilled. "Don't make me confront. Just want to have fun."
Little did she know she was impersonating me.
The imposed solitude of being a writer has forced me to employ some life skills I've learned over the years as a people pleaser. The biggest lesson I've learned is that I cannot stop being a people pleaser.
If you're like me, God made you a fun loving, happy-go-lucky "party waiting to happen" person. I say "embrace" the PP in you.
I was reminded of that the other day when my teenager told me her friends' dad said he could have "a lot of fun" with me.( Wholesome fun~ no emails please :-)) After her friends laughed themselves silly over that nonsense...I realized if I can't change now, it's not going to happen. Besides what's wrong with being the person everyone wants to be with?
Here are some ways to unpack that propensity for fun and use it for good.
1. Find your passion in life. Look at the topics that grab your attention ~you may find the activities that will bring you the most joy. When you narrow down your priorities,passions and calling you can focus more on getting the task done. Less about the people. Now you have a more selective basis to determine whether to say yes or no to people who approach you for help. Focus on the gifts you have to share.
I'll give you an example. I love being a mom and totally enjoyed staying home with my children when they were young. Other people could clearly see my passion for young kids and would ask me to watch their kids or be involved in children's programs. Through trial and error I learned that I was a much better counselor than a child care giver.
2. People pleasers tend to purposely and intentionally build others up. Find like minded people to help you grow and blossom in the areas you know you are called to work. Not everyone will understand your passion. It's frustrating to be involved with activities and not be celebrated for the hard work you do. I know. I had to learn who to allow into my life to influence me for the good. You may be criticized or discouraged from not fitting into the crowd or not giving in to pressure but in the end you will be a much happier and more peaceful person when you do.
PP's tend to be all around "good guys" and the go to person when you need an extra hand. Just remember that job you're doing because you can't say no may be for another PP, not you.
3. Set a balanced schedule that works for you.
A good indicator of doing too much for others is emotional burn out. I've had to learn not to give in to the idea that every new opportunity is going to bring exciting adventures and interesting people into my life. Sometimes it does, but more often I end up getting in way over my head. It's very humbling going to those you've committed to do a project and tell them you can't finish. As people I've pleasers we've got tremendous energy to give. But no one can go on all cylinders 24/7 and not feel the effects of burn out. I used to say yes simply to receive affirmation from others. It feels good to be needed
4. Sometimes people pleasers are so loved by others that they are pressured to just "do this one little thing."
The PP lover will say something like this..."Oh, I know you have a lot on your plate. We all do. But, you're the only person we think that can do this job well." When you hear something like that run. Great communication between yourself and others as you set new boundaries will help to circumvent any hard feelings as you adjust from people pleasing.
5. Start every day strong as a God pleaser by spending time reading the bible.
The affirmation I crave as a PP is satisfied by spending time in the word of God. As the grip of the world falls away, time with the Father and his Holy Spirit will soon become the unending well of encouragement that you so desire. Only then can we PP's share the good things we have inside of us to a hurting world.
6. If you're married, there's a strong chance that your spouse is NOT a PP. My hubby likes to tell me that I should pretend other people are him when I need to say no. According to him, I have it mastered. Your family is the best place to go when you are sliding out of control. They will gladly tell you where you're going wrong and how to check yourself. :-)
We PP's need some downtime too. I will have a guest post next week as my family and I take a trip to recharge. In the meantime, enjoy the adventures of your life...and take a little time for yourself.