Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

2 Corinthians 1:10
But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not "Yes" and "No".

Do you say what you mean and mean what you say?

Is your "yes" authentic?  Is your "no" for real?

While I can answer all these questions in the affirmative now, there are years in my past when my addiction to people-pleasing clouds my sense of self.  That genuine self.  The one so burdened, so chained, it doesn't even know how to cry out for freedom.

Not wanting to step on toes.  Not wishing to hurt anyone's feelings.

I float on the tides of others.  Never making waves.  Saying nothing to rock the boat.

While my shrinking-violet self cowers on a shelf.  Gathering dust.  Insecurity.  Uncertainty.

Fear . . . 

Because, to express that self means I could make someone angry.  Resentful.  Spiteful.  Hurtful.

Peace!  I want peace.  At any cost.

A "yes" that should be a "no".  A "no" that should be a "yes".

And, I want to be liked.  By everyone.

Which is impossible.  

Because, the old adage is true - you can't please all the people all the time.  Nor, should you try . . .

Slowly, but surely, the hard way, I learn this.

I reclaim my self on the shelf.  Take her down gently.  Meticulously dust her off.

And, in seeing her restoration, I weep.  For all the times I ignored her.  Didn't trust her.  Refused to believe she could stand on her own two feet.  As, God knows she can . . .

I abandoned her.  She was so alone.  As I, in debonair nonchalance, thought I could make the world my friend.

When, all along, she deserves nothing less than my love.  God's love.


I know that now . . .


For, God's love finds me.  He calls me His friend.

I am precious in His sight.


And, now, He is the only one I wish to please.
~
Are you a recovering "people-pleaser"?  I welcome your stories here!


Will you join me in prayer?
Help us, Father, to be the real, authentic self You created us to be.  Thank You for your ever faithful love and friendship.  May we so do Your will and walk in Your ways that others will see Your steadfast love through us and come to know You.  Amen.


Readings
Psalms 6, 12 or 94
Lamentations 1:17-22
2 Corinthians 1:8-22
Mark 11:27-33

 

22 comments:

  1. Martha, I believe it is easier for women to become 'people pleasers' than men. For a long time, I lived this same life... always worried what others thought of me, doing anything and everything for everyone even when I knew I couldn't, or didn't really want to. I found myself ragged around the edges, and frustrated. It didn't take long for others to realize how easily I was manipulated into doing stuff for them that they really didn't want to do.
    Now that I'm older and my life has significantly changed, it is easier for me to appreciate who I am. I no longer worry about what others think. On occasion, when I am asked to do something, or go somewhere, I find myself analyzing my choice of answer before I open my mouth to make sure it is the answer that I truly want to give, not one of habit.
    This is a great post! Thank you so much for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Mary, and leaving such a thoughtful comment. It is so appreciated and I'm sure other readers will get so much out of it.
      I agree - I think the people-pleaser role is found more in women than in men; not sure why, but that's the way it is. So glad both of us were able to realize how this type of existence was frustrating us and were able to change.
      Blessings to you!

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  2. For many of us it is very hard to say what we mean in terms of YES and NO.. I have had to learn the hard way..till the point my health began to suffer... Now and has been for sometime I mean what I say and will be honest in what I am saying.. sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.. but no matter which way. I am at peace with my choice ... and now many accept and appreciate this honesty from me.... including myself!

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    1. Thanks so much, Savira, for stopping by and for your wonderful comment here.
      So glad to know you are now at peace with the choices you make. Not being true to ourselves can, indeed, lead to stress and health issues in our lives that wear us down and keep us from becoming all we can be.
      Happy, too, that you appreciate your honesty whether others understand or not! :)
      Blessings to you!

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  3. You have written so beautifully here, of how you ignored yourself and then finally came round to give yourself some attention. I read somewhere that the best way to make others happy is to make ourselves happy first (something like that) I have realised that if a person is unhappy, he she will willy nilly cause misery to others too. Pleasing others is ok but never at the cost of self because if we forget to value our own selves, who else would find it necesary to value us. I have seen that those who dont stand up for themselves, find others doing the same to them, treating them as trash and push overs. I have bent often for others but that has often been mistaken for my weakness. and when such people tried to ride my bent back, they found it shocking when I stood up for myself and flung them over. The shock they get has often distanced me from many relations, but I need to take care of myself where others are ungrateful for the concessions I make. I deserved my support and the ones from whom distances were built as a result didnt deserve me. Not to say such events are not painful and doubt creating initially....I have only learnt to not give the impression of a bent back to avoid giving the shock of discovery. Bent backs of all kinds draw back riders anyway!!!

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    1. Hi, Jerly! Thanks so much for stopping by today and leaving this beautiful comment.
      Love the image here of the "bent back", when people see our kindness or generosity as being an invitation for a free ride instead of taking it for what it is in the moment.
      Jesus tells us to love one another as we love ourselves. It is assumed that one WILL love oneself before s/he can give love to others. That is so true! We really have to love who we are and realize our own value before we can reach out in positive ways to others.
      Blessings to you!

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  4. Hi Martha:
    I'm with you here. I've learned as you have to be true to myself. As I wrote somewhere in my blog:
    Take me or leave me. I no longer worry what others think.

    It's taken me some time ton get here, but I refuse to go back.
    --
    Chris

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    1. Yes, Chris, there is definitely no going back once we strike out on this path. I do recall your saying "take me or leave me. I no longer worry what others think" in one of your posts. That is exactly the place to be!
      Thanks so much for stopping by today!
      Blessings to you!

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  5. I have done it a lot...pleasing others. And I do it still for people very close to me. Not with any negative intention or to gain appreciation, but sometimes out of respect.
    Many a times it takes away my energy.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by today, Janaki!
      People-pleasing sure can sap the energy - I can attest to this first hand.
      But, like you, I actually enjoy making those around me happy and feeling loved. It's just that I do so from a very different place from where I once was.
      Blessings to you!

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  6. Hello Martha. Happy Tuesday!
    I think in some point in our lives, we have all been people pleasers. I love my staff and joke with them daily, but as manager, there are times I have to discipline them, suspend them and even fire them. They might not like me as a result, but it's a necessary part of my job & one I undertake with as much respect and humility as I can muster. When all is said & done, it's only God's opinion of us that matters the most and to please Him, we have to convert our entire life to His principles as outlined in the Bible. There can be no deviations or man-made opinions.
    Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Andy!
      It surely can't be easy as a manager on those days you simply have to be the "boss", but it does take an firm hand to run any business. I like that you do so with "respect and humility".
      And, you are so right - we are put on earth to please God, to do His will and follow His ways. Imagine what this world would look like if we did so? Wow!
      Blessings to you!

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  7. Great post, Martha. I'm a recovering people pleaser myself. The funny thing I now realize is that pleasing other people without regard to my own feelings isn't nearly as satisfying as being authentic. Blessings to you, Martha!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, SweepyJean!
      You are so right - there is nothing more gratifying than being authentic in who we are. And, it seems there are a lot of recovering people-pleasers out there. We're not alone!
      Blessing to you, too!

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  8. Love the post (one of my favorites!) and especially the label: I'm a recovering people pleaser.

    I could write a whole blog on this myself (maybe I will) It has been an ongoing battle my entire life. Recovering is the key word here. Although I'm much improved it is such a natural part of me that I never know when it will crop back up....

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    1. So glad you liked the post, Lynne, and thanks for dropping by.
      You should write a blog about this! Just seeing how many comments I have had here from recovering people-pleasers just goes to prove there are a whole lot of us out there who need support so we don't allow that side of us to, as you say, "crop back up".
      Blessings to you!

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  9. Martha how beautifully you've expressed this. I used to be a yes-person at the cost of hurting myself. When I changed, I found that some people didn't like the change...but I kept on and like myself a whole lot better because of it. To be authentic, we have to learn to say 'no', I believe.

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    1. Yes, Corinne, we DO need to learn to say that "no" when we need to and mean it. As you said, others may not like the change they see in us, but we must remain true to ourselves.
      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your lovely compliment!
      Blessings to you!

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  10. I think I was an adult pleaser when I was younger. I was always looking for validation because of being separated from my biological parents at an early age. As the years went by though, I became stronger in my resolve and learned to trust myself. This was a great reminder that to thine own self be true. You can please some people only some of the time, but we should be working to please God all of the time! I love your prayers at the end of your posts. They always come right on time. :-)

    http://lyricfire.typepad.com/lyric-fire/2012/04/lyric-fire-napowrimo-2012-day-4-of-30-poems-in-30-days-jukebox-bennie.html

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    1. Thanks for dropping in today, Tameka, and sharing your comments here!
      I can certainly see where you would be coming from as a child - the fear of going through another loss, as you did, can certainly make us do everything possible to avoid another rejection.
      Glad you trust in yourself and are "working to please God all of the time!".
      So pleased that today's prayer met you where you are.
      Blessings to you!

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  11. I have lived all my years in life as a people pleaser. It cost me a lot of health problems. I had therapy sessions and SD to help me appreciate my real self. In the end, I lost control and my true self emerged. It appalled people.

    I always thought that the crisis I had four years ago took all my masks off. It made me look mad and crazy and shattered the dreams of many. I know I can't live double lives. So I live to be who I truly am.

    I ask for your prayers as I pray with you...may my Yes be a real Yes and my no a real No.

    Thanks Martha. I enjoyed your reflections as I prepare for confession.

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    1. Hi, Melissa, and thanks so much for visiting with me today!
      Oh, I will definitely pray for you, my friend. You have been through so much to recover your authentic self; it can, indeed, be painful, traumatic, and always risks that others will not understand the change in us. It takes great courage, sometimes, to be ourselves, and that is definitely what you've shown here.
      Blessings to you!

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