The People Pleaser Stronghold

Hi, my name is Alex, and I'm a people pleaser.

It started out innocently enough. The need to gain approval, to be loved, things all children long for. But it quickly spiraled into caring, with great significance, what people thought about me.

My identity became rooted in who liked me and who did not. I accepted what others saw in me. I was who everyone else said I was. Good or bad, those became the voices in my head.

I did things, not out of love and kindness, but out of obligation. Out of my need to be approved, and it made me bitter and resentful.

I took responsibility for things that weren't mine. I became the Savior. I would save everyone, then they'd like me more. But being the Savior is exhausting.

And it certainly wasn't in love. It was out of my need for love.

When I thought necessary, I lied. I made up realities to find and gain approval, ones that had no root in the truth.

And I constructed a world around me that was based on my lens for love. I saw people through it, not as people to love, but as people who should love me. People became my pawns in a game of neediness that had no end.

And in that game, people got hurt, intentionally or not.

I hurt myself.

Using people as my source for anything was disappointing. I walked away every time feeling like less of a person than when I'd begun. People pleasing was my stronghold, my drug of choice, my coping mechanism. People became my source for identity, love, and security.

But God.

He's speaking to my heart and to the lies that I believe. That He is meant to be my source of comfort, love, and security. That with Him there is no obligation or task that I can do to make Him love me more, for He cannot love me less. His yoke is easy, His burden light. There are no strings attached to His approval or love.

He loves me for who I am, not what I do.

To live in a world where I don't strive for approval, where I can set healthy boundaries without fear, these concepts are foreign and hard for me. But that makes them none-the-less true.

I am learning a new normal, a new reality, and it's step by step. I am an infant in this way. But I do trust Him. I trust Him to lead me when and where I'm ready to go. And I find that as I go, as I brave the outside world, the one that's scary and new that it suites me. The cage I had placed around myself seems smaller and uglier, and this world, the one where God gives me my identity seems all the more desirable.

In a way, I am grateful for this new place. This valley that seems scary and exhilarating. That God would not condemn me to live a life in the place the I built for myself, but the place He has for me.

A new way to see, to live, and to love.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
People only see what they are prepared to see


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