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Confessions of a Recovering People Pleaser

In a previous post I talked about how 2016 will be the year of “This is Me”. My hope is to finally see myself the way God sees me and unashamedly live my life out loud. My turning point came after being pressed to look back at one of the most uncertain times of my life: My parents’ divorce when I was 10 years old.

The divorce shook my world. When you come out of a divorce as complex and volatile as my parents’, it’s natural to find ways to cope. In the aftermath, I felt it was my job to keep everyone happy.  I used to work hard to please both of my parents. When I couldn’t, I focused on pleasing one. Approval seeking became a way of life. If I didn’t get it from one place, I somehow sought it from another.

I had become a people pleaser.

I had become a people pleaser. It was the only way I knew how to navigate in a world that had become unrecognizable. People pleasers have a way of living in the open yet remain hidden at the same time. I never wanted to let others down and tended to hide my true feelings to keep the peace. It was a deep-rooted mentality that subconsciously ruled my life.

For a long time, I’ve sought the approval of certain individuals despite my desire to seek only Gods’. Now I can see the many times I’ve said ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no’ out of fear of disappointing others or being perceived as uncaring. I know that I am capable of incredible things yet I have doubted my ability to be successful at them.  I’ve feared that I won’t live up to the vision that God has given me.

people pleasing quote

It’s difficult to break out of a mindset you’ve lived out of for decades. Despite the sense of familiarity and safety in it, I decided to make a choice and allow God to challenge my thinking. To search my heart and reveal what has held me back from truly living out loud.

I’ve never felt freer than I do today. I value myself and choose to no longer play down my gifts. I understand now that my ‘no’ is just as powerful as my ‘yes”. I recognize what has been within me: bravery. I want to shout from a mountaintop “I get it now”! As a recovering people-pleaser, I invite you to break away from the approval seeking that comes from self-doubt. Allow God to bring truth and balance to your world. When you set your heart on what pleases God, everybody wins including you.

“I’m not good enough.”

“I don’t think I can do this.”

These thoughts have often run through my mind when I come across a new opportunity. I see something that aligns with the desires of my heart and often instead of running towards it, I turn the other way.

On my journey to pursue trust, I have to consciously choose to follow through on the opportunities that scare me. This has opened my eyes to some insecurities that have chipped away at my confidence for years. The biggest insecurity is the idea that I am not good enough. This lie has created a pattern that causes me to take myself out of the game before it even starts. I remember the first time I did this. I was encouraged to join the track team in 9th grade. I was a quick runner but had never raced anyone other than street races against my cousins and siblings. The school’s first race day arrived and I was ready! My team was cheering me on as I ran and I just knew I was going to win. Sadly, I finished the race in last place.  I was devastated, embarrassed, and felt like a failure as I thought,  “You are not good enough to be on this team.” On the ride back home I decided that was the end of my track “career.” Nineteen years later this idea of not being good enough still makes me want to quit. That was how I felt after returning home from worship practice last week.

I told my husband “I’m going to quit, this is too hard.” As soon as I said it, something shifted. This time saying it out loud not only sounded lame but it immediately felt lame. To quit now meant that I was saying yes to LAME– Living a Mediocre Experience. I couldn’t do it! If I am to continue my pursuit of trusting God, that means saying yes to BRAVE- Be Resilient and Value Experience.

“Experience is a grindstone; and it is lucky for us, if we can get brightened by it, and not ground.” Josh Billings

Your experiences are not always fun, but they are valuable because they help to maximize your potential and inspires others to live more brave. Today and everyday I will keep saying yes to BRAVE. 

Your turn. How can you avoid being LAME and say yes to BRAVE?

1. Think about your last bad experience how can it lead you to phenomenal success?

2. Ask someone that you trust to share areas where they see you being LAME. Trust me-people can see it and those that love you will call you out.

3. Celebrate! When you’re afraid, it’s a sign to let you know this opportunity is going to produce a powerful outcome.

Guest Blog Story: Bravery Starts with our Yes

Three letter word, yes.

Bravery starts with our yes. We have a choice. I have a choice, a daily choice. I can be busy and get soaked in the weight of life or I can be still and commune with God. I can hear and experience the sweet voice and gifts that we are given daily or bypass them. As the new year comes under way, lets remember that we have a choice to be brave and create new friendships, a choice to say yes and embrace Gods great gifts, to dwell in the beauty or sorrow that moments in life may bring. Because being brave will not always look like rainbows and colorful bouquets of flowers , it will not feel like biting into that piece of decadent chocolate cake; it may hurt a bit, it may sting like a bee, but

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

that’s where the beauty of life comes in. We have a choice to experience REAL hope, grace, compassion and mercy. Although a yes may mean we get to see and take apart ugly parts of ourselves- there is grace. Although a yes may mean we have to talk about uncomfortable subjects with individuals we hold dear to our hearts or those we are creating new friendships with- there is love. Although a yes may mean stepping into the unknown, there is hope that whatever and wherever the Lord has called you to will be greater and bigger than what you can imagine because He stands, before, after, and next to you. God is near and God sees your bravery. God acknowledges your bravery. I can say that I have seen the Lord in all of these and so many other facets on my move to Seattle last summer. These last 5 months have been tough- like REALLY tough, but because of faith, because of the immense love He bestows in each and every place I go to, I will continue to say yes where He leads. I will continue to trust and continue to find the many gifts that are present daily. I am learning to say yes.

Much love,

Anahi

Take some time to ponder on:

Where and in what ways can you take a moment and commune with God?

What are some of the gifts God is giving you?

How can you say yes to something new- daily/weekly/monthly/yearly?

Guest Blog Story: A Little Bravery Goes a Long Way

Four years ago, I did something a little crazyokay, maybe not crazy, but a little brave. I got on a plane to go abroad for the first timealone.  I didnt know who would be meeting me on the other side of the Atlantic, but I had a feeling that it would all work out. Seven continents and 20 countries later, Id say that my hunch was on point.

Out of all of my travels, the greatest bravery that I found was in surrendering. Releasing my motives, my agenda, and my plan, and courageously clinging to God’s perfect will was where I found extreme bravery.  Braver than boarding a ship to sail with 90 strangers to the coldest continent on Earth. Braver than jumping beside a waterfall with only strangers at the bottom to see me surface. Braver than sleeping at a stranger’s house in Sydney, Australia and trusting that it would all work out. I mean, this bravery that I speak of is far beyond all of that. It’s deeper. In surrendering, I’ve experienced a freedom that has no boundaries. (Tweet it!) No zip codes. No limits. This bravery takes me to places that fear will never see.

This bravery manifested in this simple prayer to the Lord: I have a “yes” waiting for you. That “yes” has placed me before Buddhist monks. That “yes” has sandwiched me between atheists and agnostics, Christians and Muslims, colleagues and strangers. That “yes” has walked me down beautifully mysterious roads in Malindi, Kenya. It’s nestled me safely in various flats in Hangzhou, China. It’s welcomed me to teach women at two universities in Saudi Arabia. That “yes” took me much further than any “no” would’ve ever taken me. That’s why I have a “yes” waiting for Him. That “yes” places me in the safest place: His will.

Every time I get crazy enoughI mean, brave enough to get on another plane, I connect with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. I connect with people who have their hands out to give. Im stretched and humbled. Im challenged to do more, be more, and give more. I’m challenged to surrender. And with a grateful heart, I say “yes.”

This time last year, I made my final payment for my trip to Antarctica. I had this wild idea three years ago to see all seven continents by my 30th birthday. God had a wilder idea: to connect me to people around the globe who would pour into me, pray for me, challenge me, and strengthen me. As I thaw off from my trip to that frigid continent, I can’t help but smile. Bravery took me to a place that fear will never see. Where will bravery take us next?  

Follow more of Karissa’s adventures at sevenby30.com!

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