Escaping From The Trap of People-Pleasing

Hi. My name is Elizabeth and I am a people pleaser.

Yep, its true. Always have been. And until recently I was sure I would always be trapped in this constant cycle of striving to please everyone around me and ultimately getting no where and just feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.

I am the type of person that just can’t stand disappointing others around me. I don’t like being the one that has to “let people down”, even if that means putting my wants and often time my needs on the back burner. I can handle someone being angry with me, yelling at me, calling me all kinds of ugly things but the minute you tell me I have disappointed you I will crumble into a million tiny pieces.

I have made all the decisions in my life base on this foundation. I take the time to think things through when a challenge or opportunity presents itself. However, often times the evaluation is done though the lense of “what will (insert name here) think?”

How will my friends react to my decisions? Will they laugh or make fun of me?

What will my parents think if we do this or that thing? Will they still support and be proud of me?

If I write, read, study (insert subject hereh will my professors still see potential in me? Will they still invest time in me or will I become a lost cause?

All of these are things that pass through my mind as I attempt to navigate through my daily life.

The more I found myself living this life of questioning and seconding guessing the more I began to feel I was drifting further and further away from my walk with the Lord.

As I began researching what the Bible has to say about being a people pleaser I stumbled upon a blog that was written by Pastor Rick Warren on his blog. In this blog he talked about how being a people pleaser is, in reality, a form of idolatry.

Ouch. Idolatry.

According to the Merriam-Webster website Idolatry is defined as:




  1. 1:  the worship of a physical object as a god
  2. 2:  immoderate attachment or devotion to something.

When God brought the Israelite people out of Egypt and a life of slavery He gave them 10 basic rules to follow, His 10 Commandments.

The first of the commandments tells us to have no other gods before the one true Lord. The second commandment says to not make an idol for yourself. (Ephesians 20)

Taking into account what the Bible says and adding to that what the dictionary defines idolatry to be I realized just how guilty of breaking these 2 commandments I really am.

You see, the more I focus on what the PEOPLE around me thing, feel, and will react to the decisions I make in my life the less time I have to focus on what the one individual that really matters thinks about my decision making skills.

Paul says in Galatians 1:10

10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people?<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29068T" data-link="(T)” style=”background-color: white; box-sizing: border-box; font-family: “helvetica neue” , “verdana” , “helvetica” , “arial” , sans-serif; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

I had never stopped to take into consideration that by my desire to have every individual around me like me, approve of my life choices, and be proud of me I was isolating and ignoring the One who ultimately matters. The one who created me, loves me, and died for me.

So What Do I Do Now?

How do I correct this problem? How do I break the cycle of people pleasing and not focusing on the Lord’s desire for my life?


The way I seek approval from those around me is in conversation. I talk to them and I tell them what I am doing, why, and how it will better my life. It only makes sense that I would need to do the same thing with God. However, rather then me TELLING God what I am doing and why, I need to LISTEN to the direction God has for my life.

Read the Bible

God lays out His plan for us in His Word. He gives guidance and direction. The only way I can know what that plan is by being in His Word. Rather than spending that 15 to 20 minutes on the phone or the internet talking with others around me I can take that time to study the God’s plan book.

Have Confidence in the Decisions I am making after Prayer and Study

Proverbs 31:25 tells us that the “Proverbs 31 Woman” is clothed in strength and dignity and that she can laugh at the time to come. Why? Because she is confident in the lifestyle she has. The decisions that she and her husband have made for themselves. While I don’t think that the woman described in the last chapter of Proverbs is a woman that I have to emulate 100 percent all of the time I do believe that this is one example I can follow.
Jesus said: “I don’t try to please myself, but I try to please the One who sent me.” Ultimately, my goal in life is to do all things to please God. From my education, to my homemaking and home management, and my parenting. It is my responsibility to teach and train my children to have the ultimate focus of pleasing God as well. The more they see me be confident in my decision making as well as my ability to “let people down” or not be able to fulfill everything that someone expects or needs from me, the more they will be able to live fulfilling and healthy lifestyles as well.

Are you a recovering People-Pleaser? What have you done to break free from that?


11 thoughts on “Escaping From The Trap of People-Pleasing”

  1. Hi I am following you from Titus Tuesday. As soon as I learned that I only have to please God – that took off all the pressure. I would love you to link to Word of God Speak.Blessings,Janis


  2. Janis! Thank you for stopping by. It is amazing how freeing it can be to just let go of people's expectations and trust in the love of God isn't it! I would love to join Word of God Speak. 🙂


  3. This is a great post!!!! I'm an anti people pleaser and I find it so hard to know what people pleasers really want, mean, think and feel. The most disappointing thing is when I feel someone has been doing lip service towards me (a form for idiolatry)just to please me, but it wasn't what they really meant or felt or thought. I don't get angry, but we could have spent time wiser. I guess I am very opposite your personality haha, but that is great, we all need to be different and who we created to be. I guess my very abusive upbringing made me confront my father when I became a Christian. I was taking so much abuse before that, and coming to Christ made me realize that God is clear and I should be clear. He doesn't go around the mountain but writes it in stones. To kill all the B.S I had to cut through and I was also set free from the doormat abuse. Later, I discovered Joyce Meyer and I love her teachings, she says you cannot both be pitiful and powerful at the same time. Being a people pleaser is the doorway to self pity cause we actually neglect what we truly mean and think and that is a violation of a standard- we are not true to ourselves or others. Of course we can always be nice, and let people have their way from time to other, to be right all the time is highly overrated. But that is the difference between the spirit of self righteousness/legalism and the spirit of Truth – which God has told us to be true to ourselves. Bless you for getting on this journey👍🏼😊 and once you don't succeed pick your self up and try again 🙂


  4. I am/was in the same boat. Honestly I still find it a challenge some days but when push comes to shove at the end of the dat I only need to worry about what HE thinks and he thinks I am ok 🙂


  5. In the past, I've definitely been a people pleaser, since I HATE conflict. But as I've gotten older, I've come to not care as much about making decisions based on how people might think of me. One such example, I homeschooled my daughter last year. I had friends tell me, “Oh you should do CC (Classical Conversations).” But my husband and I decided not to do that. We have NUMEROUS friends at church who do CC. Once we made a decision, I have not wavered. Yes, they still want me to consider CC, but at this time in our life, it's not for us.


  6. I am really working toward that in my life. I really want to get more comfortable with my own decisions and be confident in what my husband and I are choosing for our family. Thank you for stopping by.


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