By Captain Jennifer R. L. Schmidt – Special to the Navarro County Gazette
Forming A New Support Group- PPNA- People Pleasers Not Anonymous
For years I have joked that I am in recovery of being a people pleaser. As a child I was called a teacher’s pet, and some less pleasant names, as it seemed that I was quite often the teacher’s favorite, though it was never intentional on my part.
As I look back now over the years what I realize is that it was not that I wanted to be the teacher’s pet because I wanted to be the favorite, or that I wanted to be recognized over others. Instead, it was my desire to be affirmed, to please others and make them happy, including teachers and adults, that I would find myself taking the steps need to please them.
I found peace in knowing that they were happy with me, and the thought of displeasing someone would cause me unparalleled stress. I would even develop stress migraines in eleventh grade, for while I desired to please others, being as human as we all are, there were obvious times that I would fail to live up to expectations, even my own, sometimes ridiculously high stipulations.
Another thing that I have realized now as an adult, is that this drive I felt to please others was none other then a form of anxiety, that was even causing and manifesting itself negatively in my life emotional, physically, mentally, and even spiritually as well. Being diagnosed with an anxiety disorder though was just the start of learning and healing process. It is indeed still a process that I am continuing daily, as I strive to find a holy holistic balance in my own life.
It is often said that we can be our own worst critics, and for me I has always found that so. The question though is who do you blame when you best isn’t good enough for you, even though you know you gave it your best, or at least you thought so. In this I had to learn about grace.
Grace in understanding that we may not have all the answers to the riddle that life came seem. My favorite scripture passage is Psalm 139. It is just recently that I have begun to see one of the verses in a new light.
Psalm 139:14, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
I am fearfully and wonderfully made, it sounds wonderful, but it also means that it can be to a level of complexity that I may not even understand. I also know though that in striving to please others, including myself, I need to remember that God’s works are wonderful, I am wonderful, made in His image, just like we all are, and we should never forget it.
We may not always find the answers to everything in life. When we strive to live our lives though by pleasing ourselves and others, it can just add undue stress when we seem to fall short or fail. We need to remember that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made, complex beings, and show each other a little grace.
Start with showing yourself grace and continue by showing it to others. Grace, like kindness can make all the difference. When we focus on showing others grace and kindness, as supposed to “pleasing them” we can rest assured that, while they may not always be happy, we are truly giving them our best.
We can then be in recovery of the stress that can come from being a people pleaser, and not even worry if others find out that we are changing, as we show grace and kindness to even ourselves as we grow.