Is Pleasing Others Wrong?

Are you one of those people who love to help others and be involved in their lives? Can you easily understand and empathize with others’ pain? Do you have a difficult time in saying no?

Caring for others is important for relationships with family and friends, but taking it to extremes is not conducive to building healthy relationships.

Dysfunctional behavior starts early. Children are to be seen but not heard. They develop ways to cope by trying to be good. Maybe love had to be earned this way?

Thinking about others more than yourself is commendable. Some people just can’t say no when they are asked to help. Being involved in the lives of others is their way of life. They have a need to be validated. Then when they get so overwhelmed they get burned out, maybe physically, and emotionally for sure. Then resentment builds up. They wonder why no one is joining them.

In the church, they are there at every function working tirelessly until they are worn out. In the workplace, they work overtime without pay and without expecting anything back. They are pleasing those in authority over them.

In the home, a wife may be a husband pleaser. When he comes home, she is there with dinner on the table even when she rushes home from work herself. Whatever he desires, she is there to meet his wants and needs. It may not be her type of movie, but she will not give her opinion. She will fit into his lifestyle. After all, she doesn’t have her own plans.

Then there are the kids. The boundaries are blurred as a mother tries to please her teenagers. Wanting to be a friend instead of a parent is what drives her. When the kids have problems, she takes care of them without thinking about the consequences. She majors in problem solving. As her insecurity deepens, she becomes frustrated at her children’s lack of respect. As they mature into adulthood and step into their careers and have own families, she wonders why the distant relationship. She is no longer needed in their busy lives. This people pleaser parent sets herself up for depression as resentment festers.

Approval addiction can result in disastrous results on the health of the individual and family relationships.

Pleasing others is not always God’s plan. In the end, it’s God we should please. Once we are comfortable with who we are in Christ, we are able to love ourselves as we love our neighbor. Only then we are not consumed by taking care of others for the sole reason that we want to please people and always cater to the needs of others, putting aside our own desires.

People pleasers seek approval of man, but God is the one who will validate your life and stamp you with approval (Ps. 37:6 MSG)

What is your opinion about this topic?

Pirkko Rytkonen

Wife, mother, and grandmother. Christ follower and seeker of truth. Blogging to inspire and encourage others.

2 thoughts on “Is Pleasing Others Wrong?

  1. It is so true that we must allow others to say ‘yes’ to requests for service, but we must also learn to say no when we really don’t want to. Hiding resentment becomes unhealthy when we think “Why can’t someone else do it or why can’t he or she do it himself?” For myself I’ve had to learn to say ‘no’ and set boundaries to keep a loving heart.

  2. The question was posed recently . . . Is it better to be nice or to truly love someone? People pleasers work hard at always being nice – or at least giving that impression.

    Sometimes truly loving another means “speaking the truth in love.” As the Bible also says, “The Lord disciplines those He loves.” There are times it is more loving to point out the error of another’s ways in hopes that they will, with God’s help, turn and go in another direction.

    Plus, I have found from personal experience, when we say yes to everything, the people who are supposed to step up don’t bother; they know we’ll cover for them. We are not to be selfish, but I don’t think it’s selfish to establish wise boundaries. In fact, I think it is the loving thing to do.

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