This is the second lesson I am sharing with you on healing the mind. Today I will take you on a little journey into my personal battle with being a people pleaser...When you look into the mirror, what do you see? What do you say to yourself? I know that many women and girls struggle with this one. Many of you will look in the mirror today and you will say some pretty nasty things to yourself!
God made us for a purpose! We are NOT who we are that matter—we are who we THINK we are! The view we have of ourselves determines our behavior.
People Pleasers...When we are people pleasers, we get into the habit of saying, “yes, yes, yes, yes”, and in return we feel, “stress, stress, stress, stress!” Most of this, I have found, we put on ourselves.
Are any of you a people pleaser? I know I have been for most of my life! It stems from somewhere. It can be learned from example. If your parents are people pleasers, chances are you learned it from them. Other ways you can become a people pleaser is by repeated victimization. I was sexually abused as a little girl. When you are made to do things that you are not wanting to do out of fear, it changes your thought patterns of your brain. I was a real victim and those feelings of being a victim did not go away with the passing years.
Anytime someone would accuse me or attack me, just as my perpetrators did in my childhood, I would panic and begin to cower under that pressure. I have had people in my life, mainly friends, that would sense that I was easy to use and easy to control. They could tell me what they thought about me, and I would accept it. Yeah, it hurt, like a thousand knives cutting, but I just never could fight back because those feelings of being worthless and shameful would creep back into my mind.
Somehow, I always felt like I deserved it.
In fact, I would have situations come up where a friend would call who had a tendency to chew me out about something, and I would actually get this flight or fight feeling in my chest. The anxiety would be so hard for me that I would have migraine headaches, heart palpitations, and it would effect my physical well being for days, if not, weeks after an attack. I would cower like a dog in a corner and everything inside me reverted to being that little abused girl. Even if the accusations were false, I would let myself be crucified, and agree with the lies just to please them. I was a mess! And the thought patterns of my mind were virtually leaving me handicap.
These women never realized the torment that I put upon myself physically and mentally. They just saw that I was someone they could press under their thumb and watch under their microscope. I did it to myself. Most people say things that either they do not mean or did not mean to come across the way that they did. And while I was feeling hurt and attacked, they had already moved on with their life. Most people only think about your for less than 5 seconds!!! I would spend weeks dwelling on that traumatic situation which was only hurting me! A very bad habit, I must say. I even caved under the pressure of wearing black socks vs. white socks because they were more plain and modest according to one lady!
I wanted with all my heart to be pure. About 14 years ago I was hanging around the Amish. For some reason I just figured they were more pure because of their lifestyle. It was my way of running from the world that abused me and I wanted to give my children a better life. They groomed me to be just as they were. I would hear some of them talk about the English folk, how the women wore pants and makeup and how they were harlots. They were worldly and they could not be saved based on this.
Those beliefs, those opinions they held, found their way into my mind. I started to look at photos of myself when I was younger and I actually believed I looked like a harlot. I believed that others were dressing as harlots. Our minds are very powerful! I did NOT want to be the people they would talk down about. I wanted to be accepted. And my people pleasing mode turned on and I would try to adapt to all that they found to be respectable and superior, down to the black socks and granny white underwear! My husband was not pleased, but he knew that I was a wounded mess and he did not want to hurt me more, so he basically kept silent as he watched my downward spiral of trying to please others to be accepted. Not only did I keep myself crippled in the prison of my mind, I also held my husband hostage in the process.
One day when we were getting ready to go somewhere, Miles was only 3 at the time, I asked Mark to get me some socks because I had was pregnant at the time and it was hard for me to climb the stairs. He said, “Let me guess, Black socks.” I said, “Yes! The black ones!” And he returned with aggravation, “Of course, black socks!!!!! Why, we would not want to be worldly and put on white ones, those would be shameful!” My eyes practically bugged out of my head! I was like, whoa there! I did not realize how much he hated the fact that I was playing a game of trying to fit in. Finally, after months of fighting and arguing about socks and other incidental things, he was able to reach my heart.
I realized what I was doing and I was behaving in a matter that was deeply rooted in lies. The photos I had of my past were not of a girl who was a harlot! They were of the girl that my husband fell in love with. I was precious to him and that was all that mattered. I am sad that I allowed years to go by playing the victim and allowing others to control me, when the acceptance I so desperately needed was right there in front of me.
The value we place on ourselves is the same value others will put on us! If you think of yourself as less, then others will treat you of less value. I found that out many times over! When you finally realize that you have been believing things that belong to others, such as opinions, you can have freedom by giving them back!
You can say, “Other’s opinions of me do not belong to ME—it is theirs, not MINE!” I actually physically wrote opinions people had about me on a piece of paper. Then I folded it up and placed it into an envelope. I put the envelope in the pile to go out in the mailbox, symbolizing sending them back to them. I did not actually send them anything, but it taught my mind that I was physically giving something back that did not belong to me.
Some of you need to do that to heal. You have a storehouse of negative opinions and beliefs about yourself just eating away your spirit like cancer.
When you say, “I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”
Who decided that?
And here’s the thing… What do you feel when you see someone talk really nasty and bad to someone you love? You get angry! Especially if it is your child. Or what if you see someone make fun of a handicap child. You actually will get very frustrated over the injustice of it.
Yet, you talk to yourself that way ALL DAY LONG!
Did you ever stop to wonder if God is pleased with that?! He created you. He loves you. He died for you. It is time you start to tell yourself something positive and true about yourself. If you can’t love and accept yourself for who God made you to be, how can you love your neighbor as YOURSELF. Did you read that, YOURSELF. That is one of the most important commandments of God. He did not tell you to Love your Neighbor and stop there.
He said to love your neighbor as yourself. So he wants you to love both.
To sum it up, you can’t give what you don’t have! If you do not have a healthy love for yourself, how can you give love? It is impossible. You may do things to please others, and you may even bend over backwards to help others. But it is not love because more often than not, you will grow to resent it. You will be bitter towards others because you push yourself over what you are able to handle. And what about your children? How can you possibly pour anything positive about their life when you think so negatively about yourself? More is caught than taught!
Homework for today…
Write down on a piece of paper all the opinions and negative things people told you in your lifetime. Fold it up and put it into an envelope. In your mind, send this message back to the ones that gave them to you. It is not yours, so please give it back to the person or persons it belongs to.
And there you will find freedom! The next lesson will be on replacing those thoughts. You can’t just clean all the bad things out, you must replace them with something new. Refer to your list of scripture verses about who you are in Christ.