Since I was a little girl I always wanted to please the adults in my life, as I grew older that really did not change much. I do not like letting people down or having to tell anyone, “No.” I fear that that person will get mad at me and think less than positive things about me. I have gotten better over the years of telling others, “No,” but sometimes it still bothers me to tell someone,” I am not able to do that at this time.”
Where does this root of people-pleasing stem from? Insecurity, having a lack of personal boundaries, and the fear of man (caring too much what others think).
But I’m learning IT IS OKAY to disappoint others. When we fail to recognize that we will disappoint others and that is okay, it can lead to stress, fear and worry. We must get comfortable with letting others down. We must be tuned-in to the Holy Spirit so that He can let us know if we are to go here or there. Oftentimes, the Holy Spirit does not speak anything direct to our spirits but we have a deep inner “knowing,” a settled peace, and there is a natural flow (in other words, you don’t have guilt or try and figure out how you can fit one more thing into your already packed schedule). When we tell others no, they most likely will not like that answer and possibly pout or sulk, but that is not your problem. If someone manipulates you through guilt by their words or even facial and body language you know that is not coming from the Lord.
How can we respond to others disappointing us? If you ask a request of someone and they politely say, “No thank you, I am not going to go this time;” we should respect their response and simply say,” No problem at all.” This can take the guilt of saying no off the person that is declining your invitation. If we get upset either by our words or non-verbal body language, we are sending a guilt message to that person.
We cannot please everyone all the time. We cannot agree to everyone’s request that comes our way and keep our sanity. When someone is disappointed with you, it is out of your control-and it is their problem!
Fear of letting people down will cause you to do things you were not intended to do. We don’t want others to reject us, so we agree to do what is best for them and not necessarily for us. The root of rejection can stem all the way back to our childhood, and if we still carry around that root of rejection we will have a more difficult time disappointing others.
Sometimes we have trouble disappointing others because we don’t want them to feel rejected or hurt, but most people are resilient and will “get over” you saying no to them quickly. We cannot be responsible for how others will take our, “No, thank you.” If there is a mutual respect between two people it will be very easy to say how you really feel and what you can or can’t do. Saying “No” is often most difficult with family, spouses, friends, and your boss. The people we are the closet to are the hardest to disappoint, and that is because we want them to continue to love us, accept us, and think good things about us. However, we should be more concerned about pleasing our Heavenly Father.
Learn to practice saying, “No,” and being okay with disappointing others. If you want everyone to be happy with you ALL the time, you will need to get over that! Not everyone will be happy or pleased with us 100% of the time. If you are putting other’s needs ahead of your own needs, you are setting yourself up for feelings of resentment. Get to the root of why you can’t say, “No” to others. Perhaps you enjoy being liked and validated or just need to feel needed. Getting the approval of others may make you feel like you are a good person. Maybe your main issue is how people will view you. You certainly don’t want to be viewed as lazy, uncaring, or selfish.
You have a choice! You DO NOT have to say, “Yes,” when someone asks something of you. If someone asks you for something it is perfectly OKAY to say,” I need to get back with you on that at a later time.” Don’t give into the demands of pushy people wanting an answer right away. If you do agree to someone’s request, SET A TIME LIMIT. For example, “We can meet Saturday from 12pm-2pm.” If you don’t set limits and boundaries with certain people, your time will be taken advantage of. Some people clearly will manipulate and try and take every advantage of you. You can spot the manipulator by their flattery. You do not have to defend your decision with excessive reasoning. The manipulator will use your reasoning to gain wiggle room to get you to say yes, such as, “Oh, you can do that later. “Don’t apologize for telling someone, “No.” It makes you appear like you are at fault.
You are entitled to your time, your need to rest, and your boundaries. We all have emotional and physical limits, and not everyone knows what they are in our lives. Setting boundaries can include the times we answer our phone, have company, and letting others know they will need to call and ask if they can come over. Yes, others may be disappointed that you have personal boundaries, but they will get over it if they truly respect and love you.
Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety. Proverbs 29:25, NLT
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10, ESV
How about you? What do you struggle with the most in disappointing others?