I am a people pleaser. It’s not something I like to admit, but it’s true. I want people to like me, and it nearly torments me when I can tell someone does not like me, especially when I feel their dislike is unfounded. I dissect every conversation and social encounter I have because I worry I said or did something that may have offended or hurt the other person. I avoid certain topics or conversations because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or make them dislike me.
This is a very wearying way to live. And frankly, it’s a bit of an impediment to my living within my identity and purpose as a child of God. For one, I am not called to win people to me; I am called to win them to Christ. I am to love them unconditionally and tell them the good news, regardless of how they may feel about me.
Furthermore, as a follower of Christ, it’s only natural that there is always going to be someone who does not like me. As Christians, we must live life by a different standard than that by which the world lives. We must speak the truth and strive to live righteously, which may earn us favor with some but hatred and rejection from others. Jesus said, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do no belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” (John 15:18,19)
So what is a people pleaser to do in a world such as this? I, personally, am slowly learning that humility is essential. It’s pride and self-centeredness that makes being disliked difficult for me to accept, so it has been a prayer of mine that He would infuse my heart with Christ-like meekness and humility. But I’m also learning that as long as I am loving God with all of me and loving others as I love myself, that whether I’m liked in the process or not is irrelevant.
“Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10