You want people to like you. We all do. Disapproval from others is not comfortable, so most of us put our best foot forward in ways that we believe others will approve. The Bible also instructs us to guard against selfishness, to sacrifice our own desires on behalf of others.
But when do we cross the line between serving others and becoming a “people pleaser”? Discerning between what’s healthy and unhealthy is murky for many people, which is why we’ve invited our good friend Dr. Mike Bechtle to our studio.
Mike is joining us on our Focus on the Family Broadcast “Making Helpful Changes in Your Communication” to share about his life as a self-described “recovering people pleaser.” Along the way, he’ll help you examine your motives for people-pleasing as well as develop a healthy balance between self-care and serving others.
Mike grew up striving to “be nice.” He spent the majority of his childhood with people who were agreeable. And whenever he experienced conflict, he dismissed his feelings by saying, “I’m okay,” even though he wasn’t.
As he became an adult, Mike discovered firsthand the perils of living as a “people-pleaser.” It leads to:
- A counterfeit life: Mike wanted approval so much that he acted more like others than himself. His life became a façade that required constant vigilance. He could never let his guard down or let people know who he really was. People pleasing became his identity.
- Exhaustion: Mike couldn’t keep up the façade. He was tired and not sleeping well because of his anxiety. He felt trapped and didn’t see a way out.
- Wrong solutions: His first efforts to overcome people-pleasing were unhelpful because the self-help books he read recommended an approach that seemed self-focused and selfish.
Now, Mike strives to live as a “power people pleaser,” which is serving others and meeting their needs by becoming okay with himself and accepting who he really is. How can you adopt that philosophy in your life?
Dr. Bechtle is an author, speaker, and blogger. He’s been a consultant and coach for FranklinCovey for more than 30 years and has written a book that serves as the basis for our conversation called It’s Better to Bite Your Tongue Than Eat Your Words: The No-Regrets Guide to Better Conversations.
Mike’s book is available for a gift of any amount. And when you help Focus on the Family today with a gift, your donation will be doubled for twice the impact in helping others through this ministry. Our thanks to generous donors who’ve made that possible. Call 1-800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) for more information or click here.