I’ve been a card-carrying people lover my whole life. I’ve had teachers and other adults in my life tell me that if there was a new student in school or someone who looked like they were having a bad day, I would be the first to befriend them or try to cheer them up. I really do love people. It pangs me to see them hurt, sad, alone, or scared. All good things! But, with people loving comes the major struggle of people pleasing. Pleasing other people is wonderful UNTIL we need to stand up for ourselves. This is where the rubber hits the road. There’s a big difference between being a people lover and a people pleaser. People love to be pleased, but that’s not always healthy for either party.
I realize now that I have also been a card-carrying member of the codependance club. By the grace of God alone, I am healing and growing. I still backslide, but I KNOW where my help comes from. My help comes from The Lord. Codependance is the perfect breeding ground for abusive and toxic relationships. We “make peace” by rolling over and letting the other person have their way. BUT, what if their behavior is not appropriate? What if they are not showing love or respect and we continue to roll? What I have learned is that allowing bad behavior to continue in order to “make peace” is not truly keeping the peace at all. Being a true peacemaker is being at peace with God, others, AND ourselves. Allowing mistreatment to continue is not making true peace with any of these three.
We need to love ourselves enough as children of the Living God to stand up for ourselves and others in HIS strength. This is SO hard for a people pleaser! It’s like battling any other addiction. What makes it SO difficult is that we LOVE people and we want to get along so badly that we fear standing up for ourselves will lead to being rejected, the loss of the relationship, and/or being blamed for the conflict or the loss. Can’t we ALL just get along?? The answer is nope, not always. We are not called to agree with everyone, but we are called to be mindful of how we disagree.
We can’t control all the cards we are dealt in life, but we can ask God to replace the cards we tend to carry around and how to deal with the ones we are dealt.