Life is Exhausting When We Make Other People’s Opinions of Us an Idol.
Some of us think the worst about ourselves and assume other people do, too.
We live life feeling like, at any given moment, someone will be upset or disappointed in us.
For instance, when an email notification dings on your phone, your stomach sinks. Your first thought might be, “they are mad at me, and they are telling me off in this email.”
Or the phone rings and you see the number and convince yourself they are calling because you messed something up or they are unhappy with something you did.
People share their problems and feelings with you, and your think about how you might be a part of their problem.
Sometimes you even assume they are telling you because it’s your fault.
Constant thoughts run through your head like, are they upset with me? Did I offend them?
Or if maybe they just find me, I don’t know... annoying?
You take people’s words, behaviors, and even their nonverbal cues as evidence that they aren’t pleased with you (even if that’s not true).
In your head, it often boils down to this:
Who is disappointed in me?
Who am I being a burden to?
Where am I failing?
This is exhausting. Even just writing this was exhausting.
Living life assuming people think the worst about you is not really living.
And I’m guessing that like me, the very frustrating part for you is that after all is said and done.. after you look at the email or make the phone call, after you check in with someone, it’s almost never what you thought it would be.
You assume the worst when it almost never is.
But here’s another important part of this:
People ARE going to be disappointed in me. And you. And everyone.
Being a people pleaser is truly a losing game, because you simply can’t please them all.
In fact, you can’t even please one person all the time.
So worrying about this is a waste of our precious, short life.
I think about how Jesus asks, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6: 27
The answer is a big fat NO.
I know how hard it is to let go the desire to have everyone pleased with you.
But it’s important to contract those thoughts with the truth:
God doesn’t assume the worst in us.
I mean, He certainly knows the worst in us.
But that’s not the lens through which He views us.
We could probably work on starting to see ourselves a little bit more like He does.
Of course we are called to care about other people and treat them well, but we are not called to make their opinions an idol in our life.
I know I’ve put other people’s opinion above God’s most my life.
Because rarely do I spend the day in fear of what God is thinking about me. Yet, I’ve spent many hours consumed with other people’s thoughts about me.
How about you?
Let’s challenge ourselves to focus more on what is true.
We don’t need to live in fear of man.
Let’s give God the power of determining our identity.
Let’s give Him the focus that He deserves.
His approval and His plan should be our focal point.
Because we were created for Him.
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.
~Kelli Bachara, The Unraveling Blog