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Giving Up People Pleasing for a Better Way to Live (Part 1 of 2)

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June 1, 2022 6:00 am

Giving Up People Pleasing for a Better Way to Live (Part 1 of 2)

Focus on the Family / Jim Daly

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June 1, 2022 6:00 am

In this broadcast, Dr. Mike Bechtle helps listeners avoid the trap of people pleasing in order to develop healthier relationships with others. (Part 1 of 2)

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Perhaps your people pleaser or you know I suppress my feelings are not a burden to other people. I think most people don't like my tasty methinks I let them DJ in the car.

Even if I'm driving I usually avoid conflict at all costs.

I invite people over, even when I don't feel like having plans. I give out a ton of complements to make people like me like anything and everything that I can say that about them sometimes of something difficult comes up and I need to confront somebody.

I make the mistake of accidentally giving them a compliment instead I will you something that I absolutely hate just I don't hurt anyone's feelings. You can relate to some comments like everyone else, you probably want people to like you and pure about people who matter to you when you cross that line and become a people today on Focus on the Family will explore what people pleasing looks like and how they can be a harmful behavior in the long run your hostess focus presidents and author Jim Daly thanks for joining us on John Fuller, John. This may be one of those issues where you see it distinctly in the other person but not in yourself. The log in the spec like you said we all like to be like. I think that's probably true of 99% of the human population, but taking care of other people's needs and study your own is a biblical sounding thing right. Jesus said love your neighbor as yourself. And so I think there can be a lot of conflict in this area of the Bible is full of instructions about serving others, putting them first. Not being selfish, and so on. So drawing that line between what's healthy and what's unhealthy is our job today with our guests. Jan Mike Bechtel was back with us. He's always popular.

Every time he's here. You gets a great response. He's an author or speaker and blogger Mike is been a consultant and coach for Franklin Covey for more than 30 years and he's written a book, serve as the basis for conversation today. The people pleaser's guide to loving others without losing yourself in a course. We have copies of that here at the ministry just stop by the episode notes to find the details well.

Dr. Bechtel, welcome back to Focus on the Family. Well, thank you. It's always a privilege.

I can't help but call you Mike Mike. To me it makes it better for a listen. Let's start with your own journey and that where were that people pleaser, and you saw that in yourself what it look like and how did it play out day-to-day. I think it happened early. I remembered probably in high school because I wanted people to like me and I wasn't real secure in myself. And so the way that I found security was to get other people to say good things about me if I could get other people to like me that I had value and if they didn't say things that I didn't feel like I had value.

So I had to position myself in a way that if I was to feel good about me then you had to feel good about me and you work tirelessly to make sure people felt how to capture which is the other question that exhaustion you expressed in the book he felt exhausted doing this you the longer it went, the harder it was. I would wasn't sleeping well. I have anxiety but even in the early days. I tried to do things and nobody else was doing so I would stand out in my first job I worked at a morgue at a county hospital hard to get those people to like you yeah just say about working with the dead, nonresponsive, prepared me for a life of public but even with that I when I sold sheet music and I worked at a ran a printing press. I didn't drivetime radio show in the afternoon and all that was so people would see me doing something different but it didn't help because yes they notice they were impressed, but I knew they were impressed with what I was doing inside.

I'm thinking yet, but if they really knew me, they would like me so I was projecting onto them. What I felt about myself, assuming they were feeling the same thing. There's a lot you're saying they're not going back to what John and I did in the open that idea of the difficulty of identifying yourself as a people pleaser give us three of those adjectives on your hitting on some of them but let's be really plain, so people got out now. I may be one of those was it look like to be a people pleaser is some of the things we heard in the in the opening clip as far as I will take care of you, but I don't worry about me.

I will say nice things to you. If we're having a conversation. I'm asking you how you're doing. I am complementing you if you ask me how I'm doing I'll answer quickly and then turn it back around so I have something else to talk to you about when you describe it that way is some of that just volume if I could say it that way, you know, I think some of that is healthy you want it not for the goal of being like maybe that's the distinction you're doing it to affirm someone else. But when does that cross that line when you go from being a pleasant person to be with and affirming somebody which I think is a good Christian attitude to notice the things that your teenagers doing well and complements some thought that rather than attack them, but when does it start to become about me. I think you hit the nail on the head with the idea of motive that if I'm doing it. If I am complementing you and reaching out to you in meeting your needs so that I feel better. That's where it's cross a line, but if I do it so that you'll feel better. Maybe not.

Just so you feel better, but if I really care about you. That's biblical right and I want to care about you. I mean, I grew up, my dad was really nice. I wanted to be nice and I always felt like I was nice but I didn't want to have to be abrasive or rude or obnoxious, and when I finally thought I need to do something about this. I went and read every book I could find on people pleasing and every one of them said you have to just forget about other people, you ignore their needs take care of you take care of number one. I thought that doesn't feel good because I really do care about people and that was that journey was the motive for the book, try something different than just can I still be a people pleaser in the biblical way so ask about that in terms of the researcher dead were experts said just forget about other people concentrate on yourself and me a lift up your own needs and sounds pretty selfish, I guess. And these are experts. Why would they be saying it that way. I think as I got into it.

I realize they probably weren't experts, cupcake. There they were. They were people who had that experience and their way of solving it, which I think a lot of self-help books are kind of that way like they figured out something at work for me so I write a book about it and I found more of that than expertise. Words like okay they learned. I just need to give up everybody else take care of me. Forget about them and it's very selfish.

You know Mike, it sounds like you're saying you've got to do a good job knowing yourself just in that's critical and even Jesus said that's really hard for us as human beings to know our own hearts. Only the father knows our heart right so it that's a journey in itself knowing your own motivations for certain things. But again, you know were Jesus said remove the log from your own eye before you try to remove the speck from your brother's eye right and so all of that is interesting to me in terms of getting to that motivation again and why were trying to please other people and you say in the book that by doing so you're actually creating a false identity which for us as Christians I'm not try to teach my my boys all the time your identities in Christ your identities in Christ. This is all tied together via effective goes back to the fact that God created us uniquely and if we can start capturing that because there's a lot of people that say well it's it's all about what God thinks of you. Your self-esteem should come only from how God made you know what he thinks about you, but he made us to be in community, he made us to need each other using that's why self-help books usually aren't very good, which scared me because this morning I happened to pick up my book.

I just looked at the back and right next to the barcode.

It's listed as self help the writing hallway that really pleases me like that I can leave now, I know is I want to bring in some illustrations. Jean and I were talk about this because she's a self-described people pleaser and she's far healthier in that regard now. But she was relating some of her high school stories to me where she would say yes to three different guys that want to go out with her on the same night that doesn't work and I remember one time she said this guide asked her to go and she just felt bad about it but she had said yes so she went and had dinner said she wasn't home and the guy peeled out of the driveway in his car, and you will you get all that stuff and she you know she just was very confessional about those things that really she told me she helped to hitchhikers.

Two guys I mean, a woman young woman pulling. She said I just felt so guilty passing them on the road. I stopped to help him meet. That is an ultimate people pleaser right that's fascinating because it guilt is a big issue for people pleaser. We do things out of the other side, but I can't say no to anyone or I can't displease someone I have to take the initiative. In fact, if I hear that you're moving. I will offer you don't have to ask me, I will offer to help you move whether I want to or not because I want you to see me in that way and positioning and so is not the real me and that's with an integrity issue is not the real me. It's a counterfeit me. It's something I have building so that I can project that to you and it's an image that is a lot of work to keep up.

That's what exhaustion comes in.

I think for her to she just said you know it made me feel good to help others, but that it is a me focus thing and jeans. She is in such a better place to way me and some people are going well.

Did she worship people pleasing when she said yes to marry you possible know, but it's it's one of the signs in that regard. You mention personalities that tend to lean in that direction types personality types. What are those types were those frameworks for some of us we mailing that was because of our wiring. You know, I think the most the simplest one is introverts and extroverts and a lot of them tie. There's different levels of that but introverts tend to be more focused on what their feeling what other people are feeling using introvert is so much more sensitive to what's going on around him and there thinking about how there are other people responding. What are they need extroverts think faster. Introverts tend to think deeper right so an extrovert can be putting it out there and trying to tell stories and do things to get other people not to get them to like them. It's just that's how they are so tends to be a little more on the introvert site interesting to see and goings a little more interval so that's really fascinating. I'm curious how abuse same people pleasing play in your marriage and your family everywhere. That's what we are marriage and parenting.

But you know being a people pleaser to a friend is one thing but then how does a mom demonstrate that with her kids.

Why did you start with the marriage when you first meet each other.

You're trying to please the other person and then absent. That's normal right yeah right but usually you. You may be doing it to attract the other person within that the honeymoon may be over and you're starting to try and hold up that image but you can't hold it up all the time right and so the reality of it comes up but were designed to please other people. I mean even in Philippians, it talks about consider others more important than me than yourselves and think not only of your own needs but the needs and interests of others.

So is very biblical to do that with a spouse with her kids and it's part of how we raise them.

That's our responsibility is to meet their needs. That's not always a positive thing in their minds that to be focused on them. That's why the discovery for me when I realize people pleasing is not a bad thing.

It's a very biblical thing, it's something you can make is since it's our superpower is your motivation exactly if I'm doing it so I'll feel better about me that's a problem.

But if I'm doing it because I have found security in mice inside of myself from God, from who I am, from how he created me from my uniqueness. That frees me up now to be the best kind of people pleaser. So in that in that question I asked about marriage and parenting give us some scenarios of how people pleasing may show up in those no close emotionally intimate relationships. You're under your own roof.

Why think for me the one of the biggest ones was I didn't want to say no to my kids. I wanted them to like me and so I wasn't the strong dad. In a lot of cases that I should have been because I didn't want them to be upset with me. That's really common. I found and so I wanted them to. I wanted them to see me as the fun dad. I didn't want my dad was that way.

He never, I can't remember him ever disciplining me in a strong way right.

He was always just nice alleys that I want to be nice, but a surgeon is nice, but they also cut when it's needed and so that's the part that a lot of people miss with the relationship with her kids growing up a site we need to have the courage and the strength to be able to do what needs to be done, but at the same time, mix it with that compassion yeah no that's good. And I think in the your point about the honeymoon in your marriage when the reality hits it is impossible to meet those expectations.

If you haven't talked about who you really are and you don't know each other well, that's a long time and he probably takes about 12 years of marriage.

Before we finally realize we were being honest with each other. We were headed positioning we were skirting around issues. And finally we just started reading a book together and it was a book for about marriage that caused us to just ask questions, but what you're saying there. It wasn't a deliberate you know deep miss trust or or a desire to mislead. I mean, you're just trying to be the best person you can be, but it's not who you are, what is not a lot of not a lot of instructions that come when you get married, there's no instructions when you have a kid you have to figure a lot of this stuff out and you're growing into it made if I knew now what I knew 44 years ago when we got married I would do would have done things a lot differently but the reason I know now is because we went through the mic in the book you mentioned that one of the great fears that people pleaser spaces inadequacy. I think I understand that but no matter. You know what success they are experiencing or how many compliments they received is, never enough to fill that void. They gotta keep seeking that affirmation. How does today's social media is an example feed into that problem. Contrition arm. All the women we have on the program. Mom's are always saying you know that's not the real me that she was the perfect me speak to that problem of social media and that in feeling of inadequacy. We tend to put our best foot forward on social media when we get our portraits taken. We smile whether we feel like it or not, and it we always publish one where everybody smiled correctly and our eyes were open exact problem in the blank on every photo. I don't know what that is.

We we don't tend to see the other 200 pictures that were taken first to get that one and its site. We want to come across in a certain way, social media, there's the comparison and inadequacy is a huge issue for people pleasers because we have to be perfect. We have to be like, and if I look at social media.

I'm seeing everybody else's life and I compare mine with it and say what mine is not theirs but it's like I'm not them. And so when we start comparing it's really hard to get a good sense of who we really are and to learn the gratefulness of for who we are and what we have will and that's important to hit again, because what you're saying is that feeling of inadequacy is overcome by gratitude yet you know that we we don't always make that connection. So if you're somebody who's feeling inadequate. You know I'm not going to the gym enough to know that I'm not losing enough weight almost any have this tape playing in your head.

How do you move that to gratitude, Lord, thank you for allowing me to eat so much ice cream I'm overweight beside ourselves with. What's the proper tape we should be hearing in her head. I think that it starts with knowing what's true with being honest. Almost like Alcoholics Anonymous or in anything like that.

Admitting the problem and realizing the truth about it, not skirting around it for myself. I'm not going to announce it on social media, but to be able to recognize the truth of who I am. What's going on the choices I'm making and the choices that I make are things that I'm doing. It's not my value. It's not who God made me but the gratefulness comes when I'm intentional about it.

You have an analogy in the book about a turtle. I think this makes the point pretty powerfully. The turtle in the Eagle or something like that. Remind me what that was, were often told we need to soar like an eagle. And if I maternal and that's how God created me then that's can be really frustrating because I would spend my whole life thinking I need to soar.

They told me that's what's important and so many people tell us what we need to do and I want to please them. So I'm trying to soar like an eagle that I can do things is a turtle if I can learn to accept the fact that God made me a turtle.

I can do things that an eagle can't II have ground skills but never have and to be able to understand that I get that but you know even hearing that it and this may be the Western culture. The American culture.

I know were airing this globally, so forgive me for this analogy, but here in the US we all want to soar like eagles. If you played sports in high school is about winning about soaring, it's about flying. And God made you as a turtle. I mean how do we even reconcile that with those cultural bombardments about.

I mean even us as parents. I remember having to pull back with my boys in sports because I was that foot I was football, basketball, baseball. I played it all. I letter to all of them and I'm expecting my two boys that they're going to be there but speak to that that whole winning attitude you got a real addendum to the I came in from the other side because I was a four-year letterman in band. I never wanted to play the trumpet, and what didn't.

It was until after I graduated, I realize that was not cool right but I mean that is part of a member getting a call from Trent when he told me when a gold medal in sixth graders I crate what was it chess club wow that's awesome and that's what really caught me on and I had to realize when I can rewire the same way and I had to support him and I did. Thankfully, I think it goes back to how God creates us each unique. Our strength as an introvert is an extrovert is a person as someone who relates other people comes from my uniqueness. I think it's was John Ord Berg who said we need to become you. Your the mower the more we can become the best version of ourselves. That's where our strength is and if I can accept what I can't change realize this is God's creation, so the more I try and go outside at the harder it's going to be let let's go back to something that I think you mentioned the book that connects with so many of us, and that's the idea of the we fear conflict. I think this is broader than a people pleaser issue.

I think most human beings fear conflict were not really wired for conflict in so many ways and people are rewarded in the culture and the business community, particularly if you can negotiate if you can hit conflict had on typically rise in that organization but I don't think it comes naturally. Maybe I'm wrong. You're the doctor, but what about conflict in its pervasiveness in the culture and humanity and then how does it become applied to people pleasing where it's really unhealthy. When I was growing up I remember seeing older people that were nice were pleasant and I thought people like them and then I watch people that would get angry and people didn't like them cycle I want to be one of those and so I remember working really hard not to be angry. I stuffed it, and I always believed I was not an angry person at night. I just don't get upset.

But then I start realizing inside that anger was eating me away. I even read a book Christian book when I was a teenager that said anger is a sin all anger and so if you are angry you are displeasing God. So stop being angry white and one of his pleas got so I stopped it and that means I avoided all conflict because it was usually anger involved in that. Well, it is quite unhealthy to stuff anger right. I mean, what's a healthy what's a Christian way to express displeasure. I mean anger has so many shades and there is sin, and anger. I would agree with that but you know if you're upset about something that's one thing if you're outright, angry, and your uncontrolled I would say that's in the sin category but just you know what's a healthy expression of letting off a little steam line.

I think that's where the Scripture says be angry but don't sin right and so one of the ways to deal with anger if I am feel my wife and I learned that if I am really feeling angry. All I have to do is express it and I don't have to yell at her. I don't have to become hostile, I can simply say right now I am really feeling angry with you. I need a little space give me five minutes. I'll be back and she said that was important because she always felt like I was going to leave and never come back and that we just really had a breach but it only to build trusted that respect because I can say I am angry right now but I'm I don't want to say something that will be hurtful. I don't to say something that I really don't mean it is a skill set.

Why is that so difficult to do exactly what you said and I think I still struggle with that being able to catch myself and say okay Jane. Right now I'm feeling very angry toward you, and I'd like five minutes suck one of the more elusive skills for me. So how how do I concentrate on that and do a better job capturing those emotions and backing up the train. Well I think I would slow down a little bit. I would stop and maybe not even say anything for a minute because I say the way you just did. It's a very controlled sarcasm exams across the notice the doctor because what we want to do, even if I can just stop and not say anything and gives me a chance to choose my response.

I think that one of the biggest things we can do with any emotion when it's in the middle of it. We can't come back with logic because emotion and logic are like oil and water right.

And if I just slow down and just stop and choose my response.

I think if that's the issue that's the first place I would go is learned to make a better trigger the anchor's I slow down.

I stop and then decide what I meant to say hey let's end with the story that you share about yourself feeling irrelevant as a speaker and when you do a lot of speaking and I can relate to that. But you what was going on and how did you see the truth in your own perceived shortcomings. I've been involved in corporate training for the last 30 years doing seminars in different corporations and I realized after probably 2025 years of doing that.

That I could usually capture an audience pretty quickly, but I noticed they were getting younger. It wasn't me getting older they were getting younger, but I started to feel like I was a little bit more irrelevant because who's the old guy up there and then a colleague was in the room with me one time when I mentioned it to her and she said I don't get through it all. They see was the wise college professor or the grandpa that that they want to know what you have to say they already give you the benefit of the doubt of wisdom as soon as that happened, I realized that was not an issue, but I perceive that it was because I was assuming well.

I'm getting older so they must think that of me. Well, that's the point right. Be who you are.

Live your life in your identity in Christ. Well, and then trust the Lord for the outcomes exactly unless the beginning of this Mike. This is been really good. I want to come back the next time and continue the discussion on some of those other attributes of the people pleaser and then really get into ways to correct that understanding and help everybody be healthier in the space. So can we do that, absolutely, let's do it and that Lamy again turned to the listeners of the viewers. This a great resource. The people pleaser's guide to loving others without losing yourself.

It's that fine balance. It's kind like that balance between truth and love right and it's in that same category of how do we take care of ourselves and yet you don't value others as we value ourselves and this is one of those delicate areas that sometimes we need a little guidance to better understand what the Lord requires of us here so I want to really encourage you to get this book and from Focus on the Family. If you can order through us.

All the proceeds will go back to helping in ministry and if you can make a gift of any amount today will send it as our way of saying thank you. Well that's five dollars or $50 will send it to you so it's a great resource for you and will help other people together yet. Donate today. Further, the work that Focus on the Family is doing to support families and I help people cultivate a deeper relationship with Christ a requested book from Dr. Bechtel again. It's called the people pleaser's guide to loving others without losing yourself. Our number is 800 K in the word family and will have details in the episode notes will plan to join us next time. As we continue the conversation with Dr. Bechtel effort on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining today. I'm John Fuller inviting you back.

As we once again help you and your family thrive.

Christ, I am Jim Daly the Supreme Court will soon make a significant decision on abortion. How will this impact join me. Another pro-life champions including Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens on June 14 for Focus on the Family's see life 2022 Lifestream find out how you can respond to this important pro-life moment sign life as Focus on the life

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