People pleasing = inverted security

By Dave Henning / May 4, 2023

“People pleasing isn’t just about keeping others happy.  It’s about getting from them what we think we must have in order to feel okay in the world. . . .  It’s an inverted security that only makes us more and more insecure with every realization that people aren’t designed for or capable of filling in the gaps of our doubts about God.”- Lysa TerKeurst

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ.”- Philippians 4:19 (NIV)

In Chapter 9 (“What Am I So Afraid Of?”) of Good Boundaries and Goodbyes, Lysa TerKeurst stresses that all people have limits.  Physical, financial, relational, and emotional.  Yet, setting boundary limits requires integrity.  Furthermore, Lysa defines integrity as humble honesty before the Lord and with other people.

Above all, Lysa underscores, a big difference exists between the phrases I want to be and I must be.  A desire drives a want.  However, a demand drives a must.  And when our desires shift into becoming demands, we run the following risk.  We risk getting caught in the most serious form of people pleasing.

This serious form goes beyond wanting to keep someone happy so they will like us.  Rather, it morphs into a fear that our needs will go unmet if we draw healthy boundaries with someone.  As a result, we allow the other person to take complete advantage of us.  In addition, Lysa cautions:

“When we are giving most of our energy and efforts each day trying so hard to stay ‘good’ with another person, we stop paying attention to our own well-being.  And we run such a risk of becoming the worst version of ourselves. . . .  And before we know it, no part of what we are doing for people is motivated by authentic love.  It’s actually not about them at all.  It’s about us getting from someone what we feel we can’t live without.”

Today’s question: Do you ever find yourself latching onto people pleasing as inverted security?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Please God or please people?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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