I have always loved getting affirmation from others. As a kid I was driven athletically to be the best, not necessarily because I wanted to be the best, but primarily because if I was the best then I knew it meant automatic acceptance by others. I learned at a young age that if I was the fastest swimmer, or most athletic soccer player, then I would always be the first one picked for games. People loved being on my team and I was determined to make sure that such acceptance would follow me in every area of my life, so I set out to become the best people-pleaser that I possibly could. The danger in committing yourself to people-pleasing, or the search of acceptance by others, is that along the way you will inevitably lose yourself, and at one point in my life, I did.
Don’t lose your real self in the search for acceptance by others; instead, discover your real self in the search of self-acceptance. It is when we finally come to a point that we are okay with being who we are that we can finally see who it is that we are meant to be to others. The next time you catch yourself on a people-pleasing renegade, stop and ask yourself what you are actually trying to do. Are you pleasing others because you love them and want to live with a servant’s heart, or are your actions a sugar-coated search for acceptance by others?
If you have lost yourself in the search of acceptance by others, don’t lose heart; what is lost can always be found again if you put forth enough effort and soul-searching. Believe me, I am speaking from experience, and if I could find myself again, so can anyone else.