So what happens when you grow up not believing in yourself, unable to please those you adored and looked up to?
What did you do to earn the love and affirmation you so desperately were missing?, simple, you become an Overachiever and a People Pleaser, yearn for outside validation. Their “personal feeling of security and self-confidence is based on getting the approval of others,”
Now, let me be clear, I am by no means the fitting bill of an overachiever, but I certainly tried on many occasions over the years. Don’t get me wrong, being successful or achieving great things is awesome, as long as your doing it for the right reasons. In my case it wasn’t, I was looking for love and constant affirmation from those I loved the most, my parents. This unfortunately set me up for a lot of disappointment later in life.
The “People Pleaser”
Many of us who grow up in a home where love and affirmation were withheld(unintentionally), can become people pleasers. We continue into adulthood looking for someone to say, “great job!”, or “you are incredible”.
Words of affirmation-which happen to be one of my love languages(no coincidence there), can lift us up, give us hope, bring joy, satisfaction and even strength and encouragement.
It all sounds great right?, well, there can also be a downside to this kind of affirmation & love seeking. It can put us in a place of exhaustion, anxiety, disappointment, disillusionment, anger and resentment.
When we want to constantly hear words of affirmation by others, we put ourselves at risk. Constantly looking to please people for the sole reason of receiving affirmation is unhealthy, we should always want to do things for others because it brings us a sense of joy and satisfaction first, then for the benefit of the other person.
When we do things for others for words of affirmation first, not only will we be let down, but we will either end up resenting people and isolating ourselves from them or we will try even harder to gain their affirmation and love and become overachievers & people pleasers and eventually we will become burned out because we don’t know how to say NO.
The first step for me in overcoming the “people pleasing” “affirmation seeking” habit was taking a good look at the “why”.
What made me want to hear people tell me how great a job I did or how great my essay was?
For me I learned several years ago after the death of my father why I longed for affirmation from others and why I was such a people pleaser.
My father was an amazing man and father. He provided all my needs and worked very very hard. However, my father never showed affection, either by words or physical touch. I found out the reason why shortly before he died, (which I will not get into out of respect for those involved), however, it later had consequences in my life.
I certainly appreciated all the wonderful things my dad provided, we were well taken care of don’t get me wrong, but the lack of love and affection from my father made me the people pleaser and overachiever I became.
Even to this day I catch myself doing things that really push me into a state of anxiety in order to please him and then I sadly realize, he is gone. I can no longer fight or earn affirmation from my father or hear him say, “great job my girl”
Learn to say NO…
I had the guilty conscious for years of saying no to people before I realized it was ok to say no.
When I learned why I was always trying to please people, I knew that saying “no” would be a part of my healing and freedom from overachieving and needing affirmation.
Over the last several years I have saved myself a lot of anxiety, anguish and resentment towards others by learning to say no, some call it boundaries. Whatever you call it, it’s learning to do things for others for the right reasons and for nothing in return. It’s also about finding balance and drawing a line in the sand.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with getting affirmation from others, in fact, it’s a necessary part of our humanity, it’s when we become solely dependant on it and our actions are the only precursor for it.
In saying all this, there is one more thing you must do in order to be set free from not being able to say no & “people pleasing”…..it is essential!
Receiving Gods Affirmation
This is the most important part of your freedom on learning to say no to others and “people pleasing”.
We NEED God’s affirmation most of all and first of all. If you do not or have not received God’s affirmations over your life and if you do not know who you are in Christ, you will have a very difficult time in finding freedom from the “needing” of affirmation and love from others.
When you realize just how much you mean to God and how much affirmation there is for you from Him in His Word, only then can you begin to enjoy your life and then you will do things for others out of a genuine heart and care for people and not just for words of affirmation.
I leave you with these affirmations to start with, 110 Affirmations from God’s Word
These are some of my favourites below