It has been a little while since I wrote anything about my people pleasing (PeeP) tendencies. Actually, in my world, “people pleasing” is a dressed up, church-pew friendly term for codependency.
In my personal journey, codependency has been much like a drug or alcohol addiction, except that I have been too afraid of what someone else might think or say about me to ever actually take a pill, use a drug or get drunk. People are my drug of choice. Attempting to manage what they think of me and in turn allowing my perception of their thoughts to dictate my decisions and actions has been my personal high.
I’m finding that recovery from this toxic thinking is coming in many forms. For example, I had a “recovery moment” this week when a meeting with a new friend nearly fell through.
I had heard my friend Sally share that she was having some issues with her seashells (OK, so I’m changing the name and the situation, but the essence of the story is intact!). Having recently had seashell issues myself, I followed my heart and reached out to her offering a listening ear. We set up a time to meet (by the seashore of course).
The day before we were going to meet, Sally sent me a message letting me know that she just did not feel up to the seashell discussion right now and didn’t want to meet. (She would later let me know that she would be by the seashore, and if I was by the seashore to that would be great, but we would need to talk about mermaids or seahorses or dolphins – just not seashells).
In the moments – seconds really – after I got the message, I had a brief conversation with myself. I asked the ever plaguing questions: How and Why do I feel about that?
This is how the old me would have answered: “What did I do wrong? Why does Sally not like me? What else do I need to do to get Sally to open up to me and trust me? (and this is my favorite) How is Sally going manage her seashells if she doesn’t talk to me about them?”
This is what a recovery answer looks like: “I love Sally with the same grace and mercy that God loves me with and I will trust Him to take good – no – great care of Sally.”
There was a time when interpreting Sally’s message as a rejection would have triggered a spiral into the pit of depression.
I am very grateful that God is working in my heart and mind to allow me the pleasure of loving myself and loving His people – simply for the joy of loving!
Maybe next week I’ll tell you about my friend Peter and his pickled pepper problem.