Saturday, March 1, 2014

Kicking the people pleasing habit and saying no to the lies

Photos by Lucy the Photographer Sister

I've only ever had three job interviews in my life and in one of them, when I was in my 20s and working in rural England, the snobby London PR Agency lady suggested to me that the reason why I was on a low salary was  "if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" (sic and sick).

[long pause for the completely outrageous, horrible statement to sink in]

Being young, on the quiet sensitive side, unsure of myself and my abilities and a people pleaser, I mumbled something like I suppose that's true and went home completely humiliated and convinced that I was worthless.

I would love to go back in time and grab that lady by the lapels and say

How dare you say such a horrible mean thing and crush a young woman's self-esteem? That's completely not true at all. My value is not found in a salary. I work there and accept a lower salary because I value quality of life over cold hard cash and the experience I'm getting with a multi-national company is working on things like Community Trade and campaigning against animal cruelty far outweighs selling ice to the eskimos which is what you're doing.

Of course, in reality, if I could go back in time, I'd say it with a smile on my face and pretty words.

Oh, and probably not lean over and grab her lapels.

Except in my head, where I'd be smacking her round the chops too.

And loving her like Jesus did [of course].

Seriously though. As I get older, I'm getting over the whole believing lies about yourself and people-pleasing thing.

I was talking with the hubster this week and realizing that all those little experiences I have had since I was very young, those things that people said in passing, the repeated comments on my report cards, the digs or criticisms, the mean one point or another, I have to identify them and stop the lies.

And it's not just the things that other people say to us that affect us. It's the circumstances and the conclusions we draw from them.

If we don't get a job we applied for, our sense of self-worth goes through the floor. If we blog something brilliant but barely anyone reads it, let alone comments on it, we conclude that our words are not worth listening to. If we offer friendship to someone and are knocked back, rejected, ignored or unappreciated, we believe that we must be unloveable or a horrible person. If we work hard on a project but it doesn't come to fruition, we assume that we must have not worked hard enough, not be good enough. If we pray and our prayer isn't answered, we arrive at the conclusion that even God doesn't love us.

Life without Jesus is horrible.

Life without his words to us ...

...that he has loved us with an everlasting love, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, that we are his precious treasure, that his faithfulness is our shield, that he delights in abundantly prospering us, that he has plans to prosper us and not to harm us, that all things work for the good of those who love his name, that he will never leave us or forsake us, that he is our rock and our fortress, our deliverer, our strong tower in times of trouble...

... life without those words to hold to when all the other crap is being thrown at us is unbearable.

Here's the catch though. It's one thing to know all those things, it's quite another to see your life, identify the lies you've accepted into your heart and to replace them with the truth standing on God's words to you. You can believe all those things and still believe deep down in the lies that other people, circumstances or life has convinced you of.

I know. I've done just that and in some areas of my life, I'm still doing it.  Getting rid of it is a process.

Once you know that you've been believing a lie, you have to uproot it and replace it with the truth for your life to change, for you to take hold of the peace that God has always intended for you to have.

I am worth nothing is replaced by I am his precious treasure.
I am unloveable is replaced by I am loved with an everlasting love.
I am unemployable is replaced by He knows the plans he has for me, plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me a hope and a future and I will eat the fruit of my labour.

I have probably blogged all this before but this week, I'm noticing it once again in another area of my life. I'm kicking another little bit of people pleasing out of my life and accepting that I am truely, fearfully and wonderfully made just as I am.

My friend Jo recommended I read this book Nice Girls Don't Change the World by Lynne Hybels and I'd like to thoroughly recommend it to you. It's very short, I read it in less than an hour and on Kindle you can download it for just under $10. It's a very powerful story of how people-pleasing got the author into a place of great depression and how God got her out of this place of living her life to please other and into a place of being who God made her to be.

Have a great weekend wherever in the world you are and remember... Be you, everyone else is taken.


  1. Sophy I love reading your blogs! I was talking to Bo about it and he said you ought to write 'everyday thoughts' in a booklet - if that makes sense.
    Anyway, writing is your gifting and you manage to put into words what a lot of us can't quite articulate - even in our thoughts.
    Love youx

    1. Hi Penny, thank you so much for your comment! I've tried and tried to write something longer than a blog post but I'm starting to think I have a short attention span!!! Hah. Thank you though for your kind words. Love, Sx

  2. Thank you for sharing those words...words we wall need reminding of. I am off to check out that book on my kindle...maybe a good one for my teen too.
    Oh by the way those pics of yourself....and the hubby. Xxxxxx

    1. You'll love the book Bron! Thank you for your lovely compliment xx

  3. Sophie.... This is so me.... Thank you!

    1. Hey Boarding Big Sis, lots of love to you xxx

  4. Can I please apologise to you on behalf of the human race for the dimwit who said such an appalling thing in your interview??

    1. Haha Mid 30s! I didn't know you still read the blog! :) Thanks for stopping by and for the apology on behalf of Awful PR Woman! Unfortunately I rather think quite a lot of young girls are completely crushed by what unthinking mean people say to them! It's a wonder any of us achieve anything at all after all the crushing blows we receive from... of all people, other women!

  5. BOO to that nasty woman!

    I love this post... I am wrestling with similar things; not quite the same - rather it's more the lies we tell ourselves (and then believe) that I am slowly working through right now. But I guess some of these will have stemmed back from words people have said in the past as well...

    Keep on writing! xx

    1. Thank you Elizabeth... it's amazing what rubbish we end up believing isn't it! Sometimes I can hardly credit what's in my own head! Looking forward to hearing about your victories!

  6. Wonderful post and reminder! I love how like you with the passing of time and getting a bit older you start to realise (through Grace of course!) (and it's a process, sometimes a long one just as you've noted!) anyways, you start to realise that all that matters is you, and God, and those truly nearest and dearest to you. That your self worth has nothing to do with what anyone sais but what God puts inside you. Thanks Sophie - I do so love reading your blog and being encouraged xx

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