223: People Pleasers, You Don’t Need to Apologize for Your Decisions

As a recovering people pleaser, I know what it’s like to place my self-worth in how others view me. If you are looking for support with people pleasing, listen in as I talk about how to stop apologizing when you are making a decision, bible verses that demonstrate how we should treat others, and aspects of Jesus’ life to remind us of who we ultimately answer to. 

Over the next few weeks, I will also be helping you with mindset issues that pertain to perfectionism and overachieving. My hope is that you will start to see these patterns in your life and lean on God throughout the process of working through them. And if you want my support to help you stop people pleasing, check out the Christian Mindset Makeover!

As a recovering people pleaser, I know what it’s like to place my self-worth in how others view me. Join me in this conversation to help you stop people pleasing, stop apologizing, and remember that you can put yourself first while serving others.


[00:47] What you can expect in the next few episodes & a previous episode to help support you with self-confidence 

[04:57] A sign of being a people pleaser

[06:22] What’s the connection between the Type 2 Enneagrams + people pleasers?

[08:20] Healthy ways to make decisions with respect

[10:46] 4 Bible verses on how to treat others 

[16:16]  What can Jesus’ interactions with others teach us about people pleasing?

[24:45] Using ADD (Acknowledge, Discern and Decide) to help you work through emotions behind people pleasing

[27:50] Reflection questions + an invitation to find help for people pleasing in the Christian Mindset Makeover

[00:47] What you can expect in the next few episodes & a previous episode to help support you with self-confidence 

Over the next few episodes, I am going to be talking about mindset issues that are related to people pleasers, overachievers, and perfectionists. I have personally dealt with each of those and I want to give you permission from the Bible, to be able to think and act differently. Today we are talking about people pleasing. Something that tends to come up for people pleasers is the idea that we have to apologize for our decisions because we are afraid of upsetting people. 

I consider myself a recovering people pleaser and perfectionist but these two mindset issues are my Achilles heel. I always have to ask God to help me see things that I do not see so I do not fall into these traps again. I want you to know that I get it and that God is able to help us think differently and find freedom. 

Today's episode is related to episode 193: 6 Negative Self-Talk Phrases to Eliminate and Replace for More Self Confidence and I wanted to refocus this around “what are things that limit our confidence in Christ?” I encourage you to go back to listen to that episode because there are very specific phrases that we tend to use that keep us stuck in negative self-talk. 

[04:57] A sign of being a people pleaser

The trend of apologizing or being afraid to make a decision, because someone will disagree, is very strong with people pleasers. We do not want to rock the boat because we get our worth from being seen in a good light by others. It is a very subtle thing that can creep in. We agree to something then decide against it and find ourselves trying to justify why we should stay committed to it or feel like we have to over-explain and apologize to the people involved. And that is not necessarily how God wants us to live. 

[06:22] The connection between the Enneagram type two and people-pleasing

If you are familiar with the Enneagram, type twos are people who get their worth in serving others. The Enneagram shows your true motivation and it focuses on your deepest needs and fears. The more I heal some mindset areas and grow in Christ, the more I see that I desire to serve and help others. Many times Type Twos struggle with being a good girl and peacemaker. We want to make everybody happy and keep our feelings inside so no one gets upset with us. God calls us to be peacemakers and bring harmony but if it is at the destruction of ourselves or we use it to manipulate and control an outcome, then that is not healthy either. If you are an Enneagram Two, then I would encourage you to really think about this conversation today.

[08:20] Healthy ways to make decisions with respect

I want you to start to notice these patterns when you make a decision or start to over-apologize. If there are people in your life that model strong but respectful decision-making, you can look to them. 

I have been blessed to have two very strong models of decision-making in my life, one of them is my husband. He has always been really good at just saying, “That is the way it is. That is what God is calling us to do, and that is the answer.” I have been blessed to live with someone who has taught me a lot about why I tend to backpedal or sometimes feel scared to say certain things. He has helped me to develop the confidence that comes in saying, “This is what the Lord has called me to do and this is the answer” and to have the mindset of not needing to explain myself.

The other person is a good friend of mine that is another strong person of faith. She is a soft-hearted woman that loves others but has taught me a lot about saying “Nope, this is the answer. I answer to God”. The overall message that I want you to take from today's episode is that we respond to people, and we answer to God. We respond to people in a kind, loving, and respectful way but at the end of the day, we answer to God for our decisions.

[10:46] 4 Bible verses on how to treat others

I wanted to share a few verses that really highlight how to treat others. The first verse is 1 Corinthians 10:24 which says, “No one should seek their own good but the good of others.” This does not mean that we do not consider ourselves, it means that we have to consider others as part of the decision that we are making. 

The second verse that shows us how to treat others is 1 Corinthians 13:5. It is speaking of love and says, “It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” This reminds us that love is not pushing others out of the way, it is giving space for people to make mistakes, it is not keeping a record of that wrong, and it is being aware of other people and of their needs. It is not just about us.

Another verse is Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests, but each of you to the interests of others.” So again, it highlights the importance of others.

Now I want to contrast that balance between serving others and filling our own cup because it can be tricky for those who struggle with people pleasing. You probably related to these first few verses because you want to serve others and put them first but how does that relate to the needs that God wants to fill in us first so that we can serve others? How do we balance that? How do we make that happen? 

Psalm 56:4 says, “I praise God for what He has promised, I trust in God, so why should I be afraid? What can mere mortals do to me?” 

This verse speaks to me as a people pleaser because behind our fear of making a decision, is the fear of what others are going to think. We are more comfortable saying “I am going to be that servant”, and we may be completely depleting ourselves instead of showing up as a restored and renewed version. There is a balance of taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of others.

It is important that we understand that is what Jesus modeled so that we do not get stuck in the fear of pleasing man, the fear of what other people could do in retribution, or how they may be angry at us. 

One of my biggest fears is for somebody to be angry with me in a way that I could have prevented. If I could have been perfect, done it correctly, or not offended them, then I could have avoided it. That is unrealistic and I could never act in a way that is going to please every single person around me and I understand that when people are disappointed or upset with me, it triggers stuff from my past so then I feel like I have to apologize because I need to show them that I am enough. If you struggle with that too, you are not alone. We need to remember what Jesus modeled and how He interacted with others to guide us through.

[16:16] What can Jesus’ interactions with others teach us about people pleasing?

So how did Jesus interact with others? He lived as a perfect human and he did a great job of modeling boundaries while staying in submission to the authority of God. There are a few concepts here I want you to think about, the first one being that Jesus took time away by himself without excuse. He did not stand there on the edge of the hillside and say, “I am going off on myself now, I am so sorry. I know you all have needs and I know you need me to heal this person and this person, but I am so tired”. He does not give an explanation, He goes and does what His Father's will is and refueled himself so that he can serve to the level that he needs to serve. 

Jesus also did not heal every person he met. This was an eye-opening concept for me. He may have been physically present with a lot of people but there were needs that he had to walk away from and things that he could not do as a human in his fleshly body. We do not understand this side of heaven but we know that God's word tells us that He lived perfectly and did the Father's will in all that He did. So we have to believe and trust that everything he accomplished in terms of healing was what was supposed to be accomplished. 

He also recognized that he could not please everyone. He boldly spoke against the religious leaders with authority. Talk about going against everything that a people pleaser hates. He said, “This is a lie that you believe, this is not true and I am the truth. Let me just share with you who I am.” And even when they said, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do this?” 

He said many times “I do not need to show you a sign. I am who I am.” He did not feel the need to explain himself or convince them even when he was rejected. He said, “This is the way it is” as part of living in his authority as the Son of God. 

Jesus spoke truth and love but it was still a hard truth to hear. For example, there was a rich young man who came to him and said “What do I need to do to inherit the kingdom of God?” And Jesus saw that the world had such a hold on this man and He said, “You need to sell everything and follow me.” Jesus said this in a respectful way without an apology and the man walked away. Sometimes the most respectful thing we can do is to tell someone the truth and love, not just something that is nice. And of course, as the Son of God, as the King of the universe, He knows exactly how to do that in a way that respects them and honors God. 

Most of all, we see Jesus being about his Father's business and His will, even from the time when he was a young child. There is the story of Him being separated from his parents in the temple for several days and His response when they finally found Him is in Luke 2:49 where He says “Why were you searching for me? Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?” He does not explain why He has been gone He just says “This is who I have to obey, this is who I am.” And in the Garden of Gethsemane, when seeing the cross before Him and seeing what God was calling Him to do, He asked God “Father, all things are possible for you. And if it is possible, will you please take this away from me, but not as I will, but what you will.” So He does not make an excuse for the difficulty that He had to go through and move forward with. He says, “I'm following you, God, and I'm doing what you're calling me to do.”

All of this does not mean that we should not take responsibility if people get hurt by what we say or that we should not serve people. And as people pleasers, we have to remember that we answer to God and He is the one we follow. We do not have to explain ourselves and we can speak with confidence when making a decision. If God is calling you to focus on something and you have to part ways with something else, you can stand confident in that answer. 

We can also recognize that it is normal to feel unaccepted. Jesus was unaccepted to the point that it cost him his life. We have to understand that we have a God who gets that we may not be fully understood by the world around us. He understands that, has compassion for us, and He helps us remember that our foundation and our identity is in Him so we do not have to worry about others' opinions. He does not expect us to be perfect in our responses to other people or to Him and we can trust that His decisions are our decisions.

[24:45] Using ADD (Acknowledge, Discern and Decide) to help you work through emotions behind people pleasing

A tool that I use to help people work through emotions is called ADD (acknowledge, discern, and decide). It is very powerful for managing emotions but we can also use it in other situations. For example, if we are in a situation where we are scared of saying something, we could first acknowledge that it is very intimidating to go to this person and say, “I can't be a part of this anymore.” Acknowledge that you are afraid that they are going to be disappointed in you and you are afraid that they are going to think less of you as a Christian. 

Then we can use discernment to separate fear and worries from truth by asking: “What is God calling me to do? What is the truth here?” For example, “My family really needs me at home on Sunday mornings and I can go to the service”. Whatever it is that God has put in your heart. The discerning side is seeing the truth and understanding why it is true.

And then lastly you’re deciding: “What am I going to do? How am I going to take that truth and the feeling about disappointing other people and apply it in a way that I can have peace moving forward?” For example, we can say “I am deciding that I am going to move forward with this because God called me to do this. I am going to trust that my words are going to be enough and I can let go of any fear of man or need to defend myself.” 

You do not need to defend yourself because you already answered to God and He is the one who is telling you to do this next step. You can tell yourself “I am never a disappointment to Him and that even if somebody else is disappointed in me, that is their decision. I am going to follow God and that is where I am going to dwell and find peace.” I highly encourage you to use a tool like that if you are feeling like God is asking you to make a decision but you are afraid of others’ responses.

[27:50] Reflection questions + an invitation to find help for people pleasing in the Christian Mindset Makeover 

If you related to this conversation I would encourage you to reflect on this question: Is this something that God needs to work with me on? He brings up these things in our lives so we can deal with them by looking at them without judgment but with curiosity to say “That is really interesting, I thought I dealt with this.” or “I can see how that is related to something else in my past and I really want to work through that.”

I would also encourage you to join me in the Christian Mindset Makeover because it is a great place for us to be able to understand how these subconscious patterns formed. The soundtracks that are saying, “I have to please other people in order to be happy. I have to keep everyone around me at peace.” I know that you know that you answer to God and if you feel that dissonance, that is the sign that there are probably those subconscious patterns under there. 

I have helped hundreds of women get freedom around this and in the Christian Mindset Makeover, we start to understand where these patterns came from. We find resolution and healing, we release and surrender, and find ways that we have allowed others' opinions to be stronger than what God's truth is about us. We take responsibility and then we create something called brain priming- a proven scientific exercise that uses the power of neuroscience to strip away those old subconscious soundtracks based on the neurons that are there. We rewire those neurons and create a new soundtrack about our identity that is in line with God’s word for our bodies and minds to operate from. 

When we do this work, we are freed from having that conflict between our inner thought life and logical mind. I would love to be able to help you find freedom and lightness in this area of people pleasing, so sign up for the Christian Mindset Makeover if this is something that would be supportive for you. If this conversation resonated with you, stay tuned over the next few weeks because we will be talking about other aspects of this with overachieving and perfectionism.

And you can now find me on YouTube so make sure to subscribe so you do not miss past podcast episodes, bible verses to encourage you to find more calm, and mindset tips! I am super excited to be able to offer this to you because I know the work that we do has to be ongoing. It is not something that we can just talk about once a week. Many of the videos are under a few minutes so you can digest a little bit at a time. Make sure to “like” all of the posts that resonate with you so we know what you want to hear more about! I would love to connect with you over there. 



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193: 6 Negative Self-Talk Phrases to Eliminate and Replace for More Self Confidence


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