You prepare a banquet, for me, where all my enemies can see me; you welcome me as an honored guest and fill my cup to the brim.
Being a people pleaser has gotten a bad rep, but that’s because the two types have been lumped into one title. Being a people pleaser doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover. That’s just one category, the other is all about filling other’s cups.
Being a pushover people pleaser means agreeing with what someone else says even if you disagree, or giving someone what they want simply because they want it. It usually leaves you feeling empty and upset. That is not a feeling anyone wants! The second type of people pleasing is much more fulfilling, it’s when you fill people’s cups. When you do just a little extra to make someone’s day, when you do it just to be able to see them smile, when you don’t do it for any attention on yourself, a pure act of selflessness to make another feel better. That is the kind of people pleaser I like to be.
“It is to those who have the most need of us that we ought to show our love more especially.”
-St. Francis de Sales
As humans, we have a biological need to be loved. It is one thing everyone of us wants and needs, even if we can’t admit it, that longing is deep down inside all of us. Unfortunately, some people on this earth have not been able to feel love like others. Those are the ones who need it most. They deserve our love more than anyone! We have all had moments where we feel unloved, it is heart wrenching, so imagine what a little kindness can do for someone else who is feeling that way.
“Never see a need without trying to do something about it.”
-Blessed Mary Mackillop
Sometimes it can be really hard to do this, but that is when it fills my cup just as much as it does theirs. I find it hardest when it is someone who has hurt me, when it is a stranger, or when I am worried I might offend someone. Just last week I was walking into Target (surprise, surprise), and I saw a woman pushing a cart in the parking lot with cases of water and I could tell she was having trouble walking. I thought about going to ask her if she needed help, but it looked like someone passing by offered her but I wasn’t sure, so I wasn’t going to just in case that person did. In about 5 seconds I went back and forth if I was going to walk across the parking lot and ask her; “That person already asked.” “But what if they didn’t ask?” “What if I offend her by assuming she needs help?” “What if she really does need help but is afraid to ask?” So I walked over and asked her if she needed help getting her things into her car. I wasn’t surprised that she declined, and I wish she would have let me, but it felt good to know that I went out of my way to offer to help her, and I hope it helped her feel better that there are people who will help her if she needs it.
Sometimes being a people pleaser is just as much for ourselves as it is for others. When I do things like that, it does make me feel good, and it makes me want to do it more in the future. It doesn’t make me want to do it more in a selfish way, as in I don’t want to do it only because it makes me feel good. The reason it makes me feel good is because I know I might be making OTHERS feel good, that I am making THEIR life easier, that I might be helping give THEM a good day. That is one of the most fulfilling ways to fill your own cup. Because like they say, you can’t give from an empty cup.
“As long as anyone has the means of doing good to his neighbors, and does not do so, he shall be reckoned a stranger to the love of the Lord.”
If I have a full cup, why wouldn’t I give to others?! If I have the means to help another, to give them the love every human deserves, why wouldn’t I?! I have been very lucky in what I have in my life. I thank God all the time for what he has blessed me with, but he didn’t bless me with the life I have for me, he did it so I can help others. I am not saying that God doesn’t bless everyone, our blessings come in various shapes and sizes, and it all depends what we do with them. But, we can be God’s hands, that’s why he put us here. When I help another, or even just make someone else smile, I can feel God’s love surround us, it is amazing. Actually, amazing doesn’t even cover the feeling because God’s love is indescribable. Even if the other person doesn’t know that is exactly what they are feeling, it is still there and I know they feel it and it might make an impact on them.
There are a few really easy things I do to embrace my people pleasing ways:
1. Smiling and Kind Words
You would be amazed what a smile can do! A big genuine smile is an easy way to let others know that “I see you. It’s okay. It will get better.” And sometimes when I can tell someone is having a really bad day, I ask if they are okay, but a lot of times I just say “I hope your day gets better.” I always make a point to tell any cashier or someone who helps me to have a good day and smile. Even if I am having a bad day, that doesn’t mean I can’t help make someone else’s day better. And guess what, that usually makes my day a little better.
This isn’t always an option, but like I said earlier, if I can why wouldn’t I? I for one LOVE giving gifts. I can’t explain it but picking out the perfect gift and seeing someone smile when they open it, or giving a gift with a lot of meaning, overflows my cup. Even if it is just something little, or even if they don’t know it is from me, lifting someone up with something tangible that has a meaning makes my heart burst with joy because I know it made them feel good. This is why in my photography business I spoil my clients! It may not be much, but I like to send a surprise gift to my brides after an engagement session and after their wedding. And I always go a little all out for their welcome gift. I do the same for new parents, just a little something to let them know that they really mean a lot to me.
3. Offer Help
This one can be a lot harder than it sounds. If you are somewhat of an introvert like I am, approaching a stranger to ask if they need help can seem daunting. But it only takes a few seconds of courage to do it, and I promise it is worth it. But it isn’t just for strangers, family and friends need my help too. The most important part is doing it selflessly though. Just because I help them, doesn’t mean I should expect it in return. That can create a bitterness in my heart that is the opposite of what I am going for, because this is for THEM, not for ME.
4. Be Genuine
Being genuine is the most important. People have really good “fake radars.” We also have been conditioned in this world to assume the worst in others. Sometimes when I have trouble truly being genuine, I just ask God to help me. I am doing this to bring His love into the world, so I know he will put His spirit in me to spread His love. I simply pray, “God, I know you want me to spread Your love, but I don’t know how to do it with a true heart. Please help me.” That’s it. Just as I offer help, I need to ask for help sometimes too. And then when I can be truly genuine in trying to make others happy, that’s when their cup can be filled to the brim. This can be the hardest when it is for someone that has hurt you, but just remember, everyone deserves God’s love, and it is the best way to keep bitterness away from your heart and stay genuine for all.
Being a people pleaser doesn’t have to be a bad characteristic to have, it can actually be the most powerful tool you have to grow your love with God and help others grow their love with Him as well. Fill others’ cups, and your cup will overflow.