This just in: I’m a people-pleaser. I suppose I’ve always known that, but apparently now it’s confirmed. How did this glorious discovery make itself known? I took a test. Christian counselors have put together what’s known as the People-Pleasing Inventory. After you complete the inventory, you find out if you’re free from people-pleasing tendencies, if you’re a bit too concerned with pleasing people, if you’re a bona fide people-pleaser, or (last but not least) if you’re a people-pleasing addict. Guess which category yours truly fell into? You guessed it: People. Pleasing. Addict.
In his book Pleasing People: How Not to Be an “Approval Junkie,” Christian counselor Lou Priolo lays out some of the core problems people-pleasers have. The main one is idolatry. This idolatry problem manifests itself in two ways: pride and fear. We want to be esteemed highly (pride) and we don’t want others to have a low view of us (fear). We’re all people-pleasers at one level or another, which means we’re all prideful at some level. I don’t want this entire post to be about people-pleasing. Instead, I want to share with you some points Priolo makes about pride so we can together attack the sin of pride in our lives. See if you feel convicted by any of the points below: What is pride?
- Pride is the delusion that our achievements are primarily the results of our own doing.
- Pride is selfishly using for your own glory and benefit the wisdom, ability, and gifts that God has given you for His glory and the benefit of others.
- Pride is having a greater desire to be loved by others than for others to love God (wanting others to love you more than they love God).
- Pride is resorting to defensiveness, blame-shifting, justification, or anger when lawfully reproved by another.
Some further explanation is in order: Priolo writes, “The proud person is unteachable. He foolishly loathes reproof and correction. The thought that someone might see him as a sinner is, to him, an embarrassment of tremendous proportions.”
- Pride is having a censorious, critical, condemning, accusing, judgmental attitude toward others, especially those in positions of authority. I.E., the prideful person hates competition.
- Pride is becoming impatient or upset when contradicted in speech, especially publically.
- Pride is . . . When wronged, being unwilling to forgive an offender who has not demonstrated extreme submission or repentance. In other words, “Proud people struggle to grant forgiveness to those who are not wallowing in sorrow over their offenses . . . Of course, when it comes time for him to confess his own sin, the arrogant individual expects those he has offended to overlook his ‘little offenses.’”
- Pride is investing more resources to establish your own honor than to establish God’s honor. Priolo writes (and I absolutely agree), “A proud person uses his resources to promote his own glory more than God’s glory. His checkbook is under the influence more of his pride than of the Holy Spirit. Even when he does give to God, he often does so with the motive to improve or maintain his standing in the eyes of those he wants to impress [read: people-pleaser!] with his generosity. . . . He would rather skimp on secret acts of benevolence.”
- Pride is being unwilling to admit when you are wrong. Priolo notes that this is one of the reasons why church conflicts are hard to resolve. No one wants to admit that they were wrong.
- Pride is being discontented with your position in life.
- Pride is being oversensitive to criticism. In other words, that which causes a person to overreact to criticism is pride. Being easily offended over reproof is a sure sign that one has made an idol of his or her reputation.
- Pride is having excessively high expectations. How so, you may wonder? Read these words by Priolo slowly and carefully: “Because he wants to show off his achievements, a proud person often has high expectations of himself. He also likes to raise the bar even higher than God does for others, who never quite seem to measure up. Moreover, because he longs to be seen and respected and honored from those around him, no one (except perhaps another people-pleaser) can afford to invest the time to do everything his insatiable appetite for approval requires. There will always be something that doesn’t quite measure up to his expectation—some word, or inflection, or facial expression, or gesture, or attitude, or omission that will displease him.”