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How to Stop People Pleasing

A mentor of mine recently shared part of a conversation she had with her daughter in which the question, “what is the opposite of disappointed” was posed. After thinking about it for a few moments she responded, “The opposite of disappointed is appointed.”

While Merriam-Webster may disagree with this assessment of the word, it left quite an impression.

I cannot tell you the number of times I have made decisions (or not made them) solely to avoid potentially disappointing others. I can’t leave this job, say no to that event, go on the trip, end a relationship, because doing so might let another person down.

What if this way of thinking was completely reframed?

Rather than living from a framework dependent upon others’ perceptions and expectations, what if you leaned into the question, “what have I been appointed to today?”

The act of dis-appointing, then, takes on an entirely new meaning. No longer is it based on the ways in which you have failed, but on what you uniquely have the capacity to contribute.

We can only be appointed to so many things in any given day.

In some seasons this may be less, others more. By recognizing our limitations, we become so much more confident in what we have to offer, while also shamelessly receiving the gifts of others.

When I disappoint myself, I am able to live into my appointments with more energy and enthusiasm, invite feedback without defensiveness, and experience the freedom within my own boundaries.   

So — what are you being appointed to, today?

Who, or what, might you need to dis-appoint in your life? What is stopping you?

The act of dis-appointing may be exactly what’s needed to begin improving your marriage, health, career, friendships, or emotional well being. If you’d like more guidance and support as you begin to brave dis-appointment, we’d love to help. Browse our therapists and schedule your first session here.

Cresson Haugland is a therapist at Sage Hill Counseling in Nashville, TN.Cresson returned to her college home town of Nashville after several years on Young Life staff and further continuing her education at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

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