People pleasing is the surest sign of selfishness.

I discovered this on my quest for freedom. “Can I be real honest with you?”… That preface should never need to be said. I may not tell you that your hair looks bad today; some things don’t need to be said, but some things don’t need to be assumed either.

I will control whether you like me or not.

I came to the realization that I had been playing a game called, “I will control whether you like me or not.” Wow, it is amazing how we can seep into a place of control and not even know it. I heard it said before that when you begin assuming what another person is thinking and start basing your words and actions from that place, you are entering into the “control zone.” What makes us go to that place? – the need to be liked, the need for acceptance, the inability to accept rejection.

What would happen if I decided that instead of doing what I think will make another happy, I made decisions based on my values?

Face the music.

Someone, somewhere, sometime will be unhappy because of what I did or said. In this case, I am left with the consequences. The consequences may be, but need not be, guilt, shame or injustice. What does remain and what I can live with is the fact that I made a decision based on what I believed to be true to my inner belief system. I have a value base that I can reflect back on, and whatever is said or felt by another person does not control my values.

For example, I value love. I value honesty. I value inner peace. I value doing things that honor what I know to be God’s ways. I value faith. I value priorities. I may decide that I don’t feel like putting on my “happy face” when I disagree with the conversation. On the other hand, I may decide that I value your input in my life, and that your perspective is worth considering.

People know when you have a real smile or not.

The bottom line is, being “happy” isn’t about anyone liking me or agreeing with me. Assumptions are a tool for the weak in identity, and the pendulum may swing to “rude” before I find balance. But, this is my freedom quest to find my real smile. And people know when you have a real smile or not.

So, when I make decisions, I have to ask myself, “what do I value?” “Does this decision submit to my values, or seek to please others or my selfish endeavours?” Love is patient, kind, gentle, long-suffering, believes all things, hopes all things and never fails. Phew, how do I value love and not seek to please others? I think the best answer I have discovered is to make sure that fear is not in the driver’s seat.

I am protecting myself from what I cannot bear…

When fear is driving me, most likely, I am being a people pleaser. Most likely I am protecting myself from what I cannot bear— rejection. Most likely I am deriving my worth from something I say or do instead of who I know I am. I may be smiling on the outside, but it is plastic.

All this rambling about a smiling mask and what philosophers have dubbed as primo, “the quest for happiness” really comes down to one thing for me: love.

Love gives us a real smile.

Love is pure. Love doesn’t seek it’s own.

I am convinced that this only comes from one able to love perfectly, which is not me or anyone else on this earth. How do I be free? How do remove my fake smile? I accept that your happiness is not my responsibility. I accept that God is in control and NOT me, and I seek a love that is able to please.

Sarah Hascher

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Sarah Hascher is a native yankee, but wears her southern charm like a necklace. She designs, creates and moves like the waves.

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