People Pleasing vs Serving

Harmony (Dust) Grillo Blog, Leadership 5 Comments

 This little list has been a game changer for me!  When I first read it several years ago, I was astounded by how many things I was doing out of a desire to people please without even realizing it!  Since then, it has been a great gauge for me as I navigate the co-dependency recovery journey.

What I love about it is that it doesn’t just state the problem, but the healthy counterpart.

How about you? Do you see yourself in any of the items on this list?

Hope it’s helpful!  Love, Harmony 



By Dr. Kevin Downing & Dr. Peter N. Robbins


*Signs you are giving in to people pleasing…

*Signs you are practicing Servanthood…


Lose relationship with God among the demands of needy people.

Maintain a close relationship with God while serving others through your calling.


Obsess intensely over what others think of you.

Acknowledge that rejection and being misunderstood are inevitable.


See no choices.

See many choices.


Listen more to what others say then what they do.

Judge a persons character more by their actions, than by their words.


Are exhausted with demanding and unfulfilling relationships.

Many, if not all, feel like “missionary projects”.

Allow time for restoration and relaxation without guilt.


Survive from one crisis to another.

Choose thriving and growth over mere survival.


Experience a host of stress related illnesses.

Reduce your stress by having realistic expectations of God, yourself and others.


Feel obligated to give and resent it.

Choose to give and enjoy it.


Will attempt to reconcile with another at any price.

Recognize that reconciliation takes the effort of two people not just one.


Labor more and more and are left empty and unproductive.

Do less with greater success and satisfaction.


Are easily manipulated by flattery.

Recognize the difference between sincere feedback and attempts to manipulate.


Feel insecure and out of place most of the time.

Experience secure feelings and a sense of belonging.


Often see yourself as worthless and of little to no value.

Recognize that you are a precious creation of God called to be His ambassador.


Is willingly torn to shreds by people the Bible refers to as swine, dogs. and wolves.

Recognize the evil of some individuals and relate with strong boundaries or not at all.


Can become sexually entangled in illegitimate and abusive relationships.

Are able to maintain sexual boundaries because the bases (good relationships. faith recreation clear calling) are established and practiced.


Are so consumed with the faults of loved ones that you do not see

your own contributions to relationship problems.

Are able to see the short comings of you and loved ones. yet choose to focus

on how you respond to others and grow.


Become blurred and confused in your personal direction.

Experience clarity, focus in your personal mission, and dream.


Have buried anger and resentment as primary feelings.

Are able to express anger in an appropriate and productive way.


Violate personal beliefs and standards to “make others happy.”

Hold onto your integrity, knowing that there will be negative responses.


Lie about feelings of being taken advantage of and other hurts.

Honest about situations that causes you to feel violated.


Are easily fooled by false promises and token efforts to change by manipulators.

Look for consistent ongoing changes by those who are promising reform.


Actually enable others to drink, abuse drugs and others in the name of ‘helping them.’

Recognize that ‘helping can be harmful’ and are able to pull away allowing others to hit bottom, if necessary (Jesus and the rich young ruler).


Create close friendships with people whose only agenda is to ‘suck you dry.’

Actively participate in hobbies or interests that are restoring and fulfilling.


Have few hobbies and personal interests because energies are spent people pleasing.

Realize that an inner circle of friends where there is mutual support and love is necessary (e.g. Jesus and Peter, James and John).


Feel that life is out of your control and you cannot change it.

Feel that many goals are accomplished in life and are eager to pursue more.


Deny that still small voice of the Holy Spirit especially if it involves risk or conflict.

Risk following the creative call of the Spirit into new and different adventures.


Feel responsible for other people’s behavior.

Are responsible to others but not for their choices.


May allow spouse of others to mistreat your children and family.

Will demand safety and dignity for your children and other loved ones.


See significant others as your ‘life’, your salvation and means of fulfillment.

Enjoy the richness relating to others can bring while maintaining your own

dignity and life goals.


Have little to no time for recreation and solitude.

Wisely choose time for recreation, are comfortable with, and look forward to being alone.


Are waiting passively for a miracle to solve your problem.

Become a miracle through action and faith to solve problems.





Comments 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *