Just for Today – April 13th – People-Pleasing

The approval of others. It’s a powerful motivator. A kind word, a pat on the back, a thumbs-up on social media – these things can make our day. Conversely, disapproval stings. A frown, a critical comment, or simply being ignored can leave us feeling deflated and insecure.

In today’s meditation from the “Just for Today” series, we explore the concept of “people-pleasing” and how it can be detrimental in our recovery journey, particularly for those struggling with addiction.

The Allure of Approval

The reading highlights how seeking approval from others is a natural human desire. When our actions are met with positive reinforcement, it validates our choices and motivates us to keep going. This can be particularly true during recovery, where staying on the right path requires constant effort.

However, the line between healthy validation and unhealthy people-pleasing can become blurry. When our self-worth becomes contingent on the approval of others, we enter dangerous territory.

The Trap of Low Self-Esteem

The meditation points out how low self-esteem often fuels people-pleasing behavior. When we don’t feel good about ourselves, we crave external validation to fill the void. We contort ourselves to fit other people’s expectations, sacrificing our own values and integrity in the process.

This creates a vicious cycle. We might get a temporary high from the approval we receive, but ultimately, it’s unsatisfying. We haven’t addressed the root cause of our need for validation, and the pain of diminishing ourselves resurfaces.

Finding Inner Satisfaction

The path to lasting self-worth lies in doing things for the right reasons, not just to please others. The meditation suggests aligning our actions with our Higher Power’s will for us. This concept can take on different meanings depending on individual beliefs, but the core message is to act according to our own values and principles.

By doing so, we develop a sense of inner integrity and self-respect. This doesn’t mean we become impervious to the opinions of others. But it allows us to filter external feedback through the lens of our own values, leading to a more balanced and healthy approach to approval.

The Unexpected Reward

Interestingly, the meditation suggests that when we prioritize our own values and principles, we might find that genuine approval from others follows.

The people who truly matter in our lives – those who support our recovery journey – will appreciate seeing the authentic version of ourselves. They’ll respect our boundaries and celebrate our successes on our own terms.

Breaking the Cycle: One Day at a Time

Ending people-pleasing behavior is a continuous process in recovery. The daily meditation concludes with a powerful message: “Just for today: Higher Power, help me live in accordance with spiritual principles. Only then can I approve of myself.”

Taking recovery one day at a time and focusing on aligning our actions with our own values is a powerful tool for breaking free from the shackles of people-pleasing. As we build self-respect and inner strength, external approval becomes less important, and genuine connection with others takes its place.


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