One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People-Pleaser

My Film and Lit professor handed my paper back with a look that said 'You could have done better on this.' As I flipped through the crisp pages marked up with my teacher's illegible handwriting, a comment caught my eye: "You have two main ideas in this paper and the evidence to support both; you need to only choose one." My heart sank in my stomach as a realization hit me.

I have known for a long time that I am a person who wants to be approved by people and honestly who doesn't want to be approved of by their peers? I was born a people-pleaser as evidenced by my strict adherence to the rules as a child and the length I go to make things right with people when they're unhappy with me or a situation. This has led me to be less confident than I truly am. Many times in conversation I've stated my viewpoint on an issue like Creation vs Evolution only to be responded to with scorn, contempt and anger and then someone's own viewpoint on the same issue. It's those moments where I lose the battle every time and seek people's approval. I choose to bow down to other people's opinions in agreement to gain their favor and acceptance. Instead of this favor satisfying me (which I know it will never do) it instead drains me of the confidence I have in myself and causes me to reexamine everything I thought I knew about a topic just because I believe that those around me must know how to answer a question better than I do. I definitely listen to the opinions of people around me, especially those who are older and wiser, but I tend to conform to those opinions without even considering their implications.

Besides being a people-pleaser I am also a perfectionist. I hate to be wrong and I will do everything possible to avoid the shame in being a failure. This fear of mine has manifested itself in my life in ways I did not even think to be possible. One of the ways I normally mitigate this fear is to create ways for me to be right always. This seems contrary to logic since the very definition of right is subjective and limited to when there is a wrong for it to be compared to but I digress. In conversation one of my favorite phrases to use is 'I can see it from both sides.' This phrase has gotten me out of any argument as I basically become Switzerland in any discussion. It has helped when dealing with touchy subjects but in the end I am not challenged to stick to one side while believing it, defending it, and learning about it. I end up becoming lazy and not "standing firm" in my faith as 1 Corinthians 16:13 says I should be as a Christian.

Not wanting to be wrong has not just come up in my conversations however. As soon as I saw my professor comment about the two competing ideas in my paper, I knew that this habit and shortcoming of mine was making its way into my writing unknowingly. While writing that paper I remember worrying that I would make a conclusion that was wrong and thus be given a bad grade. To prevent that I wrote in such a way to make two conclusions possible, without realizing that by doing that, I neglected the whole point of the assignment and that those two conclusions in reality, were totally antagonistic to each other.

I'm slowly learning how to address these issues in my life. They are by no means easy as they touch the core of who I am as a person and thus are even harder to pin down and tame than other sins I struggle with. Christ is redeeming me each and every day and showing me that I don't need the approval of others and that I am wrong, because I am a sinner, but that He is never wrong and has transformed me from a dirty, rotten, horrible sinner, into his child.


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