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Entering the Conflict Zone: Peace-loving vs. Peace-making

conflictLast week marked the first of ten classes that I’m leading where we’re studying a book titled, Pleasing People: How Not to Be an “Approval Junkie”.

Okay, time for truth here. When I first read/reviewed this book some years ago, I thought, well, I’ve got lots of problems…to be sure…but being an approval junkie isn’t one of them.

Wrong.

Once I read this book through, I realized I am definitely not immune from this insidious disorder as the author puts it.

So, as I’m rereading the text and highlighting the sections that stick out to me (or more accurately grab me by the throat) I’ve realized how much of an approval junkie I am…with certain people, mind you.

Below I’ll list some thoughts people pleasers inwardly fret over that author Lou Priolo says are common characteristics of being an approval junkie (aka a people pleaser).

Take a deep breath…you might even see yourself in a few of these surprising and heart revealing scenarios.

Writes Priolo —

The love of man’s approval is inextricably bound to the fear of man’s disapproval. When a people pleaser interacts with others, his thoughts immediately and instinctively run in the direction of selfishness, anxiety, and fear.

I’m not prepared to meet this person.
What does he think of me?
I’ll probably make a fool of myself.
I can’t reveal too much of myself or he will know what I’m really like and reject me.
I can’t bear the thought of being hurt again.
I have to get away from this person as quickly as possible.
I have to be careful not to say anything that might get me into a conflict.

A people pleaser is not a peacemaker, but rather a peace lover. A peacemaker is willing to endure the discomfort of a conflict in the hope of bringing about a peaceful resolution. A peace lover is so afraid of conflict that he will avoid it at almost all costs. He is essentially a coward at heart.

I don’t know about you, but when I read this section I realized how often I am the cowardly peace loving person rather than the brave peace making person.

And that, my friend, has to change.

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