The Spirit of People Pleasing: Understanding its Impact from a Christian Perspective

Leanna Coffman

1/7/20243 min read

As human beings, we have an innate desire to be liked and accepted by others. We often find ourselves going to great lengths to please those around us, sometimes at the expense of our own well-being. This behavior, known as people pleasing, can have a significant impact on our lives and relationships. From a Christian standpoint, it is important to recognize that people pleasing is not a fruit of the Spirit, and understanding why can help us find a healthier balance in our interactions with others.

The Fruit of the Spirit

In the Bible, the apostle Paul writes about the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. These qualities are described as the evidence of a life lived in close relationship with God. They include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These attributes reflect the character of God and are meant to be cultivated in the lives of believers.

While it is natural to desire positive relationships and seek harmony with others, people pleasing can often lead us away from the true essence of these fruits. When our primary motivation becomes seeking the approval and acceptance of others, we can lose sight of the genuine love and selflessness that should guide our actions.

The Dangers of People Pleasing

People pleasing can have a detrimental impact on our emotional well-being and spiritual growth. Here are a few dangers associated with this behavior:

1. Loss of Authenticity

When we constantly seek to please others, we may find ourselves compromising our own values and beliefs. We may say or do things that are not in alignment with our true selves, simply to gain the approval of those around us. In doing so, we lose our authenticity and become disconnected from our own identity.

2. Neglecting Self-Care

People pleasing often involves putting the needs and desires of others above our own. While it is important to show kindness and consideration to others, it is equally important to prioritize our own well-being. Neglecting self-care can lead to burnout, resentment, and a lack of fulfillment in our own lives.

3. Enabling Unhealthy Relationships

Constantly seeking to please others can lead to enabling unhealthy dynamics in our relationships. We may find ourselves tolerating mistreatment or compromising our boundaries in order to maintain the approval of others. This can ultimately lead to toxic and one-sided relationships.

Biblical Perspective on People Pleasing

While the Bible encourages us to love and serve others, it also emphasizes the importance of seeking God's approval above all else. In Colossians 3:23-24, it says, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving."

As Christians, our ultimate aim should be to please God rather than people. This does not mean that we disregard the feelings and needs of others, but rather that our actions are guided by a desire to honor God and live in accordance with His will. When we seek to please God first, we can find freedom from the pressures of people pleasing and experience a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose.

Finding a Healthy Balance

While it is important to be considerate of others and foster healthy relationships, it is equally important to prioritize our own well-being and spiritual growth. Here are a few practical steps to finding a healthier balance:

1. Know Yourself

Take time to reflect on your values, beliefs, and boundaries. Understanding who you are and what is important to you will help you make decisions that align with your authentic self.

2. Seek God's Guidance

Regularly spend time in prayer and seek God's guidance in your interactions with others. Ask for wisdom and discernment to know when to say "yes" and when to set healthy boundaries.

3. Practice Self-Care

Make self-care a priority in your life. Take time to rest, recharge, and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.

4. Surround Yourself with Supportive Relationships

Surround yourself with people who love and accept you for who you are. Cultivate relationships that encourage your growth and support your journey towards living a life pleasing to God.


While the desire to please others is natural, it is important to recognize that people pleasing is not a fruit of the Spirit. Understanding the dangers associated with this behavior from a Christian standpoint can help us find a healthier balance in our interactions with others. By seeking to please God above all else, we can experience true fulfillment and live a life that reflects the genuine love and selflessness of Christ.