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I’m done with being a people-pleaser

I'm done with people pleasing

I read Carry On, Warrior over the weekend. It was laugh-out-loud funny and also gut-honest. While I can’t really highly recommend it because I disagreed a great deal with Glennon’s theology on life and religion, it really challenged me in my writing as a blogger.

You see, I’ve not been dishonest as a blogger, but I’ve held back a LOT over the past few years. And it was 100% out of fear.

As this blog has grown, so have the critics. While you can definitely grow thicker skin, that doesn’t keep you from being human and being hurt by the negativity.

Everyday, there are negative comments and emails from people who are disgruntled with me, with this blog, and with my life in general. It’s the sad reality of today’s online world.

Why I Wanted to Stop Blogging

Three and a half years ago the negativity escalated to a point where I wanted to shut the blog completely down and go dark.

What happened? Well, two people whom I considered to be long-time friends and with whom I had shared personal things, posted very hurtful things about me and my family in a public forum.

Since they did so anonymously, at first, I didn’t know who they were. I just knew (based upon the details they shared) that these people knew me personally.

And let me tell you, that’s hard. It’s difficult when you wonder if it’s your friend at church, a relative, someone in your neighborhood. When you don’t know, it’s hard not to hold everyone up as suspect.

As time marched on and they continued to publicly criticize, I slowly narrowed it down until I knew exactly who the two people were. But they didn’t know I knew… and they still continued to act like my friends in our personal interactions.

Which put me in a really awkward place. And also caused me to feel scared in every relationship. Was this person just pretending to be my friend so she could then go and criticize me behind my back to someone else or somewhere online? Did I even have any true friends?

A Lonely Time in My Life

It was a lonely time in my life. It hurt a lot. And it made me seriously reconsider blogging.

It’s one thing to be criticized by a nameless, faceless person who leaves an anonymous comment. It’s another thing entirely to have someone you thought was your friend mocking and criticizing you in a public forum.

Why was it that this blog that I love so much also opens up the door for every part of my life to be publicly scrutinized? Why can’t people just focus on bettering their lives instead of picking apart other people’s lives?

I wanted to run from it. I wanted to pack it all up, take it down, and go hide somewhere far away from everyone but my family. I wish I were stronger than that and could just let it all roll off my back, but I wasn’t.

True Courage

Being a People-Pleaser Is Exhausting & Unfulfilling

Thanks to my husband and my mom’s encouragement and the grace of God, I kept blogging. But I kind of went into a shell. I stopped sharing a lot of personal details about our life. I stopped feeling free to share my heart.

I held back out of fear. Fear of criticism. Fear of ridicule. Fear of what others would think.

Reading Glennon’s book really challenged me. In the past two years, I’ve been working hard at being authentic in my real-life relationships and it’s been a beautiful thing. I’ve experienced much deeper and real friendships — and have been so blessed by it!

It’s Time to Live With Bravery & Boldness

I want to be real and authentic and honest as a blogger, too. I’ve been so encouraged by your response to me recently bringing back more personal posts. And you’ve encouraged me to be brave and open up even more in the coming weeks and months.

No longer do I want to hold back from sharing things on my heart because of fear of being criticized or what people will think. It’s exhausting and unfulfilling!

Yes, not everything needs to be shared online and some things are better left unsaid, but I’m committing to you, my readers, that I am no longer going to hold back from posting something or sharing something just because I’m scared a few people might criticize it.

I’m done with living under the bondage of being a people-pleaser and ready to start living with boldness and bravery! Today.

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339 Comments

  • Trisha says:

    Crystal,

    Thank you so much for your transparency. I have appreciated not only the info on your blog, but especially the personal tidbits you share from life. Your goals, your reading choices, your relationships and personal stories… all these challenge and encourage your readers daily. Your faith in the Lord and love of your family and friends shine brilliantly. Thank you for letting Christ shine through you! May the Lord continue to give you strength to persevere through difficult relationships and the criticism that blogging unfortunately brings.

    Keep shining for Jesus!! 🙂

  • Delynda says:

    Thank you for sharing this. That took bravery and more honesty than most of us could muster publicly. I’d be honored to know you in person and honored to call you a friend. Sounds like they are missing out 😉

  • Stephanie says:

    Reading this was as though you know me, my heart, and my experiences. Kudos to you.
    A friend shared this with me and told me it reminded her of me. I am going to follow your blog. Keep it real!!!
    – A Soul-Sister ♡

  • DeAna says:

    I have been a follower of your blog for quite a few years now, and thank you so much for pushing through the hard times & not giving up. You rock, Crystal!

  • Kate SDDS says:

    That is terrible! Jealousy makes people very ugly sometimes – I am so glad you didn’t quit – your blog is such a blessing to so many! Rock on!

    • Thank you, Kate! I’ve learned a lot from this experience that has challenged me in my own life to make sure I’m careful about my attitudes towards others. Truly, there’s nothing good that comes from jealousy and envy. 🙁

  • Kim says:

    I, too have experienced the friend/hater relationship (although not publicly). It took a long time and a lot of soul searching, but now I consider it a blessing because it showed me their true colors. I no longer share anything personal with them and if they try to probe for more information (which they always do), I politely change the subject. Keep doing what you’re doing because it helps so many people, and don’t let the haters discourage you. God Bless!

    • Situations like these definitely can teach you about discernment in relationships, can’t they? And while it’s hard, that can be such a good thing for future relationships! {Hugs!}

  • Krista Lusby says:

    I love your blog and your stories and advice. I’m glad you didn’t throw it in when faced with that negativity and those false friends. You are awesome and your blog is awesome! Keep going, keep going, keep going!!

  • Jessica Norris says:

    I love this, Crystal! I’m so glad you’re sharing more from your own life again. I’ve been a long-time reader (since 2008 I believe) and your blog is the only one I’ve consistently read for so long. I love your personal posts as much as your deal posts. It’s been awesome to see you become so successful, too. I’m so glad you didn’t let those people stop you from blogging – and there are tons of other people who are happy about that, too!

  • Debbie says:

    Crystal,
    I literally got teary when I read this today. How can people be so cruel and so self-focused?

    Well, let’s not give them the satisfaction of focusing on them too much, but instead, I will just tell you that I’ve crossed a lot of big bloggers off my list lately, because my brain is in information overload. Even in my own blog, I just want to get back to being real and quit trying to impress people with my knowledge.

    You are one that I have NOT crossed off! You offer such great information, but you’re so down to earth and real.

    I love your blog, your books, and the fact that your genuine motive comes through in how you do things.

    I’ve learned so much from you and I’m glad the kill-joys didn’t bring you so far down that you turned out the lights 🙂

    I appreciate you and I want your realness. It’s what keeps me coming back.

    God bless you!

  • Rachael says:

    I am so proud of you….this took a lot of courage to post what you went through. Keep on doing what you do – I believe there are more people out there that love and care for you, than don’t like you. It takes so much effort to be mean and hateful. It’s amazing to me that grown women can act like junior high kids. I’m glad your standing up for yourself and letting everyone know that you are a strong women – because you are! HUGS! 🙂

  • Stephanie says:

    The ongoing supportive comments are true testimony to how you affect others through your writing. God is good.

  • Stacey says:

    Thank you for your blog. I am a new reader(about 6 months now). My husband turned me on to your blog after I was laid off from my job. I love all of your personal stories and tips and ways to save money! I appreciate your hard work and love your site. My husband and I are Christians and just want to say thank you for all that you do. Keep living for the Lord and your faith is amazing!

  • story3girl says:

    You are a gift. And your authenticity makes you even more loveable. I’m so proud to be your reader. You are truly an inspiration.

  • Heather W. says:

    Crystal, this post spoke to my heart today. Something I’ve struggled with all my life and God is really bringing me to face. I fear what others think so much it is sometimes debilitating. I read yesterday in Beth Moore’s book A Heart Like His – “If a person fears God, he or she has no reason to fear anything else. On the other hand, if a person does not fear God, then fear becomes a way of life. David feared God so he did not fear Goliath. Saul did not fear God. Thus he feared the opinions of others, the enemy and even a loyal young boy who played the harp.” Thank you for sharing. You’re such an encouragement.

  • Kristie says:

    That is so disheartening, and I’m sure very painful for you! Sadly, what you experienced is part of a much bigger trend. People assume that bloggers (as well as reality TV stars) have perfect, easy lives. Some bloggers and TV stars have even helped to further that deception by carefully cherry-picking the information they disseminate. So then selfish people spend their time trying to dismantle that “perfect” world by writing explosive stories and starting ugly rumors, or just by writings snarky comments after articles or photos. While we will never rid the world of cruel people, you have actually helped to disarm those critics by sharing about the morning you slept in, or about the goals that were not accomplished in your week, or even your recent admission about how much you don’t like your nail biting habit. You stole their story. 🙂 In a photo-shopped world, your recent blogs have been very refreshing! We all need grace. We’re just ordinary people, learning lessons along the way and passing along what God is teaching us. I hope that your enemies will be pricked in their hearts for their unkindness.

  • You keep doing what you are doing! You have blessed many!

  • Mary says:

    Wow–that took a lot of courage to write! I hurt for you and your loss of those “friendships”. I’ve been there too, and struggled to remember that some people are damaged and need our prayers. I look so forward to reading your posts and feel so akin to you at times, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could post something negative here. Bless you, Crystal, and the work you do here!

  • Diana says:

    You are lovely. Your blog is lovely!
    Cyber-bullying and unkind words are unacceptable.
    Maybe am article on cyber-bullying would be good. The online world is relatively new. The younger generations are not aware of all the crime & bullying that can occur online, not everyone is…maybe it’s a good opportunity to empower your readers so they can be proactive & know what’s going on so they and their children don’t fall prey to this kind of stuff.

  • Priyanthi Silva says:

    Hi Crystal,
    The following is from Beth Moore’s book – Jesus the One and Only.

    those who look for reasons to accuse will undoubtedly find some. They quickly found basis to accuse Jesus. In my own life and ministry, I’ve accepted that, sooner or later, anyone looking hard enough to condemn will be accommodated. I really do believe that more people in the body of Christ are generally accepting than accusing, but one mean-spirited person is practically enough to ruin anyone’s day. Francis Frangipane wrote something so powerful on the subject, I immediately committed it to memory. He said of the Lord:
    To inoculate me from the praise of man, He baptized me in the criticism of man, until I died to control of man.

    Beloved, one thing I know for sure on this subject: nothing will squelch our efforts to seek the approval of others like not receiving it! Furthermore, those who approve one day can be the same ones who accuse the next day. I encourage you to break free from the traps set by approval and accusation . We are called to live our lives above reproach but expect it anyway. Christ was blameless yet was blamed continually. I think you can trust me on this one: blameless people are rarely those who cast blame.

    Moore, Beth (2013-02-14). Jesus, the One and Only (p. 106). B&H Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

    Hope this helps you.
    I enjoy your blog, appreciate your honesty and have gained a lot from it.
    Don’t worry about the few who criticize there are many many more who appreciate you.

    God Bless and Protect you and yours.

    Priyanthi.

  • Shanon says:

    I LOVE you. Thank you so much for your honesty. Many of us share the same insecurities… including nail biting, people pleasing, or whatever! And the Lord definitely has put you in a place to be a testimony and encouragement to those also struggling with it. Thank you so much.

  • Angel Butcher says:

    Thank you so much for your transparency. I too have had problems w/ friends & family members coming against me. (Guess Jesus was right, of course.) I truly have had to learn how to let it roll off my back as opposed to trying to fix something that I can’t. When others want to be “mean”, it’s hard not to want to make amends. I know I have to love them the way God loves them, but more importantly listen to what he is telling me to do or NOT do about the relationship. Time does heal all, but God is the one that brings the light. As much as I want to, it would be bad.

    Obviously this has sparked something in me. Thank you for letting me be transperant & start a healing process.

    I absolutely love your blog, please keep it up! I enjoy the personal as well as the myriads of tips that would probably lead to pulling out all my hair!

  • You are an inspiration in more ways than you know. I was honored to get to meet you and still feel honored that I was able to share some time with you for conversation over coffee and chocolate! You inspire me to really go after my dreams, even when they are taking much longer to accomplish than I would like. Even though we weren’t really close, you let me in during one of the hardest times in my life and encouraged me and gave me such a great example of grace. (I’m starting to cry as I write this). You are a beautiful person inside and out and I thank God for you! You are a true example of a living Christ (imperfections and all) because you let him shine through you. One of my favorite songs is “Glass” by Thompson Square because I love the line “We are shaped by the light we let through us.” Could not be more true of you. Keep following where Christ leads you and the result will always be beautiful, no matter how difficult the journey was! Much love and appreciation!

  • Jacki says:

    Wow! I guess I live by the words “Do unto others…” If an encouraging word cannot be said then it’s best left unsaid.

    Women need to learn to build each other up and not tear down. If we did this, women would be able to change inequalities, especially against women.

    I always would get encouraged when another woman came into the lab to work because it used to be for men only. I would give them a pep talk and we would get started on science. Root them on, encourage them, they may be the change you want in the world.

  • Naomi says:

    Sorry to hear this happened to you.
    I’ve only recently found your website in the last week and I am loving it! I can relate to you, as I am also a Christian and not the best at setting up the home creatively etc. But I’m also realising to appreciate the other gifts God has blessed me with.

    I have 3 small kids and despite my efforts in doing the housework I always feel unorganised and frustrated with all the mess.

    I’m on day 3 of the 4 weeks to a more organised home and it is already changing my life for the better! Thank you so much.

    I actually got teary reading some of your posts, blogs Etc. As I feel I have finally found someone that I can relate to and with the step by step process I know this is going to be a lifestyle change rather than a quick fix.

    I can’t thank you enough.

    God bless,
    Naomi

  • Camillia says:

    Hi there! I wanted to just say something that I have learned and continue to learn as I lay hurts at the foot of the cross….I can allow hurts and hurtful people do one of two things:make me bitter or better. Another thing that my husband reminded me of when I felt down trodden and unloved by those that should have loved me the most…he said,”Hurt people, hurt people.” That moved me to almost feel sorry for those that were doing the hurting and really moved me to compassion for them and to lift them in prayer to the only one that could truly heal them, me and the situation….Jesus.

    Isaiah 26:3

  • RaDonna Lanterman says:

    Those of us that love your blog posts and reading your material are so by the fact that Satan didn’t win. It takes strength and courage to walk with Christ. I guess that is why he is so generous to give it when we ask – He already knew this! I am sure it won’t be a surprise to you but many of us have been persecuted by people we thought were our friends. You are not alone and we appreciate you sharing with us. You really are a blessing to many of us!♥

  • Margaret says:

    Interesting. I actually stopped reading your blog for about a year or so as it was too much about sales/coupons, etc. I was interested more in your life, your thoughts, your frugal living, etc. I’m glad to read this and look forward to more thoughts on how you guys live your life. It is more interesting and inspirational than the other stuff! But you know, you can’t please everyone! 😉

  • Bev says:

    I read this the other day and saved it because I had to come comment. I went through almost the exact same thing a few years ago but I actually did close down my blog. I was attacked, there was rumors and all that you mentioned. I guess I just couldn’t bare it at the time and put my blog private to only me.

    I finally came to the place that you did and decided to not let anyone make me go cower in a corner and hide. I brought my blog back and it took me a while to build up the readership again.

    There are still rumors and I still get criticized by those thinking they are anonymous but I know who they are (most of the time). I wonder how people that know you can hide behind anonymity and say such cruel things – you realize they hate you and are only “nice” to you in person but secretly they are jealous.

    They are jealous that you are a successful blogger. They are jealous that you have a blessed life and you have so many talents. They are so jealous they are envious and if they can’t have what you have, they will attack you relentlessly to bring you down.

    Hang in there!! There will always be haters whenever you succeed at something in life – blogging just makes you a target. It goes with the territory as the saying goes. You aren’t alone! 😉

  • Ashley says:

    Thank you for giving me the pick me up I needed today! I read this three times in the last two days to remind myself to invest in relationships that matter!

  • Jess PB says:

    This happened to me, a little over 2 years ago. Someone I was very close to suddenly turned away from me, began to criticize me to others, mock my parenting style, etc. It was hurtful and caught me off guard, and in some ways I’m still recovering. But in truth, I have begun to examine that person, and view her relationships with others in addition to me. WhenI realized that she has a trail of burned bridges behind her, while I have just that one, it enabled me to let go a bit. Sometimes things that people come at us with are rally just about what is broken in them. It doesn’t stop me from feeling confused about that particular attack, but it does give me perspective. Hope that helps you, too!

  • Erin says:

    Dear Crystal,

    I want to thank you for your work on the blog and all your business ventures. I really enjoy your posts, helpful tips and encouragement. I’ve thought of attempting a blog myself but this idea of personal/public/personal/business issues lumped together terrifies me. I’ve had my share of “trolls” with another online business and it was brutal. Thanks for this post, and thanks for your bravery. Your vulnerability makes you even more endearing to us all! It helps us know you’re not perfect and we don’t need to be perfect either.

  • Cheri Thompson says:

    So glad you didn’t quit. You have been such a blessing to us because we’ve watched your growth both personally and spiritually. Remember to keep this thread for those future days that will try to drag you back to fear. You are paving the way for so many, that’s why it’s so hard. I pray our gracious God continues to bless you to bless so many others. Love you sis!

  • Kim McCulley says:

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve wanted to start a blog for several years now, but have been held back by my fear of conflict/mean people/cyber bullying. It’s one of my summer goals to just DO it and start a blog during summer break (I’m a preschool assistant).
    We’ll see if my courage holds. I commend you for your courage and transparency.

  • SusanL says:

    I’m in full agreement with you about the people-pleasing, it’s a dead-end road for sure. Whether you’re being your real honest self or not, there are always going to be people who like you and don’t like you. So, you might as well be your real self and have the real friends to go along with it!

    I love your blog, and I love Glennon’s Momastery blog also. I find them both to be positive, encouraging places with some sense of humor mixed in too! I appreciate that both of you have such a dedication to service in your lives.

    Thanks for all you do!! Susan

  • Lyndsay says:

    This blog started as a mere homemaking tool in my own residence. You’ve quickly turned into a person whose blog has so greatly touched me deeply with your Christian faith, honesty and courage. Remember if He is with us who is against us? I long for the day we meet, if not this side of Heaven, then at His gates!

  • Eliza says:

    Wow–how timely. I know this post is a year old, but I am in the midst of reading Carry On Warrior too, and dealing with the bondage of people pleasing! I have been debating whether on not to return to an amazing ministry because I have been so hurt by people that are a part of this ministry with me.
    Like you Crystal, I am ALSO realizing the desire to shut down my calling, to run and hide and not participate in ministry is a direct result of fear. Glennon says the opposite of fear isn’t hate, but LOVE! Wow. And I thought I was loving people by being so desperate in my attempts to please them, but I wasn’t, I was fearing them. I’m also doing the online Anything study by Jennie Allen, and she says the opposite of fear is faith. So if I am ensnared by fear, it is because I don’t have FAITH. So pleasing people is directly a result of my lack of faith and fear. Jennie quotes Tim Keller and says “if you love anything more than God, even though you believe in God, if there is anything in your life that is more important to your own identity or significance than God, then that is a false god and it is power in your life.” So I have set up these people around me that I am trying to please as gods! People pleasing means that people are my idol!! So this morning I confessed my sin of worshiping people, and asked God to free me from this bondage, because I know I am personally incapable of removing my shackles. I am already tasting such sweet freedom even today in my interactions with others. Praise God!! To Him be the glory!!!

  • Gail says:

    You are not alone. <3 You are a courageous woman. Keep on keeping on.

  • Havilah says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post <3 I admin for a FB group and sometimes it's really hard and I am always trying to please everyone. Thank you for the perspective and honesty. The only one we strive to please should be Jesus and to listen to him above all the other voices. Blessings <3

  • amanda says:

    When harsh words have been said about me or my family. It hurts. I always try to ask myself if there is any particle of truth in their words..if there is I take the good & throw out the trash. (Even though the intent was to harm me) People can be ruthless & say the meanest things & even fabricate stories..but that just shows THEIR heart issues. I’m so glad that you are choosing not to make their heart issues yours. There was a time when I wish I would have followed my own advice…instead I made their heart issues mine. I fell into depression & suffered from anxiety, reading Breaking Intimidation by John Bevere along with God’s grace set me free. Thanks for having the courage to share your life. Your posts always encourage me.

  • Carol says:

    I love reading your blog!! I love your pictures and your stories and advice!!! I read every single thing you post!!

  • Wow, I’m so sorry you had to go through that. That sounds really tough. Thanks for sharing. I am so glad you didn’t quit blogging. You have been such a huge blessing to me, and I know countless other women. Thank you for your ministry. I’ve learned so much from you!!!

    I love reading your personal post and love how open and genuine you are. I’ve been watching your periscopes and I’ve loved getting to know you better! I wish you did live back in Kansas (that’s where I live!!).

  • Thank you for this post. I happened to be reading your current post that had a link to this post about being a people pleaser. This post has touched me because I feel the same exact way. With me, you see what you get. I feel like people take advantage. It feels like I can’t be myself because of what will everyone else think. But my goal in 2016 is to live my life the way I want to and not to care what people think.

  • Paige says:

    I am so glad you have persevered and have continued on with your blog. I draw inspiration from you; and admire how you handle your demands in life, especially when you have found much success. The true battle is how you handle yourself when you made it to the top. Even though I don’t know you, you seem so solid and a very considerate of others. I wish I was more driven like you are. That is why I love reading your posts. Keep it up and take care of yourself. Like you, I am trying to have more Rest in my life. However, being a mom(5 kids) it seems like it is almost impossible. But I am not giving up!!!

  • SAL says:

    Thoughout my life I have experienced not being accepted. My parents are biracial, I’m shy, I don’t speak a lot because of a slight stutter, etc., but I am comforted in knowing that, even if no one else sees that I have any value (a waste of space), I know God doesn’t make mistakes.

    I find that my challenges have actually made life a little easier. I’ve learned that I only have to be true to myself, knowing that He knows I am true, honest, a good person, etc. That is all that really matters.

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