December 31

He Died from Pleasing People

December 31, 2012

Personal Growth

I know a man, Randall, who was attracted to the Real Love community about a year ago. He read the books and attended groups. He even brought a couple of friends. He admitted that his life was entirely out of control. He felt stressed all the time, and his doctor told him that his stress had caused two heart attacks in the previous year. Randall actually changed jobs, so he could be in a less stressful environment.

On the surface, Randall appeared to be a deeply caring and very gentle man, and that's how the people around him described him. But the more he talked, the more obvious it became that what he was offering was not unconditional. He served people to earn their approval. He was nothing short of desperate for people to like him and certainly to never, ever think badly of him. As a result he gave away all his time, energy, and financial means to please and "save" the many members of his family, his colleagues, and others. The very thought that someone might disapprove of him caused him severe emotional—and eventually physical—pain.

Randall seemed to understand part of Real Love, but he absolutely refused to believe that his rescuing people wasn't motivated by unconditional love. He could not see that his fear of disapproval and desperate need for people to like him were absolute proof that he was not loving unconditionally. Constantly and deeply he felt hurt by the actions of others, and to minimize his pain he sacrificed his health, his happiness, and his wealth.

After a few months he could not bear facing the truth about himself, so he stopped attending his group. A short time after that he died of a heart attack. The stress of pleasing people literally killed him. How common it is that we'll go to the hospital for serious physical disorders, but we refuse to face the emotional problems that are destroying us.

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