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No Longer a People-Pleaser

From a lonely approval addict to a confident child of God.

Rejected and alone

When I was in primary school, I was often bullied by my schoolmates. I tried to make friends but could not fit in as everyone had their own cliques. I dreaded going to school as I was always alone.

As a result, I became very eager to please people as I grew older. Whenever my friends were upset, I would be first to apologise even if it wasn’t my fault. I always gave in to people just so that they would continue to be my friend. I was fearful of losing friendships and being alone. I had very low self-esteem.

During my polytechnic years, I started clubbing and drinking with my friends to fit in and gain acceptance. I thought that I was still young and wanted to experience something new and exciting. I started to go to clubs as often as 3 times a week and even skipped class on one occasion. It became a way to escape from reality and fill up the emptiness that I felt. But it did not help and I always woke up feeling more empty on the inside the next day.

Seeing how I seemed to have set myself up on this unhealthy path, my brother, Feng Hao, kept reaching out to me and invited me to church. But I never took him seriously for fear of what my parents would think.

They say love is blind

Things got worse when I met my ex-boyfriend in 2014 through my clubbing friends. Because I craved love and acceptance, I was quickly smitten by him when he showed interest and gave me special attention. I readily jumped into a relationship with him just 3 months later.

However, I soon realised he wasn’t exactly who I thought he was. I started seeing all the warning signs. He was dishonest to me about simple things like his whereabouts when he went clubbing with his friends. He was clearly not ready to commit to a relationship, and there was no trust in the relationship. But I held on, not daring to rock the boat.

I started having hallucinations

During this time, I fell sick and coughed out streaks of blood. My ex-boyfriend was aware but he did not really care. I visited a doctor and he prescribed antibiotics for me. But after the first dose of the medicine, I started having hallucinations and had weird images appearing in my mind. I was so afraid and I didn’t tell anyone about it. I remember lying in bed that night and out of desperation, I cried out to God even though I didn't really know who God was. Nothing much happened and I just fell asleep.

The next day, the doctor told me that the hallucinations were a rare side effect of the medication. I stopped taking it and the hallucinations stopped. But I started to see a black figure whenever I closed or opened my eyes instead. I felt very disturbed by it. I was fearful and couldn’t wait for the day to end. I wanted to go home and isolate myself. Little did I know that I was experiencing an attack by evil spirits.

I experienced God’s healing

That very afternoon, my brother texted me, saying that God told him to speak to me. I was shocked! I hadn’t told anyone what I was going through. That night, he prayed for healing over me. The next day, I was completely healed! The image of the black figure was also no longer on my mind. God was truly real! I received Christ at home and I felt a peace and joy that I had never experienced.

But life isn’t a bed of roses

Just two weeks after receiving Christ, my then-boyfriend broke up with me over text. It was clear he was not sincere and simply not a good guy. But I was so afraid of being alone that I wrestled with the thought of trying to salvage the relationship instead.

When I finally let God in, my healing process began.

I spoke to my brother about what I should do and he assured me that the guy was not right for me. Eventually, I had the peace to let go of the relationship. It was unhealthy and not doing me any good at all. Looking back, I can’t believe I was blinded enough to date a jerk willingly!

But at that point, I felt hurt and broken on the inside. I often wondered if I had been the problem and if I wasn’t good enough. But as I just started to attend church and Life Group, my new community taught me how I could pray - I could talk to God about my feelings and hurts, and bring all of these emotions to Him.

I started to pray and asked God to heal me of my brokenness every night. God allowed healing to take place in my heart and He made me whole once again. In fact, I no longer felt a void in my heart when I thought about the relationship as God had filled it up! I know only God can truly satisfy and He is enough for me.

But God was not done with me yet

He started to work on all my other insecurities. I saw my primary school bully in church! It felt so terrible seeing him here. Flashbacks of what happened started surfacing. I was so upset, I remember telling God to not let him be in this church. However, I knew that it was not by chance that the bully was here too. The bullying was something that had affected me for so many years and it was time to face it head on.

When our Lead Pastor Daniel Cheo shared about bitterness during the heart attack series, the bully’s name appeared in my mind. I knew I had to forgive as bitterness was just crippling and destroying me. So I followed Pastor Daniel’s steps and wrote down a list of people that I have unforgiveness towards. As I started writing, 33 names appeared, including the name of the bully and my ex-boyfriend.

I did not realise that I held on to so many offences before this. Slowly, I identified what each of them owed me and chose to cancel the debt one by one. I understood that my identity is not dependent on what people thought of me or how they treated me. No matter what, I am a child of God and I am dearly loved. Their words and actions no longer have a hold on me!

Choosing to root myself in God’s love.

When I understood this, it not only changed the way I looked at the people who had bullied me. It also changed how I approach every relationship in my life. I used to anchor my self-worth on what my friends or my partner thought of me.

But their opinions shift and change! If I hinged my life on what people thought about me, I would always be disappointed and hurt. True confidence and beauty is simply being confident in God’s love for me. It is the only way I can be healthy and secure.

Radically transformed by His acceptance

As my beliefs about my identity changed, my habits and lifestyle completely changed as well. There is no reason for me to go clubbing or to please my friends just to gain acceptance anymore. I am accepted by God and all that I do flows from my identity as a child of God.

I am thankful for my disciplers, Cheryl and Sandy, for always pointing me back to God and my brother’s persistence in reaching out to me. I am also grateful to be in Impact Life Church, a place where I can call my home! This is where I can be vulnerable but still accepted despite my flaws. This is the place where God is transforming me to become who I’m born to be. This is where God takes broken lives like mine, mends them and uses them for His glory.

Editor's Note: This story was contributed by Qing Ping

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