Are you ever overwhelmed by others’ expectations of you? Do you often feel torn in a million different directions as you try to make everyone around you happy? Would you like to live with less overwhelm and more peace and purpose? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this episode is for you!

Joining me today is my long-time friend, Karen Ehman. She is a speaker, New York Times bestselling author, and a recovering people-pleaser. And let me tell you, this conversation is timely with the holidays approaching, and I know it will hit home for a lot of us.

In this episode, we discuss why it’s so easy to become trapped in a prison of people-pleasing, why it’s important to actually reset the expectations others have learned to hold of you, how to recognize if you are the one that is expecting people to meet your needs, and a ton of hope. I’m so excited to share this episode with you!

Resources mentioned in this episode:

My Key Takeaways:

1) Saying yes too many times will eventually pile up. Have you ever said yes to something when you were already pretty busy? And then you said yes again, and again, and again even though they were little requests and you didn’t think they were a big deal? Before you know it, you feel completely overwhelmed. Like Karen, you may need to consider implementing a season of life where your responses are only made up of a “necessary yes” and then a “no” to everything else. This gives yourself a reset in the expectations you hold of yourself as well as the expectations others have of you.

2) When struggling to say “no,” say more. Rather than just giving people a “no,” take the time to say more of what is going through your head. Tell them how you really want to say “yes,” but you know you need to say “no.” Be open about how you’re afraid your answer is going to be disappointing to them. More often than not, what we think other people are thinking is worse than what they actually are thinking.

3) Everyone’s happiness is not your assignment. I loved this! God has not asked you to keep everyone happy. It is not your responsibility to keep others from feeling sad or disappointed. Instead of trying to manage how other people feel, ask, “What is God’s assignment for me? What am I passionate about that He has called me to do?” Once you know that, everything else becomes optional. You can focus on what’s yours to focus on, and you can give to God what’s His to focus on.

About Karen:

Karen Ehman is a New York Times bestselling author, a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, and a writer for Encouragement for Today, an online devotional that reaches over four million women daily. She has written 17 books including KEEP IT SHUT: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All and the 2020 ECPA devotional book of the year Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus. Karen has been featured on media outlets including TODAY Parenting,,,, Focus on the Family, and is a monthly columnist for HomeLife Magazine. Her passion is to help women live their priorities as they reflect the gospel to a watching world. She is married to her college sweetheart, Todd, and is the mother of five—three biological kids and two by marriage—although she forgets which ones are which. Karen spends her days feeding the many people who gather around her mid-century dining table to process life and enjoy a taste of Mama Karen’s cooking.


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