Whew! Vanity. Got that sin in spades. The cure for vanity is great fidelity to Christ. I work on pleasing the one sinless guy in my life-who ironically is pretty easily pleased by me--and let the constant inner "shredding" of trying to be all things to all people all the time fly out the window.
Here's are two shortcuts I've adopted to getting over my people pleasing hump. First, I know that wherever I show up (church, prayer groups, homeschool co-ops, civic meetings, etc.) 1/3 of the people aren't going to like me, 1/3 of the people don't care a hoot about me, and 1/3 of the people do like me. It took off a lot of stress to stop worrying about every negative comment made in a Target parking lot, or every not-so-kind stare in Daily Mass. ("Oh, that's to be expected. That's the negative 1/3).
Secondly, instead of freaking out about the negative stuff, I'm trying to rejoice in the positive interactions during my day. If we're both in Christ, that "I recognize Him in you" means that a deep friendship can start very quickly. It's beautiful!
Another shortcut, which I started trying this Fall is "say no to things without giving a reason!" I think the full mantra is "No, from an adult is a complete sentence." As wives, we have to say no to good things all the time. "No" means, "I'm going to stay home tonight and play Scrabble with my honey." We've got a lot of intricate balancing acts going on in our lives. The stranger at cub scouts doesn't need the details behind why Mom is canceling her son's appearance at the Raingutter Regatta.
We ladies are way too easily offended at regrets for social obligations, and committee work. My real friends are going to understand when I say "Sorry we can't make it, hope you have fun!" I'm a wife after all. My work is obvious. There are also going to be people who flip out "What do you mean you're not going? We need you! The Church needs you! Are you mad at me or something?" Rather than fall into the trap of saying "Oh course, I'm not mad---I've got X.Y. Z going on.." I'm trying to step out of the drama.
It's about me, Jesus, and my husband Jon. If the three of us decide that something is off limits--it is, no explanations necessary. We three committee members are the only ones with voting rights in my life. When I stop trying to please the world, and start trying to please Jesus --guess what? Life is clear. Life is more fun. Life is a lot less "harried."