My disease began at a very young age. I learned to live with it and it just felt “normal.” I didn’t question it or seek out a remedy, since everyone around me seemed to have the same disease at some point in life. In the beginning, it didn’t cause me any physical pain, but after some time I started feeling the exhaustion and irritation it can cause. The years went on, and my Disease to Please seemed to take a backseat to everyday life, but there was always the chance it could come back.
I didn’t realize how much danger it could cause until I moved into my new house and the neighbor’s barking dogs wouldn’t let me rest. I talked to the neighbors a couple of times and they promised that they would do something. Of course, nothing happened, so I called animal control. When the neighbor got upset with me and confronted me about reporting him, my disease flared up, and it was the worst flare up in its history. Later that week, I ended up buying the neighbor a $200 gift basket and wrote an apology letter. That’s right; I ended up apologizing for something I didn’t do and that’s when I knew my disease needed treatment ASAP. Here’s what I learned and what you can do to cure yourself if you, too, suffer this painful disease:
- Nice people can say NO
I was taught at a young age that the more I did for others the better person I was. I started becoming addicted to the praise and approval I was getting by taking on more responsibilities than I could handle. It came to the point that I was not getting things done on time and I became unreliable. That’s when I learned to not say yes right away and to ask for some time to think about my answer. When you ask for some time it gives you a chance to reflect on how much you have on your plate and decide if you really want to take on the task. Always remember: just because you said no doesn’t make you a bad person.
- Express your feelings
People pleasers often forget or are afraid to express their feelings. They may be handed a task and don’t really want to do it or don’t know how, but stay quiet anyway. Tell the other person how you truly feel about the subject so that you don’t hold your feelings in and blow up later. Remember: your feelings are yours and nobody should judge you for them.
- Deal with your negative emotions
People have an irrational fear of aggression and anger. I say irrational because the fear is just in our minds. We don’t want to say something to our loved ones out of fear of hurting them or getting into a fight, and being complacent often helps you avoid anger or confrontation but the truth is that it only adds to the frustration within. Be authentic and stand up for you and what you feel. Confrontation isn’t a bad thing. Hiding your truth is. There is a way to be totally honest without being angry and if the other person gets angry, that is how they feel and they are expressing themselves. Avoiding conflict isn’t a sign of a healthy relationship, rather one that is doomed with trouble. So deal with your negative emotions because there is a reason they are there.
Pleasing is an addiction that can really take a toll on you. If you have the Disease to Please, know that there is a cure, it just takes a lot of being authentic and work. I continue to work on my disease, as it comes up in many situations, and to leave you on a high note, I now sleep well since there are no barking dogs next door.