What Is The Disease To Please And Its Cure?

A few symptoms and quick cures for the disease to please

Symptoms of the disease to please
••• Getty Images

I playfully call it the “disease” to please because it’s not truly a disease, right? 

Or is it? 

Why is it that we can’t stop ourselves from overly pleasing others? 

It can be sickening how far we will go to help others but not take the time and energy to properly take care of ourselves!   We want others to be happy so badly that we’ll put our self-care, priorities, work load, or dreams to the side.  We believe that if we can make others happy then we’ll be happy.  This is sad, and very true.  This is the disease to please.

Are you curious is you’re suffering from the disease to please.  Here are a few symptoms (and I would love to hear yours over on my Facebook page!):

Symptom #1 – You say "Yes." when you want to say “NO WAY!”

Instead of putting your priorities first, which are pretty important, you put someone else’s.  You believe if you try to please, regardless of your own agenda, you’ll be viewed as helpful, well-liked helpful, well-liked, dependable, and most of all loved.  

Quick cure:  When you say “No WAY!” it’s a form of saying, “I love you.  I believe in you.  You can do it (yourself).” 

Symptom #2 – Your agenda is never followed or considered.

Before you commit to pleasing you don’t to take time to consider how saying yes will affect your well-being.  When others are aware that you have the disease to please they know they have you wrapped around their little finger and disregard your agenda because theirs is always the priority.  No one is going to stand up for your agenda except you.

Quick cure:  Ask yourself questions before committing like, “Will saying yes mean longer hours at the office?  Will saying yes mean I don’t get to finish the things I need to do?  Will saying yes cost me something I can’t afford to lose?”

Symptom #3 – Once everyone is taken care of you’ll be happy (and can rest).

With this symptom it feels like someone always needs help and there’s no rest for the weary.  And you WILL take care of everyone.  You believe that if they are happy then you’ll be happy.  You are so busy taking care of others you don’t think about your self-care regime or just don’t have the energy to do something good for yourself.  All you want, after taking care of everyone, is your bed.

Quick cure:  Give yourself permission to stop.  Don’t wait for someone else to tell you slow down.  Practice a mantra like “I have stopped.  I am still.” while sitting still.

Symptom #4:  You lose your voice.

Here’s a true story.  I went out after putting the kids to bed, but the kids didn’t really go to bed.  Daddy tells the kids, “Mom will make pancakes for breakfast if you go to bed.”  They go to bed (of course).  I wake up first with the kids and they tell me what daddy said.  I do not want to make pancakes.  I don’t even know if I have the ingredients.  I felt bad but I told the kids no pancakes.  I told them I was tired, I didn’t feel like cooking, Daddy should have checked with me, and if they wanted pancakes, go ask Daddy.


But sometimes you’re afraid to say what you really want to say because you’re afraid it’ll displease others.  Instead you go with the flow and inside are sad you’re not getting what you want.  If only you could find your voice!

Quick cure:  Get brave by realizing your emotions.  Then share them.  Say them out loud.  It’s a great starting point.  That Saturday morning I knew I had very little energy and was in no mood to clean sticky fingers and faces.  I told the kids how I felt.  This taught them honesty as well as what the phrase “throwing someone under the bus” means.

As a Working Mom, think of all the people in your life that you try to please like your children, your significant other, your manager, your co-workers, your neighbors, your daycare, the PTO and even the cashier who’s having a bad day.  Can you think of a time you suffered from the disease to please?  Was there any quick cure you could have used to snap out of it?