Chapter 1: Do you have the Disease to Please?
Have you ever broken a rule to get someone’s approval?
Sounds backward doesn’t it? Usually you obey rules to get approval, but in this chapter, Meylyne trespasses in the Above-World to find something that her mother had lost. What does that tell you about their relationship?
Personally, I never had to do anything so extreme for approval. I kept my room tidy, did my piano practice and got good grades … and was rewarded! I really enjoyed being told I was a good girl. I became addicted to the approval I received from being the good girl. I never said “no” because that’s not what good girls do. I never asked for more because that was not polite. I was a good friend—I supported others when they had problems to talk about. Nothing wrong with that but if there was something I thought they wouldn’t like hearing, I often left it out. Oprah calls this the disease to please.
Looking back I realize that a lot of my friends were addicted to pleasing others and worse, to seeming perfect. And while some held themselves to those rigorous standards, a lot of us did not. We started breaking the rules in private and then we hid the breakage really well. Why? Because we feared abandonment by those we were no longer pleasing.
Obviously living in hiding isn’t good. You feel like there’s something wrong with you. It’s much better to be genuine—to assert your own truth while being respectful and compassionate to others.
But that’s easier said than done, right? What if a friend leaves you because you have disagreed with her? Or, even scarier, a whole group of friends leave you? What advice would you give someone if he or she were in this situation? It happened to me once and at the time I thought my whole world had crumbled. I got through it though. Made new friends … better friends that accepted me exactly as I was.
It’s not easy healing from the disease to please. You have to try on new behavior and this usually means taking one step forward and two steps back. It’s a pain! I’m a sufferer and it’s still hard for me to say something that is unpleasant for someone to hear. But I am committed to getting better at it because it’s about living fully. And once you stop holding back—then you are poised to give away the gifts with which you (and only you) were born.