My copy: 9780071385640 (image from amazon.com)
It took me a little while to read this book. Not that it was overly-clinical and complex, but rather it was saturated with information that needed some careful reading and analyzing.
The Disease to Please is a great book for anybody who has difficulty measuring their self-worth compared to everyone else’s around them, or find themselves jumping to do things for other people, even at their own personal or psychological expense.
What may seem an irritating quirk (to yourself or others) actually has many layers. The first 2/3 of this book addresses the different facets of this draining psychological issue, the last 1/3 a day by day plan of little things you can do to avoid saying “yes” to everybody for everything. Some aspects may resonate more than others.
I’ve expressed my own struggle with this people-pleasing at times on this blog, ways that I’ve let myself go just to do for others. I’ve hidden my anger–mostly at myself–under my niceness or seeming niceness, and mostly at work. It’s taken a lot for me to pry my fingernails away from the ledge and trust other people to pick up the slack (and sometimes I grab for it anyway).
But it’s so much more than “saying yes” to everything, it’s the way this people-pleasing behavior starts and affects our jobs, relationships, friendships, and basic living. Its a multi-faceted problem, a large umbrella covering other issues. I was amazed at how much pertained to struggles I’d been having for a long time. There are also therapy case studies to peruse as examples in each chapter, to get a better idea of what’s going to be discussed.
This isn’t a quick-fix book, or a how-to (though it does have a significant guide in the back), it’s about exploring what might be bringing this need to please out. Being nice is a great thing, and kindness is a virtue, but being an emotional (or physical) doormat every day is not healthy. It also has a great chapter on anger management, which is going to make me work harder and look for more info about that.
Now, I haven’t read all the 21 day plan in the end, because it doesn’t want me to skip ahead, but I read a few days worth (still working through them) and it’s got some good little tidbits I can already see myself using for work, when clients want extra help or co-workers need something from me.
Since I need every hour I can get my hands on, if it’s about work hours, I’ll say “yes” to more without hesitation. Otherwise, I don’t need to be overwhelmed, so I need to learn to say “no” or “when I can, after _____” more often.
I recommend this psychological/self help book for anyone who finds themselves drained by stretching themselves so much for others, anyone addicted to approval from others, those who don’t know their self-worth, those who are doormats or in psychologically abusive relationships (family or significant others).
The Disease to Please is a must read, and I ended up writing tons of notes in the margins (otherwise I’d be willing to pass it around). It wasn’t on my read list for the week, but I’m glad I took the time to do it. It said so much that me, and others like me, need to take into account to get over our fears of disappointment, knee-jerk reactions, and perceived ideas of selfishness.
Hugs, and be well, everyone.