top of page


Woman juggling tasks

The Disease to Please is a learned behavior that occurs when we take care of others’ needs at our own expense. If you are this type, you do too much, too often for others, almost never say “no” rarely delegate, and inevitably become overcommitted. These self defeating patterns take a toll on your health and on your relationships. It is driven by the excessive need for other’s approval. Rather than being inner oriented, you are other oriented …. seeking outside approval in order to feel whole.

We put too much emphasis on “what will other people think” if we do not go above and beyond. Our behavior is dictated by what we think others want or expect. We are afraid that we will disappoint others and therefore continue to say “yes” when we really mean to say “no”. This behavior can be exhausting and it most definitely depletes us. We become overwhelmed, over worked, stressed and resentful. Additionally, as we are busy focusing on pleasing others, we are in the process of losing ourselves. We are no longer true to self and cannot distinguish our feelings from others. We feel whatever others feel. If they are sad or upset, we become sad and upset. We begin to lose our own identity. My feelings are your feelings, my thoughts are your thoughts, and I behave the way I think you want me to.

So what’s behind this disease to please and concern for what will other people think? When we are other oriented we are seeking approval and validation from others so that we can feel better about ourselves. It’s a behavior we learned in childhood. Your avoidance of “no” may be linked to the self esteem you think you derive from others. And so we live our lives according to the expectations of others. We begin to measure our worthiness by the type of car we drive, home we live in, how we dress, type of job we have and how nice and accommodating we are to others as a disguise for what’s really going on inside of us; our fear of being authentic with all our imperfections. We seek validation from others to let us know that we are okay. Without them, we do not know.

Learn to think in a positive way about yourself. You do not need anyone else to acknowledge or validate your decisions or life’s choices. It’s important to redirect your thoughts and actions back on you and not others. We are fearful to disappoint others because we fear they will abandon us, not like us, etc. However, if your relationship is based on how much you do for someone, it’s time to re-evaluate that relationship.

  • Be aware of your thoughts and emotions;

  • Stop comparing yourself to others;

  • Develop a better sense of self worth;

  • Delay saying yes to everything … buy some time;

  • Saying “yes” when you want to say “no” should make you feel guilty – not the other way around;

  • You must treat yourself as well as you would treat other people.

People love to talk, tell stories and often people love to talk about other people. A great woman by the name of Eleanor Roosevelt said “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people“. Her famous quote: “What other people think of you, is none of your business.”

Begin to free yourself from the approval seeking behaviors and do what you want, say no when you want, wear what you want, drive what you want and know that you do not owe anyone an explanation!

At The Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, New Jersey, we are available day, evening and weekends. Visit us on Facebook or or call us at 908-322-0112.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page