I suffered from the Disease to Please

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Larry and I are very grateful to belong to a “Love group.” We have been meeting every other week in our home for the last 2 ½ years and are now meeting on Zoom since Covid. We support and love one another, share authentically from our hearts, and have created a safe place to share our thoughts, perspectives, and feelings. There are no rules or “agendas” as we allow Spirit to lead the group. 

We often start the group with, “Who has a love story they would like to share?” It can be a story about how we overcame a challenge and chose love instead of fear. It can be something we are struggling with and need help to see where the love is in the story. What an opportunity it is during the month to be thinking about our love stories.

My “love story” this week has to do with loving myself and setting a boundary with a friend. Like many of us, I’m uncomfortable and don’t like confrontation. For many years, I suffered from the “Disease to Please.” I so desperately wanted to be liked that I didn’t speak up and wasn’t honest if something was bothering me. I often stuffed my feelings and then became resentful when my needs weren’t met.

As a people pleaser, I often expected others to read my mind and what was important to me. This caused a lot of unnecessary suffering because I wasn’t honest with myself or others. For example, years ago my best friend forgot our wedding anniversary. Instead of being honest and sharing my disappointment, I said nothing. When it was her anniversary, I made a big deal out of it – hoping she would do the same for me when my anniversary came around.  That’s called manipulation!

I had the opportunity this week to speak my truth in love and kindness, instead of stuffing my feelings and expecting others to know what was important to me. Here is what happened:

My new friend and I planned on meeting at a coffee shop at 10 am. I received a text shortly before we were going to meet that she was going to be late. It wasn’t a big deal because I was relaxing at the ocean and enjoying myself. As I thought about it, I started to feel uncomfortable when I realized this was becoming a pattern for her to be late. It felt like she wasn’t valuing my time and that didn’t feel good.    

My mind was like a blender; how do I say it, should I bring it up or just let it go? Since this was a new relationship, I didn’t know how she would react. It was important that I was kind and loving and not shame her for being late. I prayed and asked God for help. I heard the small, still, voice of God say, “It is important you bring it up and I will give you the words.”

Spirit showed me that it was an act of “self-love” by setting a boundary and speaking my truth. I decided to address it as soon as we met. After accepting her apology for being late, I shared my perspective and feelings. The conversation was open and honest and we both heard one another.

As we said goodbye, she said, “Thank you for your authenticity, honesty, and trusting me with your truth.”

Do you have difficulty speaking up, setting a boundary, sharing your truth, or do you stuff your feelings because you don’t want to rock the boat?

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Pat Hastings

Author, Inspirational Speaker, Spiritual Coach, Retreat Leader & Radio Talk Show Host

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