Three Easy Steps to Curb the Disease to Please

I could never be a medical transcriptionist. It’s not the typing or the doctors’ handwriting that would deter me. My problem would be reading the symptoms and medical conditions. I’d have all of them.

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To say that I am easily influenced is like saying the Titanic sprung a leak.

Knowing this about myself, I wasn’t all that surprised to end up with yet another condition after watching an episode of Oprah devoted to the Disease to Please.

I passed Oprah’s “Do You Have the Disease to Please?” self-diagnosis quiz with flying colors.

Do you ever say yes when what you really want to say is no?

Of course, I do. Doesn’t everyone?

Or how about this one:

Is it important to you to be liked by nearly everyone in your life?

I whipped through that quiz in about ten seconds flat answering every question yes, yes, yes, yes and … yes!

That’s when I had to admit that this is not likely something imagined. I test positive for the Disease to Please.

I am learning that this “disease” is insidious as it wends its way through mind and body.

It starts with wanting to be a good person. You want to be liked. You want to be chosen first, never last. You respond to everyone’s requests and just keep doing more and more with promptness and perfection.

In a way, this might seem like more of a conflict than a revelation. After all, aren’t we called to act with generosity, out of hearts of gratitude and service? Isn’t it selfish always to say no?

There is a huge difference between authentic service and using it as an opportunity to manipulate.

Some doctors say the Disease to Please can actually kill us. The emotional build-up of not being able to say no increases our stress hormones, such as adrenaline. That makes our hearts beat faster than normal, our blood pressure rise and blood vessels narrow. That can lead to a heart attack, stroke or even cancer.

So, what’s the treatment?

Analyze your motivation

Before you say yes to anything, do a quick self-analysis. Why am I doing this? Why am I buying this? What am I expecting in return? If you can answer “nothing, in return,” then your motivation is pure. If there’s another answer it’s probably some form of manipulation.

Realize you are in control

Becoming assertive is the way to arrest this disease. It takes courage to say no, to be honest, and to set limits. Decide how much you will spend or how much time you can devote to the event or project. Then stick to it.

Buy time

Experts say that time is the best antidote for the Disease to Please, whether that’s five minutes or five months. Never answer on the spot. Nothing is so urgent you cannot take time to think about it.

Acting to please can be noble and gratifying as long as the decision to do so is for the joy it brings, not for what you expect to get in return.


PREVIOUSLY: Memories are Made of Teddy Bear Bread

In the Midst of Joy, a Season of Doubt

Check the calendar and take a deep breath. We are entering a critical phase of holiday preparation. As shopping winds down and preparations come together, be prepared for something weird to happen.

You may begin to doubt yourself.

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I only know this because I know myself. It happens every year, so I’ve learned to plan for it.

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The Season of Giving

It’s that time of year again when everyone wants your money. Brace yourself for more dinnertime phone calls and mailbox solicitations.

In this season of giving, charity seems to be getting an extra jolt because next year the popular tax deduction for donations, for many, will lose a lot of its punch.

Let’s get personal

Fundraisers and requests from charities used to bother me. So did the collection plate at church. I felt guilty because no matter how much money we made there was never enough to give some of it to others. And with all our debt (we had plenty!), how could I be expected to help others when I couldn’t even help myself?

Then our financial house of cards came tumbling down. It was ugly. Losing our business, our income and getting a notice that our home was scheduled to go into foreclosure was a huge wakeup call.

When I was at the darkest point, I made a promise: If I ever see another dollar, I’m going to give some of it away. First. Then I will do the best I can with the rest. And I meant it. Read more

Eight Little Words That Can Change Your Life

You hear it all the time, but do you know what it means to live below your means? Have you figured out how to do that?

To live below your means is to choose a lifestyle you can pay for with the money you have and still have some left over. 

hand with a calculator. money saving concept.

Living below your means in this high-pressure, credit-based, gotta-have-it-all-right-now culture is not exactly easy.

It takes skill and determination to go against the tide and buck a system that encourages spending all we have now plus what we hope we’ll get in the future. Read more

Parents: Stop Taking Parent Loans for Your Kids’ College Education

You’re a parent and you are responsible to take care of your child financially. But you are equally responsible to take care of yourself. Taking on student loans so that your child can enroll at the college of his or her dreams may sink your dreams of ever retiring.

Couple getting advice from college Financial Aid Officer

Contrary to the advice you will get from many financial aid officers, you shouldn’t take out loans to pay for your children’s education, under any circumstance. Parents should not borrow money to pay for their kids’ college educations.

Locking eyeballs with the financial breakdown for your son or daughter’s first semester will be painful—even if he or she is attending a public college.

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15 Minutes to Financial Freedom

The email message contained a single-word subject: Help! The sender, I’ll call her Emily, had been asked by her community group leader to give a 15-minute presentation on how to achieve financial freedom. She was honored to have been asked, excited to do it, but also panicked by the thought. She asked if I would help.

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My first thought was I can’t even introduce myself in 15 minutes. How could I, Emily or anyone else tackle that subject in just 15 minutes? But then I got to thinking: If money management is, as I believe, not that difficult, why couldn’t she do it? Why couldn’t I do it? I decided to give it a try.

Save

Do not confuse saving money with spending less, as in “I save money when I buy things on sale.” You are not saving at all, you are spending less. Saving money means that you actually put money into a safe place for some future time. Do that. Starting right now and forevermore, make it a rule that you will put some amount of your paycheck into a savings account before you spend any of it. Make it automatic and you won’t miss what you don’t see. Goal: 10-percent of all you receive goes straight into savings.

Give

Give away the same amount as you save. Just give it away—no strings attached—as an act of gratitude for what you have and how you are blessed. Goal: 10 percent of all you receive, give it away.

Live

Rein in your lifestyle so that it fits into 80 percent of your net (take-home) pay. Pare down your lifestyle. Reduce your spending in every area of your life by a small amount, and you will be able to achieve this goal—probably sooner than you ever dreamed.

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What Do You Need to Be Happy?

When a University of Michigan survey asked people what they believed would improve their quality of life and make them happy, the answer given most often was, “More money.” 

In the book The Day America Told the Truth, James Patterson and Peter Kim asked, “If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?” The number one response at 64 percent was, “Greater wealth.”

Opening the wallet full of money.More recently, a University of Southern California study found that greater wealth didn’t translate into greater happiness for many of the 1,500 people surveyed annually over three decades. USC economist Richard Easterlin said, “Many people are under the illusion that the more money we make, the happier we’ll be,” but, according to the study, that isn’t true.

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Values are More Often Caught than Taught—Plus a GIVEAWAY!

Bents, characteristics, abilities, and tendencies are the conduits through which you can pass your values to your kids. But exactly how do you make the pass? Though your life. The way you live.

Kids learn most effectively through observation and imitation. It’s the witness of our lives, more than anything we say, that is taken in slowly and cumulatively by our children.

Raising Financially Confident Kids Book sitting on a white shelf with basket of bright colored tulips

Children drink in everything around them. They see the way we act with others. They listen to everything we say. They observe the way we handle our money. They hear what we say on the phone and the way we deal with salespeople. Children compare what they see with what they are told and in the case of a clear conflict, they usually go with what they see.

There are many ways to communicate your values to your kids. There are formal lectures, specific talks, books and discussions on what has been read; reprimands, reminders, various kinds of discipline and punishment, and religious education with all of its related activities.

All of these ways of communicating with your kids do count for a great deal, but they cannot come close to your children observing their parents living out their values consistently, specifically, and diligently day in and out. That’s the surest way to pass on to your kids the values and principles they need to guide their lives—values that will take root in their hearts, not simply stick on the outside until they can get away from your authority. Truth be told, values are more often caught than taught.

 

It’s easy to get so hung up on the mundane side of parenting—cooking, cleaning, carpooling, taxi driving—that we forget about the single most important job parents have to do, which is to successfully pass on our values to our children. Read more