I previously suffered from a condition called pleasing. My condition started benignly, where it seemed normal and right to try to please all those that I came in contact with. However, after forty years, I caught on to the fact, that my pleasing was actually a sickness. I didn't always feel good when I was pleasing.
What made my pleasing a sickness was that my desire to serve was not fully coming from my heart, but rather from a place of wanting to earn approval and even love. Being validated as a good person was important. I'm not sure why I didn't know that fully at the time, but for some reason, having proof was vital.....hence the desire and actions to please.
I am currently in my 17th year of recovery, and feeling quite healthy, I must say. The good news is that I didn't lose any friends (at least that I know of), my family still invites me to gatherings and gives me gifts on my birthday and Christmas, my son grew up to be an independent and loving man and my husband is still happy he's married to me.
What I learned in my recovery process was that all I had to do was say "YES" to the things that made me feel good.....to do the things that brought me joy. Whether it is doing a favor, lending a hand to a friend, working on a committee or taking a job, I now know that if that action does not please me, then it will not serve someone else.
To fellow pleasers that read this and are believing I don't care about anyone else, take note......putting your worth and value as a being on this planet in the hands of someone else that you have tried to please, is dangerous business. You may or may not receive praise and lavish acknowledgements for pleasing, but if you are not pleased with and by yourself, unconditionally, you will never fully live in joy.
If you would like to start a local chapter of "Pleasers Anonymous", feel free to contact me. I have a feeling you would be in the company of many friends.