Like many women, I suffer from CPPD: Chronic People Pleasing Disease. Getting diagnosed with Cancer has helped me to become less of a pleaser, which apparently is cancer’s “gift” to me. But even though I’ve been told that I have only a 50% chance of living five years, I still insist on squandering my days being a people pleaser.
The really insane part is that I often do it with people I don’t even know, yesterday was a perfect example. I was fighting some type of infection and I was dealing with an episode of depression. I felt so much grief over my mangled body, the loss of my former high-energy self, the intestine sticking out of my tummy, my missing female parts. I wanted to cry and scream and yet nothing came out…except a lipsticked smile.
While in a law office getting paperwork notorized, I found myself having to explain Mesothelioma. So I stood there, feeling ill and deeply depressed and then like a PR Wizard I proceeded to spin an almost upbeat tale about my experience with this “crazy cancer caused by asbestos!” The pre-programmed Chronic People Pleaser in me didn’t want to make anyone feel “uncomfortable,” so I pretended that everything was essentially fine. And this is what I do almost every single day. It is exhausting and yet like an addict I can’t seem to stop.
Just as a woman might hide her bad skin under a layer of foundation, I hide my true emotions under a layer of faux “happiness.” I know this behavior only worsens my depression because each time you don’t speak your truth, you lose a little bit of your soul. What would happen if I started saying “no.” What would happen if I started saying “I feel desperate.” What would happen if I made someone feel uncomfortable? What would happen if I let people be angry with me? I need to find out, my soul is begging me.