How many times have we heard or read that there is no greater joy than in giving without expecting something in return.  Most of us are taught from an early age that it is better to give than to receive . That it's nice to be nice .Women, in particular, have always been more compliant and eager to please. However , there is an increasing number of people who are taking the concept of niceness to such a degree that it is no longer a benign, admirable character trait.Instead, it is a pathological condition - known by the professionals as 'caretaker personality disorder', or the 'disease to please' - with dire consequences.

During the course of my practice  'I've seen a surprising number of women who, to their peers, are like Wonder Woman because of their boundless energy and unwavering commitment to others. 'But behind the mask there is often misery, emotional isolation, emptiness, guilt, shame, anger and anxiety. According to Les Barbanell, a psychologist and author of Removing The Mask Of Kindness 'Extreme selflessness is a character trait that can be used to mask a variety of psychological and emotional problems,'....'Most people-pleasers, according to Barbanell, have deep-rooted fears and anxieties about rejection and hostility. ...'They have learned early in life to do everything possible to avoid them. As a result, a mask of false niceness evolves. '...And any feelings of anger, for instance, are automatically repressed and transformed into guilt....'The mask of kindness is not intentional deception; it is a coping mechanism. 'One surface benefit of using kindness as a coping strategy is that it provides an individual with the perception that they are good and indispensable,' says Barbanell .

There is nothing wrong with being “nice” as long as it is done with a full, open heart. There are people in this world who live like that, almost as if they are here to serve ,almost never asking or seeking anything in return . I can think of many spiritual people across the faith spectrum ,Mother Teresa being the epitome of all such evolved beings who embody what it is to love and serve selflessly .  Their lives are the “richer” for it in ways we can not begin to imagine . Other Self-confessed people pleasers include Sienna Miller, Anne Hathaway, Olivia Newton-John and Oprah Winfrey .

Is there a "price" we lesser mortals  pay for this "niceness"?  Perhaps yes ,  excessive people-pleasing is a real problem - the price of being nice can be exorbitant. Among the personal costs people pay for being nice  are: living in fear of disapproval, rejection and failure; feeling inferior and not good enough; loss of integrity, identity and self-respect; self-criticism and self belittlement; insecurities in personal relationships; inability to make decisions; exhaustion from always trying so hard to be perfect; and feeling isolated. Perhaps it is one or more of these?

    Resentment, Stress, Low Self-Esteem and feelings of Powerlessness,Phony relationships,Failed Relationships,Enable: Narcissism, brats and the creation of monsters, Addictions: food, pills, shopping, technology, Financial Issues, Numbness – unconscious living, Poor Professional Image – pushover 

So how does someone who has been a people-pleaser for the longest time end the cycle? The  solution is not to stop being so nice and step into what’s real and authentic and reclaim our lives. Instead, it is Learning to change life-long behaviour .      

Forgive,Be Present,Build Self-Esteem .Try saying 'I think' and 'I want', Say NO! It can be liberating.  Dig deep and deal with your issues – seek help!This requires requires painful work. It is rarely a linear process. In many ways, it is about trying to understand more about your fears. It is important to be responsive to the needs of others, but not at the risk of abandoning your own desires. In other words, we should all strive to love our neighbours as ourselves, but not to the exclusion of the self. Or, as Shakespeare said: 'This above all: to thine own self be true.'

Article By- Josephine Jose