Why we care about others at our own expense


“You can’t be selfish. It’s bad to think about ourselves ”- how often we repeat these phrases to ourselves … We condemn, reproach ourselves for the slightest attempt to do what we need, instead of giving up our own desires again to please someone else. We strive to be helpful, good enough for everyone. And this desire can be understood. After all, altruists are wonderful people. Everyone loves them. True, for some reason they are not particularly considered.

Where does the urge to abandon ourselves for the sake of the happiness of others come from? What is the reason for striving to become comfortable for everyone?

Where does the desire to be good come from?

Look inside yourself. What is behind altruism? As a rule, an excessive desire to be good is born on the basis of a feeling of guilt, a feeling that you are not good enough, that no one just needs it, by themselves. It seems to us that we need to make an effort to earn respect and love.

To get to the bottom of these feelings, try an experiment. It will take just a couple of minutes.

  • Focus, close your eyes, then try to find this feeling in yourself: that you are not good enough, you are to blame for everyone. You may find other negative judgments about yourself as you search.
  • Think about it. Pay attention: where, in what part of the body do these thoughts “respond”? Concentrate on them, allow yourself to be transported to a moment from the past, when such experiences were especially strong. How old were you? Who was there? What’s happened? Why do you think there is something wrong with you? Deconstruct what happened to you a long time ago. “Look” your memories like a movie episode.
  • And then think about how these specific moments (or one of them) influenced you, your opinion about yourself, about others, about life.

Perhaps this short experiment will help answer the question: how did it happen that you became a person who is convenient for others.

Why are we trying to please others?

After doing the exercise and getting some answers, we will see that in trying to please everyone, we do it for ourselves first. This is our way of compensating for our negative experiences from the past. This is how we try not to feel guilty, bad, unnecessary.

We are not alone in this endeavor. And helping yourself always begins with the realization: if you feel guilty, this does not mean that you are really guilty. Just because you feel like you’re not good enough doesn’t mean you’re really good enough. You may be living in the captivity of cognitive biases, because our brains often tend to interpret any facts in favor of what we believe.

But this is just a way to justify why we experience what we are experiencing. In fact, once we just chose this way to protect ourselves from traumatic situations. Our ideas like “I am guilty”, “I am bad”, “I cannot be loved and accepted just like that” do not make us really guilty and bad.

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