Is Constantly Pleasing Others Making You Depressed?
If you are the kind of person who is always nice, regardless of your experiences with others, it is possible that you are neglecting your own feelings and sense of self-worth. Many times, when you go along to get along, you are, in a sense, letting yourself down, and your feelings of disappointment, anger, and anxiety have to go somewhere, so they find a home within you. This leads to a certain kind of sadness and depression that can make you leak emotional energy and feel powerless.
Submissive behavior, agreeable behavior, and accommodating behavior, when inauthentic, distances you from your own feelings. It takes a lot of creative energy to suppress your feelings, and when you do, you are using that energy in a negative way. On the other hand, if you get in touch with your feelings and reflect on your behavior, you can release all of that creative energy and it will return back to you. This is how people transition and renew themselves while experiencing a rebirth or transformation in their emotional lives.
We all draw into our emotional sphere people who let us do what we know how to do from our family of origin… because we are still trying to get it right. But any relationship that isn’t mutual, that isn’t committed, obligated, and responsible in a mutual way, is out of balance and unhealthy. The Dalai Lama once said, “It’s bad Karma to let other people hurt you. It’s bad for them and for you.” Therefore, it is important to recognize when your relationships are one-sided and when you are constantly in the position of serving another.
There are some things you can do to be balanced and comfortable with yourself, as well as with others:
- Know yourself. Acknowledge and recognize your true feelings. Some ways to do this are through down time, journaling, meditating, yoga – think time in rather than time out.
- Be authentic in your relationships with others. The Dalai Lama said to me in the year 2000, “only be with people who value you and validate you.” The best way to be compassionate toward others is to first be compassionate with yourself. The Ten Commandments tells us, “love thy neighbor as thyself…” thus, your primary relationship always has to be with you. Only then, can you relate in a real way to others.
- Stay away from negative and high maintenance relationships. You can never change another, or make them care for you.
- Find a spiritual community, whatever that means to you. This should mean friends you can mediate with, you can count on, and with whom you have mutual respect and support… your home team.
- Don’t diminish your feelings or discount them. You are entitled to cry when you’re hurt, and laugh when you’re happy without labeling yourself as either a victim or too aggressive.
- Finally, in transactional analysis, the approach is to step into your adult… to deliberately override your reactive behavior toward others and be guided by your true feelings.