Unselfishly Happy, Selfishly Unhappy

This blog is going to be very personal and very much about me. I will be talking about some deep stuff so if you’re here wanting to read about medical school then it’s the wrong blog to click on.

I have previously written about finding the motivators in your life and using them to help you accomplish your goals. People can be motivated by deeply personal things and all my motivators are certainly deeply personal. So much so that I would not care to share them with most people in my life. People who know me would even struggle to guess what motivates me as my motivators are very subtle and intimate things that only people who truly know me well would know. Very few people fall into that category amongst whom are my parents and a few close friends.

Why am I being so cryptic and personal about my motivators? Sometimes people have deeply personal experiences that they do not wish to share because they are not ready to do so. I guess this is one of them but I feel ready to open up to you about this particular motivator of mine.

The one thing that few people have noticed about me and that I have shared with even fewer is the following: one of my biggest motivators in life is that I have the compulsive need to make others around me happy. Is it odd that I am motivated by the happiness of others? I’m only happy when you’re happy… I think it is odd to be honest. My happiness depends on the happiness of others. That’s absolutely ludicrous but unfortunately it is true. Everybody has something that makes them happy, from the weird to the wonderful, (whatever floats your boat, as I like to say) and that is what makes us all unique.

This came to my attention not too long ago and since then I have become aware of individuals taking advantage of me because of this. I know where I get this from, I get it from my Mum and I always use to point it out to her and tell her much of the advice I have put in this blog. I have watched my Mums good nature be taken advantage of many times because of this trait that she has. I can definitely empathize with her now though. It is extremely difficult to overcome something that is so built into you that it’s like a survival instinct.

People have taken advantage of my good hearted nature and the fact that I want to keep the people in my life happy. I guess that’s the reason I am somewhat reluctant to share all my motivators because when someone knows you that well they can manipulate you into doing what they want you to do. I use the word manipulate in the LOOSEST sense of the word, I guess what I really mean is that they portray situations or choices in such a way that it makes it seem extremely attractive to you. That’s the reason siblings are so good at pushing our buttons because they know us so well.

Having a motivator is essential and having someone use it against you is inevitable. However, insight into yourself and what motivates you allows you to become aware of when someone is trying to push your buttons or use your motivators against you. Sometimes that awareness can come a little late but with hindsight you can see it and learn from it so that next time someone tries to outmanoeuvre you, you can stop them in their tracks.

So, now you know that one of my big motivators in life is my desire to keep people happy. This does not mean that I avoid conflict, I certainly don’t go looking for it, but I like to be surrounded by happy people. It makes me feel good that I can make others feel good. That’s probably why I’m pursuing a career in medicine and why I want to be a doctor.

The things that make us happy can sometimes also be our biggest downfall. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. (Chocolate is my downfall when it comes to having too much of a good thing.)

Sometimes I see this motivator of mine as a big flaw. Why? Because I will go out of my way to make others happy. But that’s a good thing right? Yeah, I guess. I will go out of my way to make others happy, I will put aside my own happiness in order to make others around me happy. Now that’s unhealthy.

Since I have become aware of this motivator/flaw that I have, I have felt slightly depressed. Why? I feel happy when I make others happy but when I make others happy I question whether I am putting aside my own happiness and putting there’s first. It is a vicious cycle and sometimes that makes me feel depressed.

I am working on this (I’m not in therapy or anything) by trying to be happy in myself and telling myself that I need to do things for me. That’s not to say that I have stopped doing things for other people. But I am certainly much more selective in what I do for others and who I am doing it for. I think about each decision I do and whether that is something that I would be happy doing.

This makes me question; at what cost should we pursue happiness? Or anything really? Motivation and being driven is important but we also need to prioritize.

Someone recently told me that the reason I like to make others happy is because I have so much love to give to people, which brings me to the following quote;

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ― Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land    

Take home message of the blog: This message is as much for me as it is for you all. Put your own happiness first above others. Don’t do something just because it will make other people happy, do it if it also makes you happy. It’s okay to be selfish from time to time. I love this quote by Angelina Jolie because I relate to it so much;

“I’ve realized that being happy is a choice. You never want to rub anybody the wrong way or not be fun to be around, but you have to be happy. When I get logical and I don’t trust my instincts – That’s when I get in trouble.” ― Angelina Jolie

 This blog was very easy to write but very hard for me to share.



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