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When will I learn?


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I have always been concerned about "others" feelings above my own. I look out for others before myself. I even get hurt feelings when someone is mad at me for something I did not do, or a stranger meets me and gets that "vibe" and doesn't like me. I hate the feeling of someone else being mad or not liking me. I have try to do what ever I can to ensure I change their feelings towards me, or I just hide away and cry in solitude.


I need to realize that I can't make everyone happy all the time, my dad tells me this. But I just can't practice it.



Why do I have to be like this, why for once can't I just think of me and feel free to be happy?

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aw Supa_gurl I'm sorry you're feeling so down today I relate to what you're saying, a lot of the time I bend over backward for others because i don't want anyone to not like me, even when I owe them nothing. Why do you feel you need to make other people happy? Isn't it their responsibility to do it on their own? are you afraid people will walk away and leave you if they don't?

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Yeah, it's not unusual from what I can tell. I'm betting you're a good facilitator, that you like to bring others together to get things done? It's not all a bad thing to want to be liked by people because it can be really helpful in some careers or volunteer orgs, etc.


Of course, your point for posting is that you want to get past what you think is a need to feel liked. How about a baby step? Try a mental scale with all the people who do like you in one bowl and that person in the other. Look how far the scale tips in favor of those who like you!


Or realize that one person, in one instance, does not make a condemnation of you as a person. It's a situation.


Extreme example: I was in counseling for a year because I had an abusive boss. He was doing so many nasty things to people, his staff hated his guts and called him a sociopath, yet I found myself pathetically trying to get him to like me, thinking that would change everything. No, it would not have because this was who he was. We were not compatible in our beliefs, our philosophies of how to manage people, and certainly not in our way of handling those differences. If we can accept incompatability in people when establishing friendships and romantic relationships, why can't we have incompatability with people's viewpoints on situations? No need to take that personally - it just is.

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Trust me...try making everyone happy or like you, you're setting yourself up for disappointment.


As for a stranger getting that "vibe"...a couple years back I was at a bar. This lady and her daughter sit down near me and my friend starts flirting with both of them. I mean making dirty comments. They're giggling, etc. and I'm embarrassed, so I just pay attention to the football game.


10 minutes later, the mom leans over and yells to me "You look like you're an a-hole. I know your type". I hadn't spoken one word or acknowledged they were there, I was just watching the game! How did they know? That really hurt, but you start to pity those people - going through life thinking they know you when they know nothing at all.

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Welcome to LFO Anonymous- that's, Living For Others, and it's the story of my life. Since I can remember, I've had a very unhealthy need to please everyone around me- parents, gfs, friends, and even strangers. It's unhealthy, because like you, it often came at the expense of my own happiness and well-being.


The root cause in my situation was (surprise) my dad. At the risk of sounding like psycho-babble, growing up, praise from him for good work was almost non-existent, and I think it caused me to "act out" in this unhealthy way of trying to please others for the recognition that I never got as a kid.


Also, more than likely, if you have LFO syndrome, you're probably also a perfectionist and have a problem with procrastination. They all kind of go hand-in-hand. Ironically, you probably also aren't too great at dealing with explicit praise when it comes your way, and actually shy away from it or are genuinely embarrassed by it.


Honestly, I don't think there's any trick to stop LFO- by that I mean, there's no sure-fire strategy. Just wait for your epiphany. Mine was being told by an ex, several years after the breakup, that the only reason she broke up with me was because I was a walking doormat and no one wants a doormat for a bf. Even though my feelings for her were long gone, what she said still hit me hard. For three years, I treated this girl like a queen and sacrificed so much to make her happy, and she basically just threw it all back in my face.


After that, it became natural for me to be more selfish. The 2 most important realizations for me were that, (1) being a doormat gets you absolutely nowhere in life, and (2) you can be a good, likeable person without being a doormat (i.e., LFO). It's no coincidence that all of the most financially successful people in the world live their lives as far from the LFO principle as possible. I'm not advocating complete selfishness and lack of empathy and compassion, either, but I think there's definitely a nice balance that needs to be struck if you want to be happy in life.

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Supa_girl, you're exactly like me. You always put others first, instinctively, and sacrafice a hell of a lot of those you love and get little appreciation for it. You freak out if one person doesn't like you. You try to make everyone like you.


I wish there was a quick fix for this problem, but, unfortunately there isn't. Just take the advice of some of the posts above - they're really helpful. Remember you can still be a lovely, compassionate person without trying too hard about it. Trying too hard to please others can come accross as insincere, even if it isn't intended in that way and it's a genuine natural reaction.

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