When other people are unhappy, it can cause someone to feel a sense of concern and to be curious as to why they feel as they do. As a result of this, one can hope that this person begins to feel better and even see what they can do to help them.
This could apply to anyone one meets that appears unhappy, but in most cases, it is going to relate to the people that one knows and is close to. To be this way is part of being human and that means having empathy.
However, not every human as the ability to empathise and this can mean that they might even notice when another person is unhappy. So on one side can be people who are disconnected from other people’s emotions and have no idea how they are feeling, and on the other side, can be people who are not just interested in how others are feeling; they are completely focused on how they are feeling.
One might be described as being better than the other, and having no empathy is unlikely to be the one that is seen as better. And yet, to be totally focused on how other people are feeling is also going to create problems.
To feel concerned when another person is unhappy is one thing; it is another thing to feel responsible when they are unhappy and that it is ones purpose to make them happy. Of course, if one was responsible for what happened, then it is only normal that one offers their support.
But when one is not responsible for what happened and they feel that they are, one is going to become too focused on another person’s life. And if their attention is on others, it is inevitable that their own life is going to suffer.
Not only that, it also takes away the other persons responsibility for their own feelings. And this can cause them to always look to other people in order to be happy. Other people are then responsible and the ones who have the power over their feelings
So trying to make other people happy not only causes one to lose awareness when it comes to their own needs and wants, it also causes the other person to lose touch with the role they are playing.
This is going to mean that one has less energy for their own life and this could cause them to feel disempowered. And other people are not going to be able to realise the power they have to make themselves happy; so they can end up feeling disempowered.
Parent And The Child
If one was to ignore how old each person was here, they would soon see that it is similar to the relationship a parent has with a child. At such a young age, the parent is responsible for the child’s happiness. And as the child hasn’t emotionally separated and therefore developed their sense of personal power, this is to be expected.
So while someone can look like an adult, it doesn’t mean that they feel like one. One can feel like a child and need others to look after them in order to get their needs met, or one can feel like a child, and look after others as a way to get their needs met.
The Same Coin
Whether one feels responsible for other people’s happiness or feels that other people are responsible for their own, it is because they have not been able to emotionally grow up. And this causes them to still see the world through the eyes of a child; with their personal power not yet being realised.
Just because someone is an adult, it doesn’t mean that they actually had a childhood. And this means that instead of them receiving the nurturing they needed to become a healthy and functional adult, they might have ended up parenting their caregivers instead.
So they grow up and look like adults, but they still feel like children. While this should have been a time for their caregivers to focus on ones happiness and wellbeing, to take care or their needs and wants, it could have been the other way.
To survive during these years, and to receive the acceptance, love and approval that they desperately needed, they would have had to tune into their caregivers needs. One may not have been happy with this, but their caregivers were.
This sets one up to believe their survival is based on pleasing others, and making them happy would have been what mattered. The ideal would have been for them to be accepted, loved and approved of for who they were.
One is then conditioned from day one look externally, and to tune into the needs and wants of other people. This is not dysfunctional per se, but when it becomes one whole focus it is going to be.
Their own needs and wants could have ended up being oblivious to them and the reason they focus on other people is not only because this is what feel safe, it is also because they are out of touch with their own needs and wants.
It will be important for one to get back in touch with their needs and wants, and to realise that they are not responsible for other people’s happiness. Intellectually one may understand this, but emotionally it could be very different.
This may involve changing beliefs and releasing trapped emotions from one’s body. As this takes place, one will gradually begin to feel comfortable with their needs and wants. The assistance of a therapist, healer or a coach may be required here.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.