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Poll

Can it become "unhealthy" to put others' needs before your own?

Yes
16 (50%)
No
0 (0%)
Sometimes
16 (50%)

Total Members Voted: 30

Author Topic: Needs of others...  (Read 10094 times)

Offline cave_girl1702

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Needs of others...
« on: August 13, 2007, 11:34:57 PM »
My question comes from myself always thinking about others' needs before my own such as family and friends.

I come to think that maybe this isn't the healthiest thing for me.

If however, I feel that something will harm me, in putting another's needs ahead of my own - I will rack my brain to come up with a compromise. Is this healthy? Or, is being selfish something I should aspire to as well?

I wait eagerly for your responses!

CG

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2007, 12:10:13 AM »
The motives for altruism... an interesting topic...

In nature, a monkey will screech loudly to warn his tribe about an approaching enemy tribe, even though this action will cost the monkey it's life because it's giving away it's position. So why would a monkey give up his own life in order to save that of his tribe's?  Biologists claim that this is a genetic behaviour, they are programmed to do it - wether they like it or not.

Altruism in nature has been proven to exist, and is part of our genetic make-up.  It can be seen with monkeys, insects and many other species, including ours. Therefore, being altruistic is natural.

However, we are humans, and our upper hemispheres of the brain can 'over-ride' our genetic disposition, particularly for traits such as Altruism - so I guess the example of the monkey doesn't solve the question entirely, but it does help;  we know the monkey behaves this way because of his genes, that in essence, is his motive.

So what is our (humans) motive for altruism?  Is it;

A. To gain approval.
B. To manipulate others (which is the same as A).
C. To adhere to a moral code (which is the same as A and B).
D. Other?

The question is, WHY are you being altruistic?
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2007, 07:04:52 AM »
Cavegirl, you might like this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/27/AR2007052701056.html

Abstract:
The results were showing that when the volunteers placed the interests of others before their own, the generosity activated a primitive part of the brain that usually lights up in response to food or sex. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

;)
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Madison

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2007, 01:29:58 AM »
Hi CG, as soon as I saw your topic it struck a chord within me as there was a time I would also put others before myself pretty much 99% of the time..

I would try to help people as much as I could, always putting their needs before my own. Most of the time I would give of myself (even to people I didn't know!) in so many different ways that eventually I was the one they'd come to every time because they knew they could either get that lift, borrow this or that amount of money or basically just click their fingers for something as they knew the response would be 'Yeah sure, no worries'..

So essentially I was being taken advantage of and what's worse is that I was the one that let it all happen for certain reasons..

For one, I felt sorry for certain people that genuinely needed my help and I'm glad I was able to assist and help in certain situations in that regard, doing that made me feel good inside but unfortunately there were other reasons I felt I couldn't say no to people. I had very low self-esteem and confidence and felt I would somehow be more respected and liked if I did what they asked of me. I wanted to be accepted so much that in the end I would come to fear the word NO..

I became quite pathetic until I got the courage I needed. I finally learned how to say no and to also not associate NO with overwhelming guilt..

Some people became quite shocked that I wouldn't succumb to their demands and in the beginning it was still hard for me to say 'I'm sorry, I cant' but I had to do it for myself, for my own self respect. It became quite liberating to release my thoughts that restricted me for so long and to be able to feel a sense of freedom..

Anyway, I don't know if you can relate to any of this as your situation may be completely different. I can only come from a place I once knew to be very unhealthy and damaging to my self-esteem and self respect..



Fear. Courage. Freedom

Offline Renee

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2007, 09:31:51 PM »
I think it`s good to help others to a certain degree. The more you do for a person the more they expect and the more you get used.
I think people need to be helping themselves before they can seek help from others. I am all for helping people in need but at times you need to say "no".

I was like Maddison and would most certainly go out of my way to help anybody, but as it turned out even my own family started to use me. A friend pointed out to me that i say yes too often and I quickly changed my ways. I had self esteem issues and would never stand up for myself, needless to say I was picked on alot by family and peers. I would give them what they wanted in order to be left alone. When I changed my ways I gained alot of respect off these people.... 

Offline Matt Emery

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2007, 12:51:45 AM »
I think that striking a balance between solidarity and individuality is a life long journey.  And whenever I think that i've mastered this difficult balance, I no sooner encounter a situation where I fail at it miserably.
:P

However, those incidents become less frequent as I get older.  And i'm gradually learning that self-respect trumps people-pleasing.

It's been a very long journey for me.  Some of my earliest survival skills involved people-pleasing, white lies, black lies, and obfuscation, which set me up for terribly low self-esteem and consequently; drug addiction.

Nowadays I am not addicted to drugs, I do have self-respect, and I'm constantly vigilant in my efforts to be authentic.  I'm not perfect at it, and probably never will be, but i'm trying - one day at a time - and it's the act of trying that keeps me from the pit of low self-esteem.

Please note; there is a big difference between being normal, and being authentic.  I choose the latter, and rejoice in my weirdness.
8)
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 12:54:05 AM by Matt Emery »
"Be true to your biology"

Offline Doug

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2010, 08:24:26 AM »
Ayn Rand wrote extensively about the virtue of selfishness.  She is a good writer and her ideas are thought provoking.   The answer about putting someone else's needs ahead of your own can be bad for your health.  Most parents would not hesitate to sacrifice themselves for their children.  So is the question which who others?  Sometimes we want a fair exchange for our efforts, other times we don't.   

What is interesting is how we do in fact sometimes put ourselves in danger for others.  Whenever there is danger there are people who will risk their lives for complete strangers. We see people risking their lives for children.  I recall the man who jumped onto the tracks and saved a child by covering the child with his body while the train went over the both of them.  Later the man was honored by president Busch. 

 

Offline Rob-The-Spartan

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2010, 09:34:39 AM »
I think that striking a balance between solidarity and individuality is a life long journey.  And whenever I think that i've mastered this difficult balance, I no sooner encounter a situation where I fail at it miserably.
:P

I am slowly learning this too. One thing i have learned is that there is an anti-everything. No matter what you believe in or what you do, somebody will agree with it and somebody will disagree with it. So educate yourself so that whatever decission you make is probably going to be right and the right people will follow you. Plus, i have learned to get over my emotions when somebody gives me hard advice. I actually get mad now when i ask for advice and people just tell my what they think i want to hear. It's a weird barrier but once you get over it and learn how to recieve and also give harsh criticism, you will begin to benefit more lives than before and also yours will become richer.

I strongly feel that when somebody is just trying to tell you what they think you want to hear, they are not trying to please you like most people think. I believe they either simply don't care enough about you to help you or too insecure scared that they might lose you as a friend. I've peeved off so many of my friends by giving them harsh advice but you know what? they always take it and they always thank me after.

Offline Riverman

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 08:12:31 AM »
Matt you pretty much summed up my life.........

I think that striking a balance between solidarity and individuality is a life long journey.  And whenever I think that i've mastered this difficult balance, I no sooner encounter a situation where I fail at it miserably.


However, those incidents become less frequent as I get older.  And i'm gradually learning that self-respect trumps people-pleasing.

It's been a very long journey for me.  Some of my earliest survival skills involved people-pleasing, white lies, black lies, and obfuscation, which set me up for terribly low self-esteem and consequently; drug addiction.

Nowadays I am not addicted to drugs, I do have self-respect, and I'm constantly vigilant in my efforts to be authentic.  I'm not perfect at it, and probably never will be, but i'm trying - one day at a time - and it's the act of trying that keeps me from the pit of low self-esteem.

Please note; there is a big difference between being normal, and being authentic.  I choose the latter, and rejoice in my weirdness.

Offline Tony Bondioli

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Re: Needs of others...
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 09:41:03 AM »
Please note; there is a big difference between being normal, and being authentic.  I choose the latter, and rejoice in my weirdness.

Amen.   8)
RN, B.Sc. Health Promotion and Wellness. Public Health Nurse serving a Great Lakes Native American tribe. Husband and father. Lousy at cards, but with a fair singing voice. Good to have around when the excrement hits the rotating cooling apparatus.

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