You think that making people happy is a good thing, and means that you’re a good person… right?
Have you ever stopped for a while to question that?
“Making people happy” is the term we use to describe selfishly manipulating people’s emotions into a range that we think they enjoy (and will therefore like us more), and that we find more comfortable to be around. And while we’re doing this, we tell ourselves that somehow this is noble and even that it’s some form of self-sacrifice, like they’re benefitting more from this than we are.
In fact, there are people who get angry at me for suggesting that making other people happy is selfish and harmful. We’re so conditioned to believe it’s good to manipulate other people’s emotions that we will defend this behaviour aggressively!
Have you ever considered that maybe it’s actually ok to let people have and process normal human emotions like anger, sadness and confusion? But nice guys and people pleasers can’t help but fix people’s emotions.
In this video, I challenge the concept of making others happy, and talk about a more honest and helpful way to interact when someone isn’t feeling “good”.
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Full transcript (unedited)
there’s nothing wrong with making other people happy keywords there being making and happy yeah that we can force or manipulate people into happiness and that this is a good thing to do and we’re proud of ourselves for doing it
nice guys and people pleasers tend to separate emotions into two categories good and bad sometimes you might call them positive and negative usually the positive columns pretty small happiness calmness excited but not too excited pleasantly surprised there’s like a few that you’re allowed to feel and everything else is in the negative category right anger sadness disgust offense confusion the list goes on and on basically anything that isn’t happiness is called a negative emotion why where’d you get that from the idea that there is negative and positive emotions sure there’s some you prefer to feel over others but do you even know why you prefer them why is it that you notice that some people are quite content with being angry or sad they seem to have no problem with that when you do why is it that you find those emotions to be negative or unpleasant and other people don’t where did you get it from that there is such a thing as a good emotion or a bad emotion notice that happiness usually for a people pleaser gets the highest ranking in the hierarchy of emotion so if you were to list out your emotions from best to worst happiness would be at the top again you have to ask yourself why why is happiness at the top because it feels good is that a good reason for it to be at the top is happiness done the most for you in your life is happiness the emotion that’s carried you through all the tough times as happiness the emotion that’s got things done and made progress on your goal what is happiness done for you that puts it at the top and why are the other ones at the bottom because of this hierarchy we tend to also label negative emotions or people experiencing negative emotions as weakness so if someone even has the emotion or expresses it in some way we think of them as weak and we think of ourselves as weak when it happens we’re worried about being seen as weak being judged as weak by others if they catch us being angry or sad or confused about something of course because we see this as weakness we automatically assume there’s a need for some sort of correction this needs to be fixed in some way or prevented but why do we think of this as weakness why do you think of those emotions as weakness is it because there’s a sense of losing control but you don’t have any control over your happiness either so why is happiness a strong emotion and the others considered to be weak and here’s the key question why do you think it’s wrong to have a normal human emotion where did you get that idea from there’s no other animal on this planet no other mammal that has any sense of shame about any emotion if any of you have played with a pet dog you’ll see that they’ll go through the full range of emotions and they don’t suppress themselves at all it’s only humans that do this why why do we think it’s bad to have emotion especially when we can’t actually control it as much as we’d like to think we can so we make it our job to manage everybody’s happiness don’t we we decide look happiness is the goal for everyone and for some reason i’m going to put on the crown and make myself the king of emotions and control how everybody feels i’m not even gonna let people be sad i’m not gonna let people be angry i’m not gonna let someone stay confused i’m gonna get in there and fix it for them even without their permission and should i mistakenly come to feel one of those emotions myself i’m gonna stuff it down into a little box and lock it up and talk myself out of feeling it and assume that that’s a healthy way to live who gave you the job of managing everyone’s emotions it’s not a hypothetical question at some point in your life probably someone did give you that job quite often nice guys and people pleasers come from a home life that’s unstable emotionally this happens in one of two ways either they’re coming from parents who are people pleasers so the idea of suppressing emotion is already in the family culture or they come from emotionally unstable parents maybe one loses their control all the time or another person is really locked up and frozen and cold and it becomes your job as the child to make everyone feel good they literally give you that job so who gave you that job and do you really still want it is it not exhausting to be in charge of everybody’s emotions and notice the double standard you consider yourself to be in charge of your emotions but you don’t consider others to be in charge of theirs like you’re somehow superior to them like you can manage yours but they can’t manage theirs i’m gonna need to do it for them a little judgmental no so you use tricks to control people don’t you and don’t pretend i make people happy is a nice thing to do it’s a manipulative thing to do maybe you use humor to force them into laughter into happiness uh distractions so when they’re going towards anger or sadness you distract them away from that you break up potential arguments before they happen you kind of throw people’s attention off what’s going on take them away from the truth which is a form of lying you cheer up the people that are down you calm down the people that are too intense use rational arguments you try to talk people into reason talk them into not feeling something the same way you do to yourself you use agreeableness and submission to make someone feel better about themselves even if you have to be false even if you have to compromise your integrity you want to make them feel like they’re right because that will make them happy invalidation and approval compliments and recognition and again doesn’t matter if it’s false right as long as it makes the other person happy and you think all of this manipulative behavior is good it’s a good thing to do even though if someone manipulated you to this extent you would be absolutely appalled you have to let go of the idea that there’s a hierarchy of emotion that’s simply not true all emotions play critical roles in helping us have a high quality of life without sadness we can’t process change we can’t grieve we can’t move on and adapt to crisis and things being taken away from us without anger we don’t have assertiveness we don’t have courage we don’t have passion we can’t move forward how are you supposed to protect yourself and those you love without anger it’s not happiness that makes you stand up for yourself without confusion we don’t have the temptation into curiosity we don’t have the ability to learn if we aren’t first in a position of going i don’t know if if people avoid confusion they don’t get to that place of admitting that they don’t know they get what’s called a conservative psychology they stick with beliefs even if they’re wrong can you not see how dangerous that is for society and for the individual why would you stop someone being confused when all they’re doing is being humble about the fact that they don’t know which is the truth we don’t really know anything when you try to prevent or intervene with people experiencing these emotions you harm those people you’re doing damage to their long-term quality of life you’re taking away the ability to grieve their ability to stand up for themselves their ability to learn new things and on and on and on you’re taking these things away from them with your little tricks all because you think if someone’s happy they’ll like you more actually that’s not even true as we’ve already discussed you have to allow uncomfortable emotions to occur around you for the benefit of other people you’re not doing them any favors by making them happy it’s not your job and it’s not even the best thing for them anyway now a lot of you will believe that some emotions are negative because you see them aligned with bad behaviors you think of anger and violence going together think of sadness and suicide going together think of confusion and somebody throwing a big tantrum going together but actually emotion and behavior have a separation between them not everyone who’s angry is also violent not everyone who’s sad kills themselves there are people who can process and react to emotion in quite healthy and helpful ways i’m angry right now as i make this video that’s how i express anger i make content that helps people how could you say that that’s harmful now i used to be someone who punched a hole in the wall but the punching the hole in the wall wasn’t an anger problem it was a response to anger problem which is different do not blame emotions for your behavior just because you’ve done bad things or other people have done bad things while feeling an emotion it’s not the emotion that made that decision for them they had other options they chose it was their decision-making process that is the fault the emotion is just a feeling it’s just power sense source it’s just stuff that you can use for good or for evil itself it’s neutral so you need to separate that blame if someone’s behaving badly it’s because they chose to it’s not because they’re feeling something put it this way psychopaths feel very happy when they’re hurting people
are you gonna stop being happy now just let them happen and express them like a child i’m angry i’m sad i don’t like that i don’t know what to do you don’t need to explain it to other people you don’t need to justify it if someone judges you as weak just walk away from them you don’t need that kind of person in your life and stop doing that to others if someone else says i’m sad you go yeah i can see why you would be do you want to hug but you don’t say well you shouldn’t be sad because blah blah blah actually have you seen this funny video you don’t do any of that you let them be sad two people are angry and having an argument sit back and watch the show it’s their job to sort that out not yours now if people start getting violent you might intervene but until that happens until bad behavior really starts to happen people being emotional is not a problem let them fight it out let them feel what they’re feeling and let yourself feel what you’re feeling and focus on controlling your behavioral reaction rather than the feeling itself