Are you trying too hard in your relationships? Many of my patients attempt to prove their worthiness to others by being overly giving, generous, caring, and attentive. They want to be loved, accepted, and approved of so much that they overextend themselves and neglect their own needs in the process. Why do people do this? The answer varies depending upon the person. In some cases, the person didn’t receive love and approval from one or both parents and continues to seek it or fill the void through their relationships. They grew up with conditional love and place more value on what they do than who they are as a person.
Others lack self-esteem and struggle with fears and insecurities that drive them to search for love and acceptance even if it requires them to compromise themselves. Some want to feel secure in their relationship and create a codependent bond to solidify the connection. Still others try to make others happy to take the focus off themselves and, in some cases, feel safer when they are in charge and less vulnerable. They would rather give than receive.
Of course people can be kind, giving, and generous without a problem arising. The conflict occurs when they neglect resent others because they’re unappreciated and taken advantage of by people. Some of the consequences of trying too hard in relationships include: neglecting self, perpetuating insecure feelings, possible manipulation by others, and loss of self-respect. I’m not suggesting that being productive and accomplishing good things is bad, but when that’s the only way to feel good about yourself than you have a problem. What are some other ways to feel good about yourself? What can you do to not try so hard in relationships? Find out next week how you can approach relationships differently and value your character along with your accomplishments.