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Inability to Please Others and to Be Pleased

Updated on August 10, 2017
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long student of the psycho-philosophy of living and a devoted practitioner of many techniques that enhance personal evolution.

Why Is It so Easy to Arouse Dissatisfaction in Us?
Why Is It so Easy to Arouse Dissatisfaction in Us?

Not about Our Bedroom Behavior

I hope the title is not misleading you into expecting something from pages of a sexology book. And I didn't really use it to grab your attention with such apparent alluding to it; while I couldn't think of a better one to depict the theme of this article.

As you are about to see, I am going to say something about an obvious and rather peculiar phenomenon in our ways of interacting with each other---displaying itself from our childhood on, and stretching over our social, even global coexistence.

However, don't expect a clumsy imitation of a boring scientific study, as I find the theme quite revealing if not downright amusing, while we could easily recognize ourselves, those close to us, and this whole species of ours.

Namely, out of my notoriously inquisitive nature came noticing how for some reason or a bunch of them this mankind keeps proving itself to possess an awfully low capacity to please others, as well as to be pleased. So I started asking myself some questions, as I always do, and what follows are my observations about it.

No Matter How High Learning We Attain---It Seemingly Doesn't Make Us More Ready for Life
No Matter How High Learning We Attain---It Seemingly Doesn't Make Us More Ready for Life

A Selective Intelligence

It could have started with my amazement over the fact that we are capable of rising some architectural marvels like Dubai or Las Vegas right from a desert, not even to mention outlandish high technology in electronics---but then we seemingly can't use the same intelligence to establish a harmony on this planet.

By harmony I mean a state in which we could all somehow blend with our fulfilled expectations from each other. Don't you ever wonder, how come that those brainy folks like scientists, doctors, university professors, even shrinks often have crappy and dissatisfying relationships?

Indeed, why can't intelligence, so well applied in one direction be applied in all directions? Why is it so selective?

Likewise, why those smart leaders with a bunch of even smarter advisors "have to" resort to something like a filthy diplomacy or even wars? These and other discrepancies made me come up with certain conclusions, and I found the starting thread of it in our early childhood.

In my view there are two fundamental things at play here. One has a lot to do with our basic biological egoism. We don't eat, breathe, sleep, wash, and so on to please anyone else but our own needs of survival. Then it may even stretch over our sexual habits with a neglect of the poor partner.

When you look at the toys of toddlers, they don't involve others for a play, and don't suggest "sharing". They are strictly meant to please the little selfish individual because it seems like he insists on it that way. Try to grab one toy of his, and he will quickly reach to take it back, if not give you a tantrum.

So, even at the very start of our life we are not much in a mood to please anyone but ourselves. While we may not be aware of it, it stays with us into our adulthood, no matter how much we want to mask it with our "altruistic" intentions.

Life Constantly Makes Us Feel Separated from Our Favorite Toys
Life Constantly Makes Us Feel Separated from Our Favorite Toys

In a Way---Still Toddlers

After the age of toddlers comes a quick development of social skills, which basically means a painful collision between what we "want" to do and what we suddenly "have to" do, or "must not" do.

And it stinks, as we learn very early in life. As a matter of fact it stinks so much that as we are getting older we are bound to prey for any little crack in our social makeup to claim the primacy of our suppressed biological egoism.

Funny as it appears, we become pretty crafty at presenting our covert egoism as something that's for the "common good".

"Honey, don't look at the price of that dress, I know you want your wife to look better than Steve's wife tonight, don't you?"

Or: "Dear fellow-Americans, my vision is the one of America being great again"---or---"Together we are stronger", you pick the slogan sounding better to you, while both of them merely say: "Hey, you suckers, you'd better vote for me because it's been my dream to become better than any of you."

So, here it comes a little more clear why we are incapable to please others---we often make it look like we are doing it for ourselves. On a certain level it is that "third root of honesty" derived from the crude fact that we wouldn't even help a blind dude across the road if it didn't give us that good feeling.

While many unselfish deeds are pleasing others, so many more are a transparent case of a covert "taking care of the No1". And that, my friends, doesn't make us qualified to be likened to a Mother Theresa.

Blame It on the Negative Feedback Mechanism

Then, there is that flip side of that same coin called "basic biological egoism", and it's saying a lot about our reduced ability to be pleased by the actions of others. It stems from none other but our King Fear---the main character in the theatre of all our dramas, soap operas, and tragedies.

Fear may take many forms, from fear of violence all the way to envy. But what it always does is taking care of our psycho-physical survival one way or another. The antenna of that fear is its function called negative feedback mechanism, with which we detect anything---real or only "real"- by-association---which resembles a threat.

It wouldn't even be such a bad thing to have, this default radar, if it didn't have one lousy tendency---to go autonomic with a mind of its own after a continuous use. What basically happens is that over a time we may become literally addicted to looking for "bad" things happening around us and in this world.

It's not anymore possible bears chasing us in National Parks, or possible muggers lurking from dark alleys, or terrorists planting bombs at public places---now it's just about anything which we ably interpret as "bad".

The more we are noticing things that are not in harmony with our tastes, wishes, plans, interests, intellectual preferences---the more trigger-happy becomes our negative feedback mechanism.

Guess what happens with our capacity to be pleased. You got it, it becomes harder and harder to please us, for no other reason but because we get wired in our brain to interpret everything as carrying a seed of something threatening to our psycho-physical well being.

So Many of Us Constantly Feel That Way---Even While Smiling
So Many of Us Constantly Feel That Way---Even While Smiling

Addicted to Complaining

That's the point at which so many of us may turn into controlling or complaining freaks, agonizing to squeeze some satisfaction from others, but not able to---just like a person whose sneeze always gets cut short and he can't make it.

In a certain sense we assume a hypochondriac's mentality, "only feeling good when we are feeling bad", as that comes more "natural to us". For an example, it becomes so sweet to gossip that some of us "just can't wait to tell...", and we are "dying to find out..."---some of you may be able to replace dots with certain personal experiences.

Before we know it, it has become a national pastime to be pissed-off at something, and what makes it so amusing is the fact that after a while it doesn't even matter what it is---as long as we have something to bitch about.

Now guess who is laughing. O.K., beside myself---it's the mainstream media laughing all the way to the bank, while making complete sheep of the public with any story that comes to their imagination.

As we know it, journalism got so encouraged by our sheepish mentality that they will "report" a complete lie, while knowing that a good mass of folks will buy it as factual.

Indeed, fear is so close to our survival instinct that you can scare a dude much faster than "persuade" a kid to have an ice cream on a hot day. And it's worth repeating that with an excessive use of negative feedback mechanism it develops a mind of its own, now getting triggered by anything at all.

For a caricature of it, let me tell you about this grumpy dude I used to work with, who would regularly answer to "Good morning" with : "What the f...k is so good about it?" Or, if you told him to "have a nice day", he would say: "Please, don't tell me what kind of a day to have, O.K.?!"

It's Simply Great to Discover So Many Reasons to Be Pleased
It's Simply Great to Discover So Many Reasons to Be Pleased

We Don't Have to Stay That Way

Those experts who had nothing better to do but measure the percentage of our daily negative thoughts say how during the course of our active day even in so-so "normal" circumstances we produce some 80% of crappy thoughts, most of them echoed by crappy feelings.

Now, what gives even more delicious food for my satirical sense is the fact that on the surface all of us appear very interested in "having it better" one day---but then miserably sabotage any prospects of finding it satisfactory even if it should turn out that way.

Just look at those armchair political analysts badmouthing this or that politician or policy or even hypothetical turnouts---like some prophets theorizing about the calamities to befall us because of this or that happening in the political arena.

They are all so eloquent with those slogans and phrases picked up from the media, and one would think that they know exactly what's the best for the country. But then, as the history is attesting, even if the next president is exactly the type they "wanted", they will not sit back, now relaxed and pleased with the change---they will find so much bad to say about him or her again.

Indeed, some folks you simply can't please, no matter what. They are wired in their brains to generate dissatisfaction.

But then, not to paint the whole humanity with a broad brush, yes, there are those who may need just a little nudge to wake up. They may have that intuitive, gut sense which enables them to even turn their well played-in negative feedback to their benefit.

Namely, such folks may get tired of their own bitching, their negative feedback reporting to them the pathetic truth how it stinks to keep noticing things that stink.

Somehow, that adage about "Counting our blessings---not our curses" start being so relevant in their lives, and with a little practice they retrain their nervous system into a mode of functioning where they can easily be pleased.

From that point on, we also start finding so satisfactory and amusing the whole massive soap opera played by those who are still waiting for a miracle to yank them out of their persistent nightmare.

Well, it's really all up to us, not up to the outcomes of current events around us or in the world---how good we may become at pleasing others by making our good gestures more genuine; and how easily we can be pleased.

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    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 5 weeks ago from Canada

      Paula, my friend---Your visits are always a treat to my eyes, even more so these days while you decided to reduce your activities at HP.

      I enjoy my freedom of being myself and expressing my views without worrying how they may be taken. And with that freedom comes realization that I can't be free unless I allow the same freedom to others.

      That's why my disagreement with our friend Eleanore is never to be taken as a "confrontation" in any degree of the word. I don't really mind her views, they are just like mine, and we can't help being the way we are. I simply stated how my views are different than hers, that's all. Since none of us is a kid here, "lecturing" is out of question, so I didn't take it that way.

      Anyhow, thank you for nice wishes, my friend, and you too enjoy your summer activities. Always friends--Val.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 weeks ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Val....Hello my friend. It may be due to the fact that I always read your work and have gotten to know you well, that I clearly understand your meanings and intentions. Like Nathan, I see nothing in your article that should warrant a lecture or scolding on the treatment of women. However, as you say, we are all entitled to translate as we choose. To your credit, you handle criticism well.

      I enjoyed your article as always and BTW, I'm impressed you have offered some Poetry here also!

      Hope you are enjoying the summer. Be happy. Paula

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 weeks ago from California, United States of America

      Well-said Vlad, and I know what you mean. I don't like to impose on people and I hate conflict. I myself almost regretted jumping in with my own two cents, but sometimes I feel compelled. In fact, I've spoken up a couple times recently, regretted it but then saw this video on Youtube called "Tell the Truth! Jordan Peterson". It's well worth a listen. Kind of set me straight with my shyness for speaking up.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 5 weeks ago from Canada

      John, my old buddy---I salute to your noble manliness upon your mentioning your assisting your disabled wife---and on top of it being so easy to please, which reminds me of myself. My wife is not exactly disabled, but she gets this nasty arthritic pain in her left hand, so I do more in the household that I would care to list.

      I don't know how to put it without bragging, but my long term self-disciplining and practically "choosing" my emotions enable me to enjoy everything in life.

      With these hobbies of several techniques, mostly mental, some physical, some having to do with herbal self-treatments...plus classical music, writing, walks in the park, seeing friends of more than 40 years back---what can I say, life is a serene and divine experience. Next week we are going (like we do almost every year) to Los Angeles for 7 weeks to Anna's niece.

      They got a beautiful house with swimming pool, palm trees, and flower beds, so I always get up first in the morning, sneak out to the patio and write, walk around the pool and think, meditate, baby-talk to their huge dog...

      Special treat of more recent times are you my new cyber-friends, and I appreciate your presence in my life more than I am showing it.

      Well, what can I say, John---sometimes, just for a little mental gym it's fun to have these little discussions. I used to have that kind of fun while I was more active at Q.& A. with religious matters. I quit that, and now I just come up with a question or two once in awhile.

      O.K., now, before this turns into an article, thanks, John for coming by. It's always a big pleasure to see you among my commenters.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 5 weeks ago from Canada

      Nathan---I respect your judgment in this whole matter. To be perfectly honest with you, I had no ambition to "lecture" to our friend Eleanore, and to my taste I actually said too much.

      The only reason why I opened my mouth at all was that I didn't want to appear "speechless", as if "defeated by some facts". That's something I don't like.

      You are a martial artist and you know how showing-off with your skill is against your discipline---BUT you will not retreat if provoked.

      Likewise, I am not seeking some cheap little victories which would "prove to me something about my personal importance". Being an individualist of my own make, I am very prone to letting everyone be who they are, without trying to "correct" them.

      My articles are trying to inspire, not to lecture. So it's fine with me should Eleanore keep her position about men. It's her right to think what she wants. Like I said, I just couldn't keep mute.

      Thanks for your comment, I appreciate it, Nathan.

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      John Hansen 5 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

      Another thought provoking but common sense article, Val. Some people just don't seem to be happy without things to complain about. I, on the other hand am easily pleased. As long as moments has the basic comforts, a roof over my head that doesn't leak, enough food on the table, and money to pay the bills and the occasional treat, and a loving partner/family, I am happy. Add to that, time to spend writing and a quiet place to do it and I am even happier.

      My wife gets restless at times and wants to do something different like rearrange furniture or have me (attempt to) renovate something. She tends to bore more easily and needs constant stimulation where as I can be happy just writing, reading etc. . That said, my wife is disabled and restricted in what she can do without my assistance so I have to be adaptable and willing to meet her needs. I do most of the housework for instance. I agree with what you say about many children's toys that are made to entertain the individual child and not for sharing.. Then the parents scold the child for not wanting to share other things with their friends and siblings.

      I love reading your hubs, but your interactions in comments with Eleanore even adds to the entertainment factor. :) well done all up, my friend.

    • NateB11 profile image

      Nathan Bernardo 5 weeks ago from California, United States of America

      I came here earlier after seeing Eleanore's comment to find out if you had written the things she said you wrote, and I went through the article over and over again and for the life of me could not find what it was she's talking about. Astounding. True projection going on there on an absurd scale. I just had to come back after I saw you were having quite the discussion with her. I've dealt with such things often, hatred of men is a special kind of bigotry, but like all forms of bigotry nonetheless. You're dealing with it very well, Vlad.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 6 weeks ago from Canada

      Eleanore---Our little chat is turning into a fun as you persist with projecting your own defensiveness on me. I wish there was a drawing, a graph, a video, a stamp...because words don't seem to be enough.

      But let me try again:

      I am not "defending" anything.

      If it's so hard for you to accept it, please read my article again and find the place in it which deserves all this ranting against the "nature of men". I didn't even talk about women there, so what triggered that bad feminist mood?

      You are ascribing way too much importance to your experience. All experience is subjective, only knowledge is objective; and experience is only valid inasmuch as it matches what is objectively validated by enough authorities to make it credible.

      So, if you want me to give some importance to your personal experience, state a few names of some scholars who agree with all that you are saying about men. Since I doubt you will find any, please, spare me from theorizing based upon experience alone.

      Any woman who got burnt in her relationship and then kept making the same mistake couldn't provide a definition for what "all men think or want". They say : "We are not foolish if we make a mistake, but we are foolish if we keep repeating it". So our foolishness is not competent to pin a degrading character on "all men".

      Does this look like a "defending" to you again---not simply a line of logical thinking?

      Whatever, but this is the last of me in this little series of our verbal exchange. Now you can wait for my next article to find something wrong there. I'll be happy to respond again.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 6 weeks ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Experience as most women know is the best teacher. That you find it dubious that "my" experience makes me an expert is a clear sign of your masculine double standard. Why would you even mention my experience as an expert if it was not your defense mechanism?

      I am nothing if not fair. When anyone, man or woman seeks to downplay another's experience, that only shows weakness.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 6 weeks ago from Canada

      Eleanore---I am not "defending" men, because I don't feel threatened by women. There is nothing to defend. To be honest with you, what surprises me a bit is that you really believe that YOUR personal experience with so many men in your life makes you enough of an expert to talk about "all". Sorry, but it is a sort of too ambitious, to say the least.

      Men are not automobiles, so if a mechanic can tell what an engine should sound like---there is no way in the world that you could know "what we men think". It borders with naïve.

      You keep generalizing while presenting your own experience as a competent parameter in evaluating the nature of men. I am sorry to see how bruised you sound, but at least try to be objective enough to realize that not "all" women should feel bruised because you do.

      Humans are not perfect---whether male or female, and you show me a woman who got a bad experience with a man, and I'll show you a man who had a bad experience with a woman.

      Well, stereotyping is not my cup of tea, but you just feel free to see women as some kind of "victims"---I can't help you to see the complete picture. I am not in a war with women. I love them, respect them, and I treat them as ladies whenever they act like ones.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 6 weeks ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Val, If I am an expert on men, it may be thanks to 5 brothers and half brothers, 11 nephews, 1 ex husband who tried to drink himself to death, 2 sons, 21 salesmen, 15 chemists and 10 engineers I worked with all men.

      You bet I know what you guys think. It may surprise you to know that a young girl picks up a whole lot of male education on how guys treat each other and how they treat women.

      It may also surprise you that my best friend of nearly 3 decades was male. He was hugely intelligent, loved the arts and we never in all that time argued.

      Bias is never a good thing whether it is male or female. However, there isn't a woman alive who has not had to endure that male penchant for double standards.

      He WORKS. She works but it isn't really work. He drinks. But she's a lush. He womanizes and she's the cougar. The double standard by men of a certain age and certain mentality is not acceptable to women of intelligence, class, skills and talents.

      Neither is the idea that women should NEVER earn what a man does even when SHE does the same job. Once you begin there, nothing else you use in defense of manhood is valid. Sorry.

    • ValKaras profile image
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      Vladimir Karas 6 weeks ago from Canada

      Eleanore---It pleases me--- because I am so easy to please---to see that you are so well adjusted person with no beefs against anyone, particularly men.

      Isn't it great that we can generalize about men and turn out to be "experts" about what "all" of them are like? Isn't it so much easier to put them all in one bag and put our favorite label on the bag?

      Well, women that I know have a little different opinion about men. They are happily married, enjoying their relationship, seeing themselves equal to men, not competing with men, feeling respected by them and respecting them.

      But I must know wrong kind of women, including my own wife of 52 years who most certainly doesn't feel threatened by King of his Castle that she has never seen in me.

      You and I both seem to be well adjusted persons---both in our own world of values. And it's fine that way.

    • Ewent profile image

      Eleanore Ferranti Whitaker 6 weeks ago from Old Bridge, New Jersey

      Assuming you are "King of your Castle," Men are infinitely harder to please. Your subtle attack on women being hard to please doesn't cut it.

      Most women would tell you that men change their minds more than their underwear. If you can't please women, maybe it is time to look more deeply at yourself than at women.

      In this day and age of men always yapping away and acting like they and only they should speak for women, I'd say that it is high time women stopped trying to please men.

      If I look well, it's because I do it for ME. If I succeed, it is due to MY skills, experience and capability. Not some guy who must always hog the scene.

      Over my lifetime, there are only two kinds of men in this world. The secure men who don't obsessed over controlling women and the grossly insecure men who can't stand not having total control over any woman within walking distance. Time for the latter to grow up.