Question: Whenever I get other people to feel good, I feel like I’m manipulating them for my desired end. How is this supposed to feel genuine?
What you’re experiencing is a combination of your desire to feel good and your habit of satisfying that desire.
We all are driven by a desire to feel good. All our behavior is driven by that desire. You want money because you want to be able to do and buy the things you think will make you feel good. You seek relationships with the hope that they will make you feel good by providing you with a feeling of love and companionship. You seek out jobs that can provide you with enough income and satisfaction because you hope they will make you feel good. The desire to feel good is the basis of your emotional core.
You learn various ways of satisfying that desire to feel good. Some people believe in their ability to feel good that’s independent of external conditions, and they develop empowering habits that reinforce a sense of emotional integrity and healthy self-esteem, and those perpetuate pleasant, good feelings.
Feeling Good is Strong
Your desire to feel good is strong, whether you realize it or not. If you don’t believe in your ability to feel good regardless of external conditions, then you can find yourself developing habits that cause unpleasant feelings, such as feelings of being disingenuous.
A common habit that people in this situation learn is to manipulate people into making them feel better. Their strategy might involve influencing other people to feel good, perhaps by complimenting them, flattering them, or being supportive, but it’s with the expectation that the person will return the favor by doing or saying things to make the other person feel good. When that doesn’t happen, the person doing the manipulation may blame the other person for not being a good, friend, colleague, wife, husband, etc., which is part of the manipulation.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the manipulator is a “bad” person, but it does mean that the habit that person developed to try to feel good isn’t effective in maintaining a healthy self-esteem.
Stop Disempowering Yourself
So, the answer to your question (how is manipulating people for your desired end supposed to feel genuine) is that is can’t result in you feeling good because you’re practicing a habit of disempowering yourself. You don’t believe that you are capable of feeling good without manipulating others into making you feel the way you want, so you’re giving your power to feel good to others. The result accomplishes the opposite of what you want, which is to feel good.
If you want to feel good, you’ve got to stop disempowering yourself. You’ve got to recognize that you have the built-in ability to feel genuinely good without having to control others to do that job for you. If you can remember what it was like as a very young child, when you were able to use your focus and imagination to play and have fun and enjoy life, before you learned mistruths about yourself that influenced you to believe you were powerless in making yourself feel good without external conditions, then you would realize your ability to feel good.