Why is it easier to do things for others than for myself?

This article will explain why some people find it hard to do things for themselves, such as planning something they want, although they find it easy to do things for other people. For that, the article will explain some concepts around motivation, and what are ways to focus on taking better care of yourself.

Why is it easier to do things for others than for myself?

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Sometimes people might feel like doing things for others is a lot easier than doing it for themselves. It can be on simple things, such as helping people do their house chores, but it can also happen on important matters.

For example, a person may find it easier to accompany a family member to a doctor’s appointment than scheduling their own, neglecting their health. When that is the case, it might be important for them to understand what is happening so they can regain control over their own life.

Because with time this can cause them to neglect themselves for the benefit of others, which can have terrible effects on their lives. Based on this is the concept of motivation and self-worth. 

When a person feels like they are not worth taking care of, it indicates the low value they give their own life, health, and emotions. It can also be related to how they feel rewarded when they are motivated to do things. To understand that better, let’s talk about motivation. 

What is motivation?

Motivation is a complex process that will make us decide to do something or not based on internal experiences, meaning a person’s needs, emotions and cognitions. Getting motivated to do something or not is also affected by the person’s previous experiences. 

There are two types of motivation, extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Let’s learn a little more about each of them. 

What are the types of motivation?

The types of motivations change in one basic aspect, and that is what is the reward you will get from it. When a person has more Extrinsic motivation, it means that they will usually do things to earn a reward or avoid being punished. 

Things that generate Extrinsic motivation are: playing sports for a chance to win something, doing your house chores so your parents won’t get angry with you, or studying to get a good grade.

Intrinsic motivation talks about how a person can motivate themselves to do something because they find it rewarding. It doesn’t have anything to do with external opinions. Examples of intrinsic motivation can be doing a sport because you feel pleasure in it, or studying something about a topic you are curious about.

What is Self-worth

Self-worth is how you measure your value. If a person has a high sense of self-wort they tend to see themselves as worthy of care, joy, and many other positive feelings and emotions. 

When a person has a decreased sense of self-worth, they might feel like they are undesirable, not needed, and that people practically do them a favor by being close to them. 

What is the relationship between motivation and self-worth

When a person has a higher sense of self-worth it might be easier for them to do things for themselves. They understand, respect, and validate their own needs, and don’t expect others’ approval to do what they need or want to. 

But when a person has a decreased sense of self-worth, they might end up doing things for others more than they do for themselves. They assume other people are more worthy than they are, and they might look for approval in doing things for others. 

How can I motivate myself better?

At times it might be hard to motivate yourself to do things for yourself. When that is the case, a person might want to find ways to find the motivation to do things. Let’s discuss some ways for a person to motivate themselves.

Discover why you need to do things

Being in touch with what your values are, what you are expecting of things can be a great motivation. It is what will give you the direction to go. And although this can change over time, having a clear notion of why you are doing what you are doing, can motivate you.

Change how you are doing things

If you have been trying to do something in a particular way, but after some time you realize that it is not working, it can make you lose your motivation. You might feel stuck, and not know what to do. 

But looking at it with a new perspective and allowing yourself to try and do things differently can be a source of renewed motivation. It can take you out of your comfort zone, and make you discover new abilities.

Remember how it feels

When it seems hard to find your motivation, try to remember how good it felt in the past when you accomplished something. Go back on your memory and remember how it felt as you got that good grade in school, or met your friends for a coffee.

Remembering those moments can make you feel good and in that, you might perceive there is a reward to doing the things you need to do.

Just start moving 

When it feels impossible to do a single thing, remember that action usually comes before motivation. Just get up and start doing things slowly. When you are in it, you will usually realize that you got the energy for it.

Connect to good feelings

If you are doing something, it is important to relate it to good feelings. For example, if you need to work out, maybe listening to a song that makes you feel good can make the activity more pleasurable. 

Be your main audience

Remember that all you are doing is for you. Try to move away from what you think expects of you, and focus on pleasing yourself. Through that, you can feel a lot of the weight of doing something going away, and doing things might become easier.

Shy away from the obligation

When you start doing things just because you have to, they become a lot harder to do. Try to focus on why you want to do something, what can come of it, and how goodwill you feel once you are done as a way of motivating yourself.

Change your question

Instead of asking yourself what is wrong with a situation and that you need to do something about it, ask what is right in it and how you can make it even better. This will also reduce the pressure of doing something, making it easier to feel motivated.

The same is said about focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. Find ways to show yourself how you can do things rather than how you are not able to do things.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ): Why is it easier to do things for others than for myself?

What are the three types of Intrinsic motivation?

Intrinsic motivation is divided into 3 other categories. They are autonomy, mastery, and purpose. The first one refers to the person’s ability to have real control over what they want and need to do. 

Mastery speaks about the person’s sense of improvement. Meaning that people want to feel like they are getting better at something. As for purpose, it speaks to the highest level of motivation, it is what makes you get out of bed and do what you want to do. 

What motivates people at work? 

People find many things to motivate them at work, and those might change over time. But people are usually motivated by achievement. These people aim to get to places and usually stick to their plan until they reach it. 

Other people are motivated by power. This doesn’t mean they want to rule everything, but that they are looking for recognition, and maybe be influential in their field. People also look for their work to give them security and stability. People want to have a somewhat predictable life, in which they know what is coming their way.

People look for a sense of belonging in their work life. This means that they want to feel a part of a company, and have good relationships where they are. But not only that, but they also want to learn and experience new things there. 

What is the biggest motivator for humans?

The most powerful motivator for humans is fear. Although it might come as a surprise, it is essentially what made us evolve in the world. Because of the fear of nature’s conditions, humans created villages, started living in communities.

It is usually fear that makes people get out of situations and look for new ones where they don’t feel so afraid or uncomfortable. This is easily relatable. Just consider what caused you to look for a new job or a new relationship. It is usually because you felt that something in the one you had before isn’t working anymore.

Because you might be afraid of being fired, or being dumped. Humans usually take action mostly when there is a negative situation on the horizon. When they feel comfortable, they usually just stay in the place. That is why so many people talk about getting out of their comfort zone. 

How to motivate people with Extrinsic motivation?

To motivate people that usually have more of an Extrinsic motivation, it might be good to find what they respond to. What are ways they feel rewarded and acknowledged? Try to do it mostly through this movement rather than the punishment.

For work matters, having a promotion, or being part of a special team can be a way to motivate them. This will cause them to feel more valuable for the company and the people around them, which can make them work harder to achieve things. 

How to improve my Intrinsic motivation?

The first thing to do is analyze what is motivating you, and what you hope to achieve. Maybe writing it down can be a good way to set your goal and commitment to it. It is also helpful to chase something you like when talking about intrinsic motivation. 

Since the reward is normally your well-being, looking for things you feel good doing can make it easier to motivate yourself without expecting any outside reward. 


The article explained what happens that causes a person to feel more willing to do things for other people than for themselves. It discussed concepts around motivation and self-worth. Along with that, it explained ways a person can try to put more focus on themselves.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write in the section below.



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