Ok ok, let me start by saying, those of you who looked at the title and your mind went to the gutter… This is NOT the ‘self-love’ that you do on one of those lonely Friday nights whilst you’re home alone with your only company being an x rated website… This is not that at all! So now that’s cleared up lets move on…
This is the self love that is all about honouring your own values, happiness and simply yourself in general!
A little more about my journey, for as long as I can remember I have been a ‘people pleaser’ always making sure that people liked me and if they didn’t like me I’d to some degree do what I can to prove their thoughts wrong.
Who can relate?
Personally I have NO idea where this way of being stems from, perhaps when I was a kid my Dad told me off for something and then on another occasion I got praised for something else and decided that was how I wanted all my interactions. So speculating on that, I perhaps made a sub conscious decision to ensure I did anything I could to get a positive reaction from the people I interacted with.
Plus at the core of all of us we desire acceptance, we desire to fit in, for people to honour us and respect us. So maybe that is where this programming comes from.
For me, this way of being like many has 2 sides to it. The first side is that I have the ability to communicate and connect with almost anyone, how? Because what I have noticed is that in the past I would gauge the persons reactions to the words I was saying almost instantly as I was saying them. An art that did serve me well at times as I stood at the front door of a nightclub as the head doorman (security), sure in these situations it allowed me on many occasions to defuse a situation before it escalated. Whether it was a bikie or a drunk Irishman, which to this day I still have no real idea what he was saying… haha But either way this ‘skill’ serves me well in this environment.
The flip side of this is the part where I have on countless times ‘thrown myself under the bus’, I’m sure other people pleaser’s can relate. You know that time when someone asks you to help them and you’re internally thinking “Oh I really wanted to do such and such today.” But yet your external voices says “Yeah sure, I’m happy to help.” It’s in times like this that I’ve come to realise why I would be left feeling lost and confused.
At my core I have a burning desire to help anyone and everyone, I believe I have a diverse array of skill sets that can bring value to most people and I do believe in sharing these skills where I can.
But in so many times as I said I’d help someone and I’d then be left feeling lost and empty but not knowing why. So of course on my self discovery journey I started to look into these situations and the results were hard to swallow at first.
I found out that I would say yes to helping someone as it validated my internal ‘need to be wanted’… OUCH! I mean that is a miss guided and lonely pill to swallow.
I mean from the outside many may see me as someone who is always social out going and perhaps someone who has ‘got it all together’ but in reality one of my most prominent ways of operating stemmed from a level of loneliness / the desire to be wanted.
“As I write these words right now, I am present to the fact that these are thoughts of mine that I’ve only shared with 1 or 2 people in my life. But I know, like every other venerable authentic information that I’ve shared about myself that there is someone out there that is going down the same road. And I share this information to bring some guidance and light to that persons journey. “
From this way of being I can recall many times were my willingness to help has been taken advantage of or when I’ve had friends say to me ‘Brett, you’re just too nice!’ and for so long I looked upon these words as being a negative thing.
I tried to be harder, I tried to be more of an ‘asshole’ but where I always ended up was back to my home, my kind caring nature. These masks that I put on from time to time would run out of energy they and the day would come when I’d wake up, realised I’ve been in authentic to myself and come back to just being me.
So in the end I decided ‘Ok, I know that I’m kind caring and that at my core all I want to do is help people, plus I’ve been told countless times I’m too nice. You know what, that IS who I am, there is nothing wrong with that. So many people tell me it’s a bad thing BUT you know what! I’m going to embrace it and turn it into my strength!’
The art of self-love is not an easy one, there will be things you must confront in order to come back to the place where you love who you are, where you embrace yourself and you stand tall in your uniqueness.
For me now, I an aware of this way I used to be and I now ask myself before I do something (well at least 90% of the time) ‘Is ______ (what ever the task) what I REALLY want to do? Or am I doing it just to please someone else?’ And sure there are times where I acknowledge that the choice I’m making is to please someone else and I’m ok with that because I still made the choice consciously. It’s when you unconsciously make the decision then ‘wake up’ half way through the task and think ‘Fk I did it again.’
So next time you feel flat, disheartened or undervalued after helping someone don’t look to them for the answer, look within and find out what is the space you were operating from? What internal reality were you validating by saying yes to helping?
Once you become aware of this, you can then start to honour your own beliefs and self as you move through life. This way you are left feeling whole and complete which means you can give more of yourself to the world in the way that serves you the most!