We all did it.
We had that secret sign to our parents that we didn't actually want to do what we were asking their permission for.
And then they were supposed to say "No" so that we could say, "Sorry, my parents said I can't".
Instead of "I don't feel comfortable with that. No thanks."
But now we're in adulthood trying to acknowledge our own needs rather than expecting others to fill them for us.
Because it is necessary for true intimacy and connection which makes the world go 'round!!
It feels amazing to love yourself regardless of what anyone says to disagree.
You get to have your own back to be able to put yourself out there and know you have a safe place when others reject you.
The self-compassion to give yourself the loving place to land when you dare boldly and bomb it big time.
Confidence. Freedom. These are word that my clients have used when they get their taste of vulnerability and the resulting intimacy with themselves.
And then they have it to offer to others.
But we are struggling to take a nap when we need it.
To eat good, healthy food just because we value ourselves so much.
To take time to get outdoors or do that thing that lights us up inside.
To tell ourselves we are doing great regardless of the angry teenager shouting about our many flaws.
To give ourselves the loving glance and wink in the mirror, the hug when life gets hard.
To allow others the responsibilities, anxieties, and struggles that belong to them rather than using it as an opportunity to boost our own self-image.
To receive joy, pleasure, presence, enjoyment without having to prove that we deserve it.
We use some common, socially acceptable ways to disown our wants and desires. and we use others to legitimize them to escape the uncomfortable ownership of just wanting something and claiming it.
But we buy our own lines hook, line, and sinker.
When we say out loud, "I don't have time to take care of myself"
"I can't because my kids (mom, neighbors, etc.) need me"
"I'll ask my husband..."
"It's my job..."
We actually believe this is why we aren't taking care of ourselves and not saying no when we don't actually want to do something.
Or saying yes when we actually do.
When we don't trust ourselves we will get false security by sharing the responsibility for our possibility of failure with someone else like:
My husband. Asking him to validate and give permission for wants and needs. A lot of our husbands totally support us in our desires to get out and do something fun but we hold back.
Personally my husband loves me getting out and doing things with my friends for a couple of reasons. He loves how happy and renewed I come back. He can see the joy on my face and the enthusiasm of my chatter as I share the reports of the views and wildlife and funny moments with my girls. Sometimes just myself.
He also loves that he won't feel as bad when he goes out and does stuff for himself away from the family. Guys are often pretty good at taking time off.
God. Handing our responsibility to care for the gift He gave us....US, LIFE. As if we are playing a game of "warmer, warmer, cooler" rather than supported as agents in our own lives. When we subscribe to this we will use the idea that we will be blessed for our "obedience" in the form self-depravity. Rather than boldly using our ability to choose we put it out there that if we aren't actually choosing, but just following God's will, we will end up okay.
"I'll pray about it" becomes an out for actually saying yes or actually saying no and praying for validation of the way we have used our agency. We are given responsibility to take care of ourselves. It is ours. And God created us for joy. We put our own conditions on joy as if we must deserve it first disregarding the fact that we already do.
We are all free to act and feel and think in whatever ways we choose.
And give those rights and responsibilities away in a hand off if we choose too.
If you find that you are passing the buck.
If you are someone who doesn't feel worthy of taking a break until it is obvious to everyone that may judge you that you need it...
If you are someone that will run yourself into the ground so that you don't feel guilty resting...
If you are someone who defers your own care in favor of taking care of others who are capable of doing so themselves so you won't feel bad or be judged...
If you are someone who may allow yourself to "be at the party" but are the one that just won't enjoy it (there are things to do, others to tend to...)....
Will you consider looking at some of the thoughts that are behind this line of thinking?
The fact is that behind every feeling of guilt there is a thought that invokes guilt.
A belief doesn't mean it is true. It means that it is something that you have thought over and over so often that it has become unconscious.
Become conscious of the thoughts behind guilt, resentment for others who go out and have fun, judgement for others who take care of themselves while you work away, fear of what your family will think if you go out and do something for yourself, worry about how you will be seen by others but mostly seen by yourself.
If you can become aware of those thoughts you can begin to change them into thoughts that serve you to
Be responsible for your choices
Make bold and strong decisions for yourself
Be the one that you belong to so that you can feel safe belonging to others as well
Let go of control and allow yourself to be present
Give out of goodness rather than obligation
Receive pleasure and joy without earning it.
You are already worthy.
You are enough.
Maybe you have the thought, "If I accept myself...if I let go of the reigns...I will lose control. I won't push myself anymore. I will become indulgent and stagnant. I won't like me."
Do you like you now?
This will feel terrifying to those of us who have held tight to those reigns for dear life, busting it out and bringing it in like bosses since about the time of birth.
I am definitely saying "we" because anyone who knows me knows I qualify as a hard core achiever.
But I've also known both sides of the fence now.
Will you trust that there is another way to move forward that doesn't involve pushing, fighting, resisting, beating yourself?
It is showing up for you that is motivated by pure compassion and it feels amazing.
There is so much more energy and love and freedom to move forward when the fear of losing is gone.
It is freedom. And joy.
And when those have a place to land inside you, you can share it so much more generously.
Are you interested?
Watch for next week's blog about the thoughts that create the guilt and fear.
"Only you know your own circumstances, your energy level, the needs of your children, and the emotional demands of your other obligations (I would include YOU as one of those...) Be wise...cherish your agency and don't give it away casually. Don't accept somebody else's interpretation of how you should be spending your time. Make the best decision you can and then evaluate it to see how it works."