Have you ever told yourself a “story” and then later found out that it wasn’t true? You made it up in your mind and really believed it. It may be “He/she is really going to be angry with me or what kind of friend am I or he doesn’t love me.” It is amazing the stories we can make up in our minds. Can you relate?
I am a “recovering people pleaser” also known as a codependent. I sometimes still get triggered, but can usually catch it quickly, and for this I am grateful. Similar to a recovering alcoholic who hasn’t drank in years, he may be in a situation where he is tempted to pick up a drink. I was tempted to pick up an old behavior.
People pleasing was a way of life for me for many years. I put others’ needs before my own at the expense of myself because I thought that was being loving. I was taught that putting my needs first was selfish. I know today that I had it backwards. How could I love another when I didn’t love myself?
I remember years ago when I went out to lunch with a friend it would go something like this. “Where do you want to go for lunch? I don’t care, where do you want to go for lunch?” I may not have even known what I wanted so it was easier to just defer to what they wanted. It was also uncomfortable to have anyone angry at me so I would just go along with what they wanted.
I was given an opportunity this week to see my “story” and choose not to people please, and to put my wants/needs first. My friend and I had made plans to go out for the day, but hadn’t set the time. I wanted to leave at a certain time and she wanted to do something different. Neither was right or wrong, just different preferences. I texted her before I went to bed and said, “Since we are on a different timetable and I don’t want you to feel rushed, why don’t we drive our own cars and meet up when we get there.”
When I woke up the next morning, my “story” started to unfold quite loudly. It was like this inner bully saying, “She’s going to be angry with you that you suggested we take our own cars, what kind of friend are you that you had to leave at that time?” I felt guilty and wrong.
The old people pleasing behaviors were kicking in. Her needs were more important than mine. Feeling guilty is a red flag for me that I am not aligned with Spirit. I was able to recognize old behaviors, change the” story” and tell myself the truth. I hadn’t done anything wrong by speaking up for myself and stating what I wanted to do. After I processed it, I felt relieved, peaceful and back in my power.
What I have learned is that my needs are important and that it is self-care, not selfish. Of course, there are times when I CHOOSE to put another’s needs before my own. The difference is that it is a CHOICE and not out of guilt.
Where I looked “outside” for others to love and approve of me, I now go “inside” and give myself the love, approval and appreciation I deserve.
When I opened her text in the morning and got her message, I laughed at myself for my “story” that she would be angry at me. She responded to my suggestion of taking our own cars with “PERFECT.”
Thank you Spirit for the opportunity to see my growth and to see my “story” that wasn’t true. There is an even deeper “story” that many of us tell ourselves and that is that we are separate from God and we are alone. The truth is we are all connected and we are all ONE.
What is your “story” and is it time to change it?
I often think to myself, “How did I get here and what did I do to attract the desires of my heart?” It’s kind of sobering and wonderful to see the contrast of who I was and who I am today. I was full of fear and focused on others, often at the expense of myself. Some of the things I did to contribute to my well-being was to pray, meditate, show up, forgive, trust, love and accept myself, and have faith in God’s plan for my life. Today, I am living my dream and celebrating who I am and who I am becoming.
In this blog, I will be sharing some of the things I have learned on my journey so far. I believe that everything that has happened in my life has led me to this moment in time and I feel so grateful and blessed. My soul knew the experiences I needed to attract into my life to grow and expand. I may not have thought that when I was going through stressful times, but I know that to be true.
One of the tools I use today that helps me process when something happens that upsets or distresses me is to ask myself some questions.
*What if this experience is exactly what I need to help me grow?
*What if this is my greatest learning and will move me forward?
*What if this experience is a gift and will heal me?
When I ask myself these questions, it kind of takes the punch out of whatever I’m going through and I see it from a higher perspective. I am then able to process my feelings and do what I need to do or not do.
As I looked back over my blogs today, I saw a similar theme running through them and that was the importance of loving and accepting ourselves. When I love, accept, appreciate and respect myself, others will do the same. It has to start with me. I cannot expect others to love, accept and respect me, if I am not doing it for myself.
It is my belief that I teach people how to treat me. If I really embrace this, I can no longer blame others for treating me poorly, abusing me, ignoring me or treating me disrespectfully because I taught them to treat me like this. I didn’t know any better and most of the time I didn’t even know that it was abusive or disrespectful.
How are you being treated in your relationships today? Do you feel loved, accepted, heard and respected? If not, remember it is not the other person’s fault because you have taught them to treat you like this.
As you love, accept and respect yourself, you will teach others how you want to be treated. I know this from personal experience and a lot of practice. I no longer tolerate unacceptable behavior. I have learned to communicate, ask for what I want, speak up, receive, set boundaries and SAY NO – without feeling guilty.
As the holidays approach you may need to practice saying no for your own well-being. When I say no to someone else, I am saying yes to myself. Learning to say no to others and yes to myself has transformed my life and I am living a life like no other.
It is not selfish to say no, but self-caring to say no when you need to. If I’m not sure I want to do something, I always give myself time to go within and see what I want to do. I will say, “Can I get back to you on that in a couple of days?” I do nothing out of the SHOULDS anymore. It takes practice to say no in a way that doesn’t offend someone. I also know that I have the right to change my mind, even at the last minute. Remember no is a complete sentence. But if you need a few suggestions on how to say no, here are some you might try:
- Let me think about it, and I’ll get back to you
- Thank you for asking, but that isn’t going to work for me
- I want to do that, but I’m not available until next week. Will you ask me again then
- I can’t do it, but I know someone who may be able to help you
- None of those dates work for me, but I would love to see you. Send me some more dates
- I can’t put anything else on my calendar this month, but I’d love to do that sometime
- Thanks, I’ll have to pass on that. Say it, then shut up
- I really appreciate you asking me, but my time is already committed
- I wish I could, but it’s just not going to work right now
- I promised my husband I wouldn’t take on any more projects right now
- I appreciate you thinking of me, but I’m afraid I’m already booked that day
- Let me tell you what I can do, then limit the commitment to what is comfortable for you
We are responsible for our lives, our happiness and peace. This is not a dress rehearsal, it’s the real thing. I encourage you to love, accept and appreciate yourself and to live your life like there is no tomorrow. Because the truth is, we are not guaranteed tomorrow, all we have is TODAY. So let’s make a decision to make it the best we can. You are worth it!
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Simply A Woman of Faith
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