January 3, 2014

What to do When We Think There’s Something Wrong with Ourselves.

I was raised to feel I had a lack of love within me.

I was repetitively told something was missing in me, because I did not exhibit the qualities of love that my mother desired from me.

As I grew up, and my mom gave me the silent treatment, hung up on me, disowned me, told how ungrateful, unloving and selfish I was, a huge wall was created within me. I didn’t want to feel anything, because it was all so painful to believe about myself.

I came to understand that I lived with a great deal of rejection for who I was, and why couldn’t I get it right?

So, I set about being super-duper nice to everyone.

I would feel responsible if a relationship fell apart, like I was a bad, unloving, cold jerk. I didn’t like feeling that way, so I would do what I could to revive what had died, chasing that person down, until I ran them over with my love and attention.

I was great at sales, because I wanted to help people and I wanted them to like me too. I was always looking for someone to fill the lack. It never worked, as one can imagine and if anything, I would just berate myself for being completely unworthy. I never felt better, until I started to understand how I sought out people to reject me.

Realizing all the energy I put into showing up, holding on, proving I was worthy of love wore me out. I had to take a deeper look inside and stop analyzing others outside of me. This meant in my intimate relationships, friendships and anyone else in one of my circles.

I had to drop what was so difficult and challenging (because I was trying to prove I was a good person) and instead just be there for myself first.

Chasing anything: people, love, understanding, validation or whatever we push and pull never brings us the results we want. It’s a way of forcing rather than allowing, but for most of us, this going after things is how we were brought up.

Some form of lack is what makes us chase someone. We believe there’s something wrong with us. So what can we do?

  1. Let go of people who are distant, have disappeared or in any way block you and create a deep sense of struggle. Realize you can’t get the validation you want from them and instead focus on validating yourself.
  2. Stop people pleasing behavior. Throwing gifts, affection and other energetic sucking activities at people who don’t want it from you will make you feel better once you stop feeling guilty or bad in conserving that energy for yourself.
  3. Commit to your well-being. Focus on feeling your emotions, all of them. See where you feel the lack, the emptiness, the anxiety and what it tells you. Don’t fill it by chasing; fill it by realizing that awareness of those beliefs is half the battle.
  4. Keep a tab on your thoughts. When a thought comes up with the word “should” attached in the name of another person, ask where the expectation comes from…why must you? And what are you proving by fulfilling the expectation? When the thought comes up, counter it with…when has this fulfilled me in the past?
  5. Look for rejection. Stop enlisting people in your life who readily reject you. It is a vicious cycle proving you are worthy to people who don’t care. Look at how others reject you and that is where you reject yourself. This is where you begin. Start accepting yourself right where you are; know that people who reject you are a mirror to how you see you.

If you start paying attention to these five tips, I guarantee the urge to chase people will drop to an all time low.

When you stop chasing people, even if you’re in a relationship with them, you give space for others to give to you. Part of chasing means we aren’t open to receiving! It’s totally right! Love and what we desire can’t get in, so stop blocking it and wearing yourself out!

Remember the next time you want to over-extend yourself to just stop and create the space, which allows people and love to come to you.

It might be scary or feel uncomfortable (which is great!), but stick with it and you’ll find you have more energy to love yourself too.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Kamil Šmehlík/Pixoto

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