Have you ever tried to love someone only to find out that there is no way they are going to allow you in? Do you know someone who seemingly had it all together and then started behaving in ways that destroyed their success? You show me a person who constantly sabotages the relationships that mean the most to them and I will show you a person who doesn’t think they deserve to be loved. That is lack of love for self. Oh yes, maybe they are afraid. Aren’t we all afraid of letting others in? Afraid of letting others be close to us? Aren’t we all afraid that if others find out who we really are they will see that we are a fraud? That we don’t have it all together? That we’ve made mistakes? That we’ll make mistakes again?
“Well if they really knew what I was like deep down, they would run as far away from me a possible.” So we lie. We deflect. We never really ‘show up’ and be present with them and allow them to see our true hearts. Below is an excerpt from an email I received from such a person. This person came to the realization that they had been putting on a ‘false self’ in order to try to make people happy. They have given me full permission to use this…
“I care way too much what everyone thinks of me. I act like I don’t, but I do. It affects everything that I do from counseling to being counseled. From my work life to, and especially in, my home life. With my family and friends and church. I want people to think well of me and I can’t stand when they don’t. I wish I cared less, but the monster in me that craves validation and affirmation is usually too hungry. I do so many things in a way that is rarely “true” and whole hearted. Usually I’m splitting part of my being up and spending energy on trying to present myself in a way that I’m liked.
I hide so many things from so many people. Who could I sit down and be honest with without the total fear that they would leave me and no longer love me. Then I feel as if I’d be ashamed of what everyone thought of me.”
Isn’t that the greatest fear that we all have? That we aren’t worth being loved and that we will be alone because of it. Isn’t this what every child fears on the first day of school? Isn’t this what every middle school child thinks the first time they send that text (or in my day, passed a note)? Isn’t that what adults think when they close themselves off from the one’s that love them most, engage in sabotaging behavior, and refuse to let love in?
It is hard to show our true selves. And where do we start? I think we start by realizing that we are hiding in the first place. Getting honest with ourselves first. Asking solid questions like, ‘am I a people pleaser?’ ‘Do I craft my life in a way to present myself to people in order to be liked?’
How do we move past trying to please people in order to soothe the fear that we won’t be liked? By believing we are worth being loved. Another way to say that is to love yourself. Value yourself. Believe that you truly do deserve to be loved and that you have something to offer other people that no one else can… yourself. If you love and value yourself, you won’t let yourself hide. You won’t let yourself sabotage relationships either. So how about it? Are you hiding? Are you sabotaging yourself and your relationships?