The four years before I launched my business, I created a plan that would get it all rolling within three months. I also had a plan that would take me through the following nine months and generate enough income that would sustain my business. I even had investors lined up to help with that initial launch. I would dream about what it would be like to do the things I loved the most while having the freedom to create my own schedule and generate an income that could support me and my family. I created this plan within a matter of one month. I then spent the next four years coming up with any excuse to NOT launch that plan. I was terrified.
My most memorable wrestling match in high school was against the toughest kid I had ever met. This guy had muscles growing on top of his muscles. Before the match, he was across the gymnasium, mouthing curse words that I hadn’t even heard before. I was intimidated. But something in me snapped in that moment and I realized that there was every possibility in the world that my best was good enough.
I used to be the biggest cynic. It’s true. As a child I was always playing and using my imagination, but rarely was I ‘care-free’. I always saw what could go wrong and I expected it. I didn’t call myself ‘cynical’. Seriously, who ever wants to be known as a glass is half empty kind of person? But that’s what I was. I thought it meant that I was smart. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Q: Brad, I just wanted to say that I loved your post today, 'a boy and a girl.' I think it's really relevant for my own struggles and anxieties. But something I've always struggled with when it comes to valuing myself and being okay with myself, is how do I do that when there is still so much room for improvement? Where's the line between complacency and that freedom with loving yourself for who you are? I’m asked some variation of this question more than any other. The question goes something like this, "But if I love and accept myself just as I am, what would motivate me to change and continue to better myself?" The answer is within the question itself: nothing will motivate us to change more than the love we have for ourselves. If we love ourselves we want the best for ourselves. We will begin to make decisions that are healthy for us because we believe we deserve to live a higher quality of life. We care more about our long-term well being than instant gratification. We don't become arrogant because we know that leads to all kinds of problems and isn’t a loving attitude towards our selves or others. Also, our desire to help others increases because we know that there is some type of peace that only comes from giving of ourselves to others. When we have abundance from God within ourselves and we care for ourselves, we actually have more to offer others.
Conversely, if we don't love ourselves, we won't be able to love others all that well. Take Jesus' famous words in Matthew 25... "love your neighbor as yourself." If you don't love yourself well, then to love your neighbor as you love yourself will result in poor and unhealthy gestures. We see this all the time in unhealthy codependent relationships.
Or, this example: how many people do you know that are just kind of mean; they don't treat people well and they consistently are selfish? If you look closely you'll see that deep down, they despise themselves. If you look often enough at these types of people, it becomes obvious who does and doesn't care for themselves all that much.
The father that beats his wife and children, that guy totally hates himself but often feels powerless over his compulsion to take it out on others, or worse, isn't even aware that he despises himself.
Or, the people who really hate gay people, the ones who spew vitriol publicly against them. It’s funny how sometimes we find out that they were having closet homosexual encounters all along. They hated something about themselves and publicly took it out on others.
But if you love yourself, I mean truly accept yourself just where you are, you feel compelled to grow.
Finally, I believe we are called to become more like the Divine... to love like the Divine loves. The next logical conclusion then is that we should also love ourselves the way God loves us. That's a love that accepts us no matter how many times we return to ______________. (whatever self destructive behavior we feel powerless to rid ourselves of).
The Divine loves us right where we are... and that often moves us so deeply that we want to respond with love and healthy choices.
In short, love for our selves rarely leaves room for complacency. Love for your self has more motivational power than shame, guilt, or despising your self. That’s why white-knuckling addiction isn’t sustainable. You have to love yourself past the point of thinking you deserve a miserable life.
The best mentor I’ve ever had recently shared some basic truth. “Knowledge without Action = Nothing”. That about says it all in terms of personal and spiritual growth. It sums it up in terms of success and relationships too. I can’t emphasize enough, the importance of action and movement in our lives. So often we attend a seminar, read a book, watch an inspiring video or listen to a podcast and are inspired to make changes. But then most of the time we fail to act.
I think that because we feel so inspired at times we feel like we have to make massive change immediately. But the desire to make massive change can often become the very paralyzing factor keeping us in the same place. We feel like we need to meditate and plan and motivate ourselves for this massive effort that we want to enact. But this sense of being overwhelmed can keep us paralyzed and unable to move at all.
So here’s my advice…
Do something! Do anything! Make motion in your life! Move! Take the tiniest step in the direction you desire to head! There is a difference between knowledge and application. Knowledge is having information… application is taking knowledge and information and using it to better and deepen your life. Knowledge is about sitting, application happens only when we are in motion.
The first thing I do when I get out of bed each morning is make my bed. Now, you may be thinking ‘whoopty doo Bradley’. Well thank you, because it actually is a big ‘whoopty doo’. It’s not that my mom or anyone else for that matter is going to be pleased because I’ve made my bed. But I’ve started my day with action. I’ve proved that I have already made a choice within moments of starting my day that I am in motion. Not to mention, that when I do the simplest thing in the world, making my bed, my most intimate living space has a sense of order and progress. Also, when my bed’s made, my room feels like it’s halfway cleaned. This also helps me create momentum that carries over into every other area of my life.
It’s a feeling. Feelings are powerful. Feelings are experienced not only in our hearts and heads, but in our bodies as well. This isn’t a hunch on my part; it’s a scientific fact. Now I know that my bed physically only takes up 15% of my bedroom. But emotionally it feels like I’m halfway there to keeping my room clean and in order. And if my room is in order I have another feeling. Freedom. Freedom to create and freedom to dream. I have a difficult time dreaming about my life and how I want to live into my purpose and a hard time in the creative process if my room is a mess. Do you see how powerful one small action can be for my personal relationships, business, creative world and much more?
What is something that you’ve recently learned but have yet to apply to your life? What are some tiny but significant ways in which you can put that knowledge into action? What’s one small thing you can do as soon as you’re done reading this that will create momentum in your life?
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"Do you want to know who you are? Don't ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you." - Thomas Jefferson
"Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often." - Mark Twain
"If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum." - Holly Near
Everyone has a recurring thought… or two… or thousands. Similar thoughts bind together after being laid one on top of the other over the years to form a strong belief system. The incredible thing about belief systems is that they serve as a map to interpret the world around us, including our place in the world, and have the incredible power to shape our decisions in life. The power of a strongly held belief has exponential implications for the life of an individual and a community. Take Vera for example. She is in her late twenties and has come to believe that… “I’m just not that smart.” Why does she believe this? Why does she choose to see herself this way? If you asked her she would tell you that it’s mere fact. She never excelled in academics and was always in the middle to lower end of her class in terms of performance. She would tell you that there are certain books she just shouldn’t waste her time reading because there are some concepts that are ‘beyond’ her scope. With this belief entrenched in Vera’s mind, emotions and body, she limits her potential career opportunities, relationship dynamics, and possibility for growth in almost every area of her life. Exponential implications.
But if you press the question ‘why do you believe this’, there are all sorts of alternative possibilities to the opinion that she holds to so firmly.
Is it possible that Vera had an incredibly negative experience with an educator at an early age and always associated emotionally negative feelings with school, in turn tainting her desire to study or learn in that environment? Is it possible that one or both of her parents sent her the message that ‘no one in our family is all that smart and that’s just fine with us because no one likes a know-it-all.’ Could it be that different people learn and grow intellectually in various ways and the particular methods in which Vera is challenged intellectually were never afforded her along her educational path? Is it possible that the structure of western education is so focused on conformity to specific methods of education that often those who don’t conform as well to these methods are improperly labeled or mistakenly diagnosed with a disability? How many times would a young, impressionable mind have to be told this by an authority figure before they owned it as truth?
There are so many variations of these restricting views of ourselves that we tend to accept as fact, when in all likelihood, they are just opinions formed over time. Thoughts that we bought into enough times that they grew into a belief system, which we now whole-heartedly subscribe to.
I’m no good at math.
I can’t write to save my life.
I just can’t stop myself from eating.
I am not very coordinated.
My brother is the creative one.
I’m incapable of getting organized.
I can’t follow through on things.
I don’t have what it takes.
I’m not a good communicator.
I’m terrible at relationships and always will be.
Today I just want to call to your attention that there may be some beliefs you hold as truth about yourself and they are limiting you. Further, these beliefs aren’t based on reality, but are based on the collection of some data you’ve incorrectly extrapolated from some recurring experiences in your past. I would like you to list 3 beliefs you’ve held onto for almost as long as you can remember that you know limit you. And ask this question about each of of the beliefs you’ve listed… “Is it possible that it isn’t true?”
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____________________________________________________________________________ "Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives."
"What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are." - Anthony Robbins
"Truth lives, in fact, for the most part on a credit system. Our thoughts and beliefs pass, so long as nothing challenges them, just as bank-notes pass so long as nobody refuses them." - William James
“Never limit your view of life by any past experience” - Ernest Holmes
Sometimes people say that “youth is wasted on the young.” I don’t know that I agree with that, but I can tell you that youth is wasted on the drugged-up young: I was one of them. I lived a very different life when I was in my mid twenties. I blinded my heart and dulled my emotions with substance abuse on a daily basis. Getting high wasn’t about the high. The only place I sought to find my value and worth was with validation from women. Cocaine gave me the energy I needed to be at the party, no matter how long the party lasted. I believed that if somebody wanted to be with me, even if for only a night, it was better than not being wanted at all. And if I could say "at least she wants to be with me right now" (whoever she was that I ended up with that night)... well that meant something. A lot of people don’t realize how much money you can make dealing drugs. Managing that money well, however, is a completely different story. I did work in several bars, which enabled me to sell more drugs and hang out with my friends at the same time.
Believe it or not, I was working on my Masters of Divinity at the time. I was the rare combination… Drug Dealer and Seminary Student. You don’t see a lot of people selling coke and working on a Masters of Divinity together, and for good reason. It doesn’t work. Even as I studied scripture and theology, I lied, cheated and stole. This powerful hypocrisy lead me to hurt the people I cared about most in my life.
I was completely disconnected from my God, I had no sense of worth or value, and I was as lost in depression as I could ever possibly be. And the shame that came along with knowing that I was where I was in life because of the choices I made was like walking around with the rotting carcass of a two ton elephant strapped to my back.
Interestingly enough, this behavior is not uncommon. It’s almost cliché, except for the fact that it was my life and for the most part, I felt like I could not escape. I don't tell you this to glamorize my life story, far from it. I believed I was a loser, that I deserved that life, and that I would be dead by thirty. One afternoon while I was taking a shower I collapsed to the bottom of my bathtub, weeping and crying out to my God for help. When I emerged from the water and steam filled bathroom, I was determined to come up with a plan and execute it at any cost. Four months later I sold everything, except what I could fit into my Toyota Camry, and drove across the country to crash at my parents house for about a year.
What I wasn’t aware of at the time was that I had the choice to change my life, every moment of every day. Even though I was in a living hell, the fear of change was more powerful than the pain that I had created… until it wasn’t. However, even after months of the brilliant clarity that came with sobriety, there were days that I wanted to return to that lifestyle because it was comfortable. I may have been messed up and completely self-destructive, but at least I knew how to handle life in that mode. As a sober person, everything was new and brought with it a sense of intense fear. The simplest of tasks, like scheduling appointments on a calendar seemed like it took the energy of escaping the Earth’s gravitational pull.
Every day was a choice. Connect with my God, get centered, and choose a new way, or return to where I had come from. Sixteen years later and I don’t know how to express in writing how rewarding it is to have stayed the course. The only thing that comes to mind is to say the names of my two little girls and maybe you might be able to recognize what is wrapped up in this imagery. Life.
Today I value myself; connect with the Divine hourly; have deep and meaningful relationships with the most rewarding friends a guy could have; and know my purpose, as my life and income are wed to helping others make their own changes, discover work that matters and learn to love themselves. I still make mistakes, but I’ve learned how to process through them in a healthy manner. Living an extraordinary life isn’t a one time decision. It’s a choice that’s made every single morning followed by action steps that back up that choice like powerful punches landing on the jaw of ‘the comfortable’.
Maybe you want someone else to make you feel better about yourself. Maybe you are at the end of your rope and feel like you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell. You do. Today you have the most power you will ever have… the power of a choice. Maybe you begin exercising the power of that choice with a simple prayer asking for help.
It could be that you’ve never been to those depths, but at some point you decided that you wanted a better life for yourself, one with purpose and meaning that energizes and compels you. Now you’re wondering why things haven’t changed yet. Is it possible that you’ve forgotten that living a meaningful life is a choice one must make everyday? It doesn’t take a new year to make changes, just a choice.
When you woke up this morning, what did you choose? If it wasn’t clear, concise, and followed by actions, chances are high that it wasn’t an empowering choice. Here’s another cliché for you… thinking you’re not making a choice is most certainly a choice.
If you are interested in subscribing to the mailing list and receiving these via email, simply click under ‘subscribe to the mailing list’. _______________________________________________________________________________________ "The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time." - Abraham Lincoln
"This is as true in everyday life as it is in battle: we are given one life and the decision is ours whether to wait for circumstances to make up our mind, or whether to act, and in acting, to live." - Omar Bradley
"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom." - Viktor Frankl
Special thanks to Mike McHargue for an open conversation and help in refining this piece
The five words that changed my life. Ironically, I was the one who uttered them to myself. That’s right, I talk to myself. So do you. My story is a familiar one. I didn’t have the first clue about valuing myself or loving myself and for the longest time, I had no idea that was a problem. I had a great childhood. I still have the most incredible parents when it comes to feeling loved and cared for. In very concrete ways they expressed their love for me since before I can remember. I’ve always just known their love. I grew up in an incredible community and was involved with some wonderful people through my entire childhood and into college. I share that so you can be aware that even people with the healthiest of upbringings have major struggles with insecurities and negative thought patterns. I used to think that I was the only one. Now I know I’m like every other person on the planet. Several years ago, when I hired a mentor, I knew that there were things in life that I wasn’t able to figure out and I knew I needed help. Insecurities and limiting beliefs, attached to things like fear of loneliness, finances, my own sense of worth, and intelligence, had been haunting me since I was an adolescent. But I didn’t know how to deal with them. So I found a mentor I trusted and that I knew had turned things around in his own life. His name is Mastin Kipp. I had taken a couple courses from Mastin online and I had quickly begun to build a rapport with him. We had similar stories, which helped with my trust.
When I first starting working with Mastin, he began describing exercises intended to help with learning to love myself. At first I thought they were absurd. Mirror work. Self-affirmation sentences. Telling myself that I loved myself whenever I felt a sense of shame for making a mistake. One morning while I was alone and practicing these exercises, I said out loud, with a heavy dose of jaded arrogance, “this is TOTAL HOGWASH!” (ok maybe I used a stronger description). What I said to myself next surprised me.
“How’s that working for you?” I was stunned. I couldn’t remember the last time I was content. Thinking the way I had been thinking for so many years had led me to this point. How was that working for me? Not well at all. I realized that I needed to make some major changes, but I didn’t know what. So, even though it went against everything within me, I decided to give these exercises a chance. Slowly, after practicing these exercises, I began to notice a difference in my overall thought patterns and demeanor. I had once prided myself on being an over-analytical perfectionist and cynic. But along the way, I stopped identifying with those characteristics. I didn’t know how it worked scientifically, but I saw the evidence. As my friend Mike told me, “you don’t have to know how an engine and transmission work in order to drive your car.” Mike's one of the most intelligent people I know and so I asked him to explain it to me. He's great at breaking down complex matter into laymen's terminology. So he did.
The most ancient part of the human brain is the limbic system. Our feelings of fear, anger, and aggression originate there. The limbic system is fast and ruthless, and we’ve used it for survival for as long as we’ve been around. Thanks to its speed and efficiency, the limbic system can make judgments and decisions much faster than the newer hardware in our heads. Our brains are like a muscle–what we use most gets strongest. Negative, critical, fearful or aggressive thinking tends to strengthen the response of our limbic system in our daily living.
More recent structures in human brains like the neocortex and the anterior cingulate cortex are the parts of our brains that produce love, compassion, and empathy. If you focus on those types of thoughts, you will enhance the neural circuits in the prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex and it encourages your brain to support that way of thinking. Intentional focus toward these kinds of thoughts has been clearly demonstrated to have helpful physiological and psychological benefits. You can actually begin to find your identity in those thoughts and feelings.
Why do I tell you all of this? Simple. Maybe you’re like me. Maybe my story resonates with you on some level. Maybe you’re tired of being cynical, judgmental, critical of yourself, and influenced in major ways by your insecurities. Maybe you know you need to value yourself and love yourself more but you just don't know how. Maybe when you hear me always talking about loving yourself, accepting yourself, and sharing practical ways to begin to do this, you are skeptical. Maybe you also think that doing any kind of ‘positive’ mental and emotional exercise is too ‘Stuart Smalley-ish’ for you. Maybe you think that is too 'touchy feely' could never work. Maybe you’re thinking, ‘I’ll just stick with what I know.’
Well let me ask you, with the most sincere and humble of intentions, how’s that working for you?
I speak in public all the time. It’s the nature of almost every job I’ve had as an adult. I’ve spoken all around the world to all sizes and types of groups. It really does come naturally to me and its one of the few things that I know I do well. I’ve spoken at sales conventions, camps, churches, masques, music festivals, art festivals, retreats, conventions, etc. I absolutely love it. I am not an accomplished artist, lyricist, musician, athlete, or sales person. But put me in front of a crowd with a purpose and a vision to share, and I will go to town. One of the things that I’ve realized about myself because of this is that my views and thoughts are constantly being formed. If I spoke on a topic tomorrow, that I know I spoke about 2 years ago, those two speeches might be completely different. In fact, I may even contradict tomorrow, something I said 2 years ago. That’s because I grow and change. We all grow and change. It isn’t just me. That’s the nature of being human. If we are constantly learning, reading and experiencing, then what we believed and lived yesterday won’t necessarily be the same as tomorrow’s beliefs and experiences.
Some core matters and beliefs may stay the same. And some core matters and beliefs very well may be transformed. You can see this growth and transformation in almost every author, songwriter, actor, businessperson, artist, etc. Even in the scriptures you can look at the apostle Paul’s early writings and see how his thoughts and beliefs have changed and expanded compared to his later writings.
This kind of change can really freak people out. They begin to wonder if the life they lived yesterday is somehow less valuable because they lived by a different standard or a different set of values and beliefs than they do now. They may have enormous inner turmoil because they no longer have the same paradigms that they learned growing up. This can also lead to a crisis in which they believe that there is something wrong with them because they have changed over the years. This kind of subtle inner struggle can wreak havoc on someone’s life in subversive ways.
But if you simply acknowledge that we all change and we all grow, and that change and growth is a good thing, then there is peace to be had. You can begin to affirm and ‘own’ your growth and transformation. It may feel like your in new waters and that can be extremely frightening. That’s because as we grow, we are always taking risks. When you learn something new, occasionally you can feel like it changes everything. And when you’re comfortable with the way things were, it is scary to face the world with new eyes. But with new eyes comes fresh perspective.
So let yourself be you. Welcome the change and welcome the growth. Stop the inner turmoil that comes with thinking that you always have to stay the same and always believe the same things. It’s just not how growth and health works.
What are some things that have changed for you? What beliefs did you once hold so dearly that now you realize you need to release and let go so that you can live into what you truly believe?
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ― Anais Nin
"Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential." ― Bruce Lee
“Often, it’s not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.” ― Heath L Buckmaster
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.” - Steven Pressfield. I’ve found this to be as true as anything in my life. Fear can be one of our truest compasses. That thing that makes us most uncomfortable, often times, is the thing we may need to run towards and embrace.
When was the last time doing the comfortable thing inspired anyone?
Comfortable is good for times of rest. And some of us desperately need some rest. But comfort is only meant for a little while, from time to time. Then we must look again to what scares us and head directly towards it.
Some will tell you that you should rid yourself of all fear. I think that is a sure way to repress your true feelings. Others will tell you to use fear as a motivation. It is a powerful motivation, sure enough. But I would rather use fear as a compass.
It scares you to death to leave your current profession and pursue your heart’s calling? That’s a sure sign that that is the direction for you. It makes your heart race and paralyzes you to even consider sharing your darkest secret with a trusted friend? You can know that that is the way to freedom. The thought of speaking up and telling those in authority over you that you disagree with them causes you to panic? It’s probably time to exercise your vocal chords. And so on, and so forth.
I don’t think its really a question of how much courage do you have to face your fears or to allow yourself to be uncomfortable. I think its more a question of, “how bad do you want to live a full and meaningful life?” If the desire for a full and meaning is there and if it runs deep, then chances are you won’t allow your fears to keep you at bay.
Instead you’ll use what scares you as a compass and know with certainty the directions you need to pursue. So how bad do you want it? What is it worth to you to live a full and meaningful life?
For a long time I’ve known that one of my next steps is to take on more clients as a mentor. I have all kinds of doubts and fears about that. Do I know enough? Can I sustain that kind of career long term? Do I want to leave the comfort of a steady paycheck for a riskier endeavor, even though the ceiling is much higher fiscally, the freedom is greater and it aligns more with my purpose. But the more I realize how scared I am of taking that risk, the more I realize the direction I need to go. It confirms my hearts true desires.
And I want to live a full and meaningful life. How about you? What scary thing do you need to move towards? What risk do you need to take? What person do you need to? What decision do you already know you need to make in order to have a more full and meaningful life?
Doing the work is rarely sexy, but it has teeth. Many people have talked about what it means to ‘do the work’. When we talk about ‘work’ we are talking about so much more than you ‘job’. The work is anything that needs to get done, by you, in order to move from where we are to where we want to be. And its rarely easy. The work is rarely glamorous but it moves us forward.
Work takes discipline. Work takes energy.
Work means changing your schedule and getting up early doing the cardio routine you don't want to do. It means sitting down to write the pages you don't feel like writing. It’s having the difficult conversations that you just don’t want to have.
Work means making difficult choices. It often times means simplifying and sacrificing now for something greater in the end. You can tell who does the work. They are the ones who began living their lives on their terms and they haven’t regretted it for a moment.
Work means saying no to so many other things so that you can say yes to the things you truly want. And those things that you say no to immediately often times make us feel better right away but leave us wanting and far from our goals.
Work means keeping an open heart when all you want to do is close down. Work means being vulnerable when all you want to do is hide.
Work often means ignoring the criticism of others and not pleasing the masses. Work can often times feels lonely even though it isn't.
Work usually happens in the midst of crippling fear, not without it. It means moving forward with the plan even when we're scared to death of being rejected, failing, or more likely... scared of succeeding.
This is why it's called work. But doing the work makes all the difference. It allows us to sleep at night with a clear head. You already know it but I'm going to say it anyways. Nothing comes easy. But all things are possible, with the Divine and some work.
If you've done any self-reflecting, you probably are aware of some of the work in your life that you need to do. Now get to work.
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?