Going to go off on a different tack this morning. I said I wanted this to be a blog about how to find our way through to happiness in this overwhelming world. So I wanted to start to share some of the things I have learnt in my life.
Learning #1 – Hold back : Attending to my own needs is ok.
In fact its more than ok – it’s essential. It’s very easy to listen to the demon on my shoulder whispering to me, telling me my needs are somehow less important than those of others. These messages began in childhood, the school bullies, the family members with their own issues, the jealous friends. The self-effacement becomes the easy option, people pleasing becomes a habit. Over time it was who I became, I was simply a reflection of other people’s needs.
My therapist described it as empathy gone mad. So other people’s problems, their issues get absorbed in to my psyche. And if I can’t make them better, well then I’m just a failure, I beat myself up. Even worse, I take on their pain and make myself depressed and anxious. And you know what, for the people closest to me, it leads to co-dependency and stress instead of letting them find their own way. So it’s not actually that kind or empathic after all!
But the last couple of times I have felt it happening I have recognised it, reflected on it and gained insight as a result. I now feel stronger and more peaceful.
So my first learning is to hold back, be kind and supportive but not too kind, not too supportive. Look after myself first. Listen to me and what I need. Tell the demon on my shoulder, the whisper in my head, to just push off BECAUSE I’M BUSY!
More musings later. Need to make myself a cuppa now 🙂