As a child I withdrew from the world and lived inside myself. This world was safe. There was no one to criticise or humiliate me, no one to judge my behaviour. I was a lonely kid, with one friend or none at any point in time. Relating was difficult because of my self-perception and distorted view of the world. I believed the world was against me.
Outside of myself, Mum and food were my safe places. When I was eating, I found comfort after the challenges of the day. Whether it was imagined or not, I felt misunderstood by and alienated from others.
Looking back, my friends were most likely suffocated by my clinginess. My mindset was: what can I get for me? People and things were a way of getting stuff. And, if that did not happen, I felt hurt and withdrew. Like a vacuum cleaner my method was to suck whatever I needed from others.
Years later and with increased self-awareness, these behaviours have given way to healthier ones. The biggest shift being the move to giving rather than expecting from others. Discovering that I was valuable and therefore had something of value to give was critical to this shift.
Not that receiving from others is bad, but the expectation that I could gain satisfaction from others alone was unhealthy and unsatisfying. This method of seeking external satisfaction was a self-fulfilling prophesy. As I sought to get my needs met through others, my dissatisfaction increased, my self-worth decreased and my core beliefs that I was unworthy, misunderstood and the world was against me were confirmed.
Over the years I have learned the truth in the fact that in giving we also receive. There is greater satisfaction from a mindset of what I can give to others than what I can get from others. As others receive my offering, my positive behaviour is reinforced, and my feelings of worth increase.
That is not to say that everything I offer is accepted and received, but the very act of giving is healing for the soul. As we allow the goodness within ourselves to flow outwards, healing occurs whether it is received or not. It feels good!
Central to this truth is the fact that we are ultimately responsible for our own happiness and it is not until we embrace this that the journey to healing begins. We all have the capacity to give. Each one of us has a gold mine within which has been created though our life experiences and growth.
Which comes first, the belief in oneself or giving to others? I believe they work in tandem. It was both my faint belief in myself and the love from a friend which led to my healing. And the experience of love led to my change in behaviour to giving. The change in focus to the wellbeing of others was healing.
This is a gentle reminder that
· we are enough to satisfy ourselves
· all true transformation begins with self-awareness
· when we express love and compassion toward others, we become alive.
If you are struggling with self-confidence or self-worth, I encourage you to begin the journey outward. One of the many things I did was to volunteer for organisations for whom their purpose was to help those in need. Telephone counselling was a great way of meeting others and sharing the hope I had discovered. Another way for me was to listen to my friends so that I heard their heart.
In love, Jenny