A few weeks ago I sent my big sister a message about how betrayed I felt by the way an organization had been treating me. I expressed how used I felt and how disappointed I was in the way they had handled everything.
My big sister listened quietly, and then sent me this:
“They used me.” (scratch that)
“I self sacrificed myself so they’d still like me.”
Childhood trauma makes us focus on being accepted rather than being respected.
I sat there and I read and reread that statement.
It was true … I had overextended and stretched myself in hopes that this organization would like me. That they would choose me.
I had sacrificed my self respect and bent over backwards, accepting their unprofessionalism in hopes that they would accept me.
In that instant I felt such freedom and I was able to forgive the organization and myself for the way things had happened.
Cultivating healthy relationships is so important. It is the foundation of building a community or a tribe if you will.
Research has shown that having healthy relationships: reduces stress as the production of cortisol reduces, you heal better when sick, you show healthy behavior, you have a greater sense of purpose and lastly, you live longer.
We weren’t created to live on an island on our own, we were created to have community, to belong, to have fellowship.
How do you have healthy relationships? Whether they are personal or professional?
- Take time to understand what you want, and heal the relationship you have with yourself.
- Learn to communicate effectively with the people around you. Don’t say you are fine when something really bothers you. Use your words to express how you truly feel and listen to understand and not to reply.
- Set healthy personal boundaries.
- Understand your position in that person’s life and respect their boundaries.
- Remember that not everyone needs to like you or be your friend.
Practicing this has helped me to understand where I begin and where other people end.
It has helped me to have deeper, more meaningful relationships.
It wasn’t easy to look at myself and realize that I was operating from a need to be accepted by others, but when I realized what was happening and I actively began to heal, it brought about a sense of freedom I cannot express.
Healing is a journey, be kind to yourself along the way.
Returning to yourself will have its ups and downs, there are still times you get it right and there will be times when you slip into old habits.
That’s ok, the important thing is that you are aware that, in order to have healthy relationships with the people around you, you need to have one with yourself first. You need to accept yourself and love yourself just the way you are.
It’s not about waiting to become that ideal person you have in your mind but it’s about loving yourself in every state along the journey.
As we enter this new month, may you be reminded that you don’t need the whole world to love you or even like you.
Doing something to please others often leaves you feeling used and down.
“I was once afraid of people saying ‘who she thinks she is?’ Now I have the courage to stand and say ‘This is who I am’.”
People will undervalue who you are if you undervalue what you do.
Be proud of who you are, the past is gone, learn from it. For the present is all we have.
“The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”
Note: Not more than yourself…