3) Confront the rigid rules you follow in your life.
You’ve been following rules for a long time, rules about how and when and where you can act. It’s time to challenge those rules. These are the shoulds, the musts, the have to’s, the nevers in your life. And there are probably a bunch of them.
For example, “Your needs must never come first. That’s selfish.” Realize that you’re human just like everyone else, so you get tired and used up; you need support yourself. That’s not selfishness, it’s self-awareness and allows you to recharge.
4) Connect with painful feelings, like anger or sadness.
I’ve had many people tell me, “If I start talking about what I am sad (or angry) about, the pain will never end. It will suck me under.”
It’s too frightening to emotionally go there. Or perhaps you don’t even know how. You’ve been so shut off from your feelings for so long, feeling sad feels impossible. It does take time, patience, and self-compassion.
There is frequently something in your personal history that got all this started. You adapted. But now, that original trauma or dynamic that created the need to hide needs to be identified, talked about, and worked through gently and compassionately. That may take some time and working with a therapist might be in order.
5) Grow into change and seek true emotional intimacy.
You can learn to find your strength in opening up about who you are to others and from seeking intimacy through that openness. Those who love you may have been concerned about how much you take on, or how you never seem to flinch. Yet others may have counted on you not to or need to look perfect themselves. The second pattern can be a problem in taking the risks that lead to change.
So you have to assess your relationships for their safety and choose to feed those that support you in your newfound openness and vulnerability.
Taking these steps is more than worth it. Simply but honestly put – they may save your life.
Written By Margaret Rutherford Originally Appeared On Dr. Margaret Rutherford