We fear that we’ll somehow revert to complete and utter selfishness and we’ll feel even worse than before we said no. Or we’ve so conditioned the people around us that they expect we’ll cater to them and when we don’t, they freak out. Or we finally say no and then beat ourselves up over the other person’s reaction.
Instead, I propose this: I think that when we honor who we truly are in our relationships, without the guilt, fear, and shame involved in over-giving, we’re infinitely more attractive than when we’re doing anything out of imagined obligation or fear.
I think we believe that we’ll somehow automatically cross over into jerky-bitch territory if we honor ourselves, but this is false. It might take a while for the other people in our lives to catch up and realize that we need to rebalance the scale, but if they truly love and accept us, it won’t be an impossible transition.
When you realize it’s time to honor yourself?
Since it’s so easy to fall into this trap, I created a model, who I like to think of as a version of my higher self. When I notice myself doing things I would rather not or twisting myself around instead of honoring my own needs, I think of her.
She is a strong, gorgeous woman who is known as generous and kind but puts herself first. She knows her worth and takes care of herself in all ways, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
She operates from an internal locus of control. Her basic standard mindset is valuable and worthy. She doesn’t allow other people’s drama to suck her in or make her feel poorly about herself. On the career front, she feels comfortable and safe accepting payment for her labor.
Giving and receiving are safe since she lives outside the realm of fear and guilt. She gives to others only when she truly wants to— and since her own emotional tank is full (she filled it first), this is quite often. She uses the word “no” liberally and appropriately.
As a result of these self-nurturing beliefs and behaviors, she’s free from resentment or anger about her contributions. There are no angry, “why aren’t you giving back?” moments from her since she simply removes, changes, or distances herself from situations and people that aren’t generous or kind to her. She is just as comfortable with receiving as she is giving.
Now, the further away from this higher self avatar that I actually get, the worse I feel—in both my work and personal life. If you’re feeling overextend too, why don’t you create your own version of your higher self?
What does giving to yourself actually feel like?
What does it feel like to honor your own wants first and then have the emotional resources to be generous with others?
What does it feel like to let go of fear and resentment?
Take the time to picture it vividly. Tell me your thoughts in the comment section below.