Me! (photoshopped a bit . . .)
One thing I've noticed in my own experience and in the lives of others, is that many us tend to try to get our needs met from the outside in. For me, this has proven to be a painful pattern. What that has meant for me in the past is that I've depended on the attention and actions of others to fill the spaces inside of me. What I learned to do was to either camouflage myself or turn into a chameleon--so I became what I thought others would approve of, like, or accept; this was how I maintained the illusion that I could control others, and this is how I lost sight of myself over and over in relationships. I gave up core parts of myself until there was seemingly nothing left of the real me--in me.
As I write that, it sounds altogether miserable, and it truly is.
Thing is, I didn't know any better until my recent past--I just didn't get that the only way I can fill myself up is with a loving relationship with myself and with my God.
It's funny and strange to "awaken" in my mid-forties only to realize that one of my highest callings in this lifetime is to just be myself, to love myself, and to just be. This has called for some revolutionary changes on my part, and putting myself first has been the most transformational but also the most difficult, especially since I have put others before me for much of my life. This kind of giving, although I didn't know it at the time, was actually motivated by my need for others to need me, like me, approve of me, and depend on me---AND it's not healthy for anyone. But I didn't know . . .
It truly was not in my developmental capacity--until recently. But now I do know, and it's such a relief; the pressure's finally off, with no apologies (although I have had some guilt from time to time about putting myself first).
One of my mentor's once told me that I am the one who can meet my needs with amazing self-care, and I have found that to be so true. That doesn't mean I don't need other people, or that I can live independently, free from relationships. On the contrary! It actually means that my relationship with myself comes first, and then I can freely give to others from my heart with no expectations and with strings attached. One result is that my connections with others have deepened as a result of connecting with my own spirit.
How do connecting with yourself and Spirit deepen your relationships? Share your experience in the blog comments!
Lots of Love!