Bringing it back to you
Half-asleep this morning I clicked into Pinterest to look for inspiration. The first thing that came up was:
‘You are the greatest expert on you, so why do you crumble when someone comments on you, when they haven’t lived your life?’
This immediately woke me up and got me thinking.
I see many clients who have, what person-centred theory may call ‘an external locus of evaluation.’ Put simply, this means that they locate their sense of worth, positive feelings and happiness in the hands of other people and behave according to how other people expect them to behave. Outsider comments rule them. They dance to the tune of other people, looking for rules on how to live their lives in order to be liked by those outsiders.
If we are the only people who truly know ourselves then why are external opinions so valued to some people?
Let’s consider how this might manifest itself in day to day life:
- You followed a career based upon what your parents wanted for you rather than what YOU wanted for you;
- You have trouble making decisions for yourself and seek guidance from others on a daily basis on the smallest matters;
- That same indecision causes great anxiety for you when bigger decisions need to be made and it can feel overwhelming;
- You have trouble trusting yourself to ‘do the right thing,’ and you feel pressure to not make mistakes;
- Perfectionism proves problematic for you and you get easily annoyed when things go ‘wrong’ for you;
- You fear judgement when mistakes happen;
- You feel pressure to do the same things that your friends do;
- You sacrifice your own morals and ethics to please other people and this causes you discomfort;
- You eat what your partner eats but have totally different tastes to them; you do it to keep the peace;
- You sacrifice your own happiness to please other people, but somehow you still don’t feel fulfilled;
- You are last in the list of your priorities.
How many of these have you said yes to?
The implications of the above mean that some of your thought patterns and habitual behaviours simply aren’t working for you right now and my guess would be that you’ve been feeling unfulfilled, dissatisfied and frustrated for a long time now.
Think about who affects you the most:
- What it is about them?
- What is their relationship to you?
- Do you even like this person on the whole?
Can you think back to when people-pleasing became important to you and why that happened?
Making decisions is an important part of life, and just for example, right now with vague guidelines on our continued restrictions we have to decide: can we return to work, do we feel safe to do so, have employers taken enough precautions for you to return to work etc, the list is a long one and not a straightforward one.
At the heart of it is you, as person. As an individual.
You know if you are fit to return to work
You know if your employer will look after you
You know if you can make arrangements to allow you to work (such as childcare)
You know the answers to lots of questions but if you found there was multiple statements that you said yes to earlier, then any decisions you start to make about going back out into the world are going to seem hard and difficult. Asking questions of yourself, rather than other people can help to build confidence in yourself.
I encourage you to start thinking about what you really want.
I hear many statements on a weekly basis that remove power from that person:
- I can’t change this
- I can’t do that
- I’ll wait for the right time
- It’s too hard right now
- What about who it impacts?
Let’s change these statements to the positives:
I can’t change this yet…I CAN change these things…
I can’t do that yet…I CAN do….
There isn’t a right time to do anything; I CAN do …….in the meantime
It’s a lot to think about right now, I CAN focus on this aspect first…
It will impact others but this is how it is impacting ME, RIGHT NOW…
Changes are little harder right now in lock-down but they are not impossible. Move your evaluation back to yourself and if you catch yourself saying I can’t or notice that your sentences are about other people, make a conscious decision to remind yourself that you matter too.
What do you want today, for you?