Don’t you hate it when someone says something to you that hurts your feelings, and your entire day is ruined?
Maybe they make a joke about your appearance, or they have an opinion about your parenting style or your work ethic.
Or they offend you with a rude comment.
Or don’t think twice about how utterly selfish and inconsiderate they are, when they expect you to put aside your desires in order to accommodate them.
And then they wonder why you’re unhappy and irritable.
Or why you can’t stop worrying, and can’t relax.
Well, if you would just pick up after yourself…
Or stop treating me like some lowly servant…
Or listen to me for a change instead of burying your head in your phone or talking on and on about yourself…
And stop taking me for granted…
This is what you have to put up with at home, at work, at church, with your friends.
Sure. You’d like to get along with everyone, and you could definitely be more easygoing.
It’s hard though, because you think you’ve picked the wrong partner, or your kids are difficult, or the people you have to deal have no manners or people-skills.
You happen to know quite a few people with personality problems. Serious ones.
At least…that’s what you believe.
But what if I were to tell you that you don’t have to wait ONE MINUTE for anyone in your life to change, step up, or see the light before you can feel good about yourself and your life? You don’t need new friends, new coworkers, or a divorce.
You CAN relax and be a more easygoing, happy person, no matter what kind of people you have in your life.
Have you ever met someone who was a genuinely joyful, self-assured person whom others respected and loved?
What’s their secret?
Is it that they’re “lucky” to be surrounded by kind and considerate people?
So that they’re seldom put-upon, hurt, or offended?
Maybe…or maybe they’re just free from a lot of internal conflict.
You see, the quality of your life isn’t ruled by how well others treat you.
Your strained relationships aren’t to blame for your unhappiness.
On the contrary, what your unhappiness indicates is that you’re in deep, emotional pain, and you either:
don’t know it…
don’t understand it…
or don’t know what to do about it.
Something happens, someone says something, and suddenly your good mood buckles under the weight of guilt, anger, worry, hurt.
You don’t like these feelings—no one does. So you’ll do anything to keep from feeling the full brunt of them.
I call this “self-abandoning.” Self-abandoning means that you’re numbing out in the face of your pain, or denying your pain, or pushing the pain away from yourself.
When you blame others for your unhappiness, you’re self-abandoning because you’re pushing the pain away from yourself AND denying it, too.
You think it’s not YOUR problem. It’s not even YOUR pain, or certainly, you are not the cause of it.
You’re unhappy because your partner is unloving or because your friends and family are uncaring, rude, or clueless. Or that the people you work with are inept.
Your unhappiness is their fault, and all you’re doing is responding to rude, inept, or hurtful people.
So you complain, judge, criticize.
You do this in order to push that pain “out there” and make it someone else’s responsibility.
This becomes one of several dysfunctional ways of dealing with the subconscious, painful feelings that for the most part, you’re either completely unaware that you have, or you don’t fully understand!
What’s worse is that these dysfunctional strategies are keeping you in emotional limbo, because the underlying cause of your pain is never addressed.
So you keep blaming others for “making” you unhappy, and meanwhile, your internal pain gets bigger and stronger.
The deep, emotional pain I’m talking about is rooted in FEAR, and this fear has been with us since childhood.
What do we fear? We fear that at the core, we’re unworthy, unlovable, or fundamentally alone.
We may also fear:
That we’re unimportant.
That we don’t matter.
Or that we have to give up who we are in order to be loved and accepted.
What do these beliefs have in common? These are all false beliefs—things we believe about ourselves that aren’t true, but that cause us emotional distress because we are convinced they’re true.
We formed these beliefs early on by observing our parents, caregivers, teachers, peers—how they treated us, or how they treated themselves or others.
In a way, these beliefs were “programmed” into us growing up.
And by the way, it doesn’t matter how lovely of a childhood you think you had. Each one of us has suffered from internalizing these beliefs in childhood, because no one is perfect.
They may have treated themselves poorly, or developed ways to cope with stress that weren’t healthy.
They may have treated others poorly, or allowed themselves to be treated poorly.
The point is, that as children we didn’t know how to cope with these big, scary feelings that came up whenever we thought we were unlovable or unworthy, so we developed coping strategies in order to feel “safe.”
We numb, deny, distract instead of feeling our feelings and facing our fears.
And as adults, we allow these coping strategies to run our lives.
Which brings me back to your unhappiness with how people treat you.
The way people treat you isn’t the problem.
It’s the way you’re treating yourself.
The way you’re treating yourself is the key to lifelong contentment and inner peace, because it’s the one thing you can do that will change everything about your relationships, the way you feel about yourself and others.
Learn how to treat yourself in a loving, compassionate way and you will thrive in ALL aspects of life.
When you find out what you need to do in order to be more loving with yourself, you will no longer blame others for your unhappiness.
You’ll see their feelings as their responsibility, not yours. This will lessen resentment and guilt.
You’ll be able to express yourself and ask for what you need, because you’ll know your worth.
You won’t hesitate to do things that are in your best interest, because you’ll be self-assured.
You’ll stop saying “yes” to things that don’t make your heart glad, because you’ll no longer be addicted to the approval of others. Which means that you won’t feel resentment about anyone not “stepping up” or feeling like a doormat for others.
Being loving to yourself is miraculous because it resolves so many issues in so many important aspects of life: self-image, parenting, relationships, love, work.
Unfortunately, if you’re like many, you don’t know what it means to be loving to yourself, so instead you keep hanging on to your dysfunctional coping strategies and blaming others for your malaise, and even convincing yourself that these coping strategies ARE loving to you.
But to be loving to yourself in a way that’s healing and not harmful takes knowledge and skill.
And it’s a skill you can learn.
Many people have negative associations with the idea of self love or being loving to yourself.
They think it’s too “out there” and weird. Maybe they imagine it’s about saying affirmations in front of the mirror. That’s not what I’m talking about here—not at all.
Others think being loving to yourself means spending money on stuff or eating a doughnut “because you deserve it.”
That’s not being loving to yourself. That’s just self-indulgence, and it won’t help with your feelings of unhappiness and conflicts with others. Plus, it can get you in debt or make you sick, which will certainly make things worse.
The kind of self love I’m advocating actually heals and transforms the deep, emotional pain you have around feeling unlovable and unworthy, by examining your feelings and false beliefs and then taking action to do what’s in your highest good.
For the past 50 years (yes, 50!), I’ve been teaching individuals how to take action with regard to self love by listening to their inner guidance and taking responsibility for their feelings. When they do so, they stop waiting for others to change and instead, do what’s truly loving for themselves in order to feel happy. They free themselves from the thought that their happiness is dependent on how others treat them.
Now I’ve partnered with Flourish, so I can extend that help and guidance to as many people as possible, since almost everyone can benefit from learning about how to take action on self love.
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You’ve probably heard this before: you can’t change anyone, you can only change yourself.
But the good news is that when you change yourself, everything changes. Your relationships are easier. You’re happier overall. You stop worrying. You achieve what you want to achieve.
It’s miraculous! But it’s completely within your control.
It just takes a willingness to step outside BLAME and step into self love.