It’s time to finally break the cycle
Photo by Kyle Broad on Unsplash
It was one of the lowest points in my life.
I had parked my SUV in an empty parking lot near a train station, and I was lying in the back seat, curled into the fetal position, sobbing. I had my arms wrapped tightly around myself, trying to keep my body from falling apart.
I was an adult at the time, in my late 30’s, and I had gotten myself into a horrible, self-destructive relationship that I couldn’t seem to get myself out of, after several months of trying.
At the time I prided myself on being a strong person. even a smart person. So I couldn’t understand how I had gotten myself so deep into this situation, and why I couldn’t get myself back out.
And the kicker was, I found myself in almost that exact same position again, years later.
I wish I could go back in time to the girl I was then, hold her, and tell her what I know now.
That it wasn’t her fault.
And that she was seeking love and validation from a person who never had the capacity to give it.
At the time I didn’t understand that I was looking for something that I could only get from myself. It was never going to come from someone, or something, outside of me.
Our Childhood Programming
We were all taught how to love from what we experienced while growing up.
Some of us learned how to encourage and nurture.
Some of us learned to stay quiet, or “under the radar”.
Some of us learned how to please others in order to try and control our surroundings.
Some of us learned we had to behave a certain way in order to get the attention or love we craved.
From a young age, we were given a script to follow…’If we were “good”, we got a reward (usually love, attention, or validation). Conversely, If we were “bad”, we got an unwanted result (anger, fear, intimidation).
So we learned to adapt to our surroundings, to read the room. We became masters of manipulation.
Back then we were too young to understand that we could never be truly happy while living out that model.
The good news is, we’re adults now, and it’s entirely possible to re-wire our childhood programming. We didn’t know what we didn’t know back then, but now we do know, and now it’s within our power to change.
Re-Write Your Script
It starts by figuring out what it is we’re looking to get – to feel – from that other person, and asking how we can give that very thing to ourselves.
Are we looking for validation? We can validate ourselves. Sit down at the end of the week, or the end of the day, and write down what you’ve accomplished that you can be proud of. Did you keep our kids alive another day? Feed yourself? Get some sleep? Earn money from a job? Do something you told yourself you’d do? – Acknowledge your accomplishments, big or small.
Are we looking for security? Write down 5 ways you had your own back last week. Did you stand up for yourself on a decision that you made, and stuck to? Have you created a roof over your head? Have you created a reliable income for yourself? Have you said No to something that you truly didn’t want to do? (Hint: If you can’t find 5 ways you had your own back, then write down 5 ways you WILL have your own back for next week).
And the biggest one of all:
Is it love that we’re looking for from someone else? I’m not only going to say we CAN love ourselves, I’m going to implore that we NEED to love ourselves.
We simply cannot get ANYTHING from someone else that we’re not willing to give ourselves. We literally can’t accept it because we don’t believe we deserve it. We’ve been told for too long that it’s something we need to earn.
Love is not something we need to earn.
I’ll say it again for that beautiful woman in the back – LOVE IS NOT SOMETHING WE NEED TO EARN.
It’s inherent, it belongs to every one of us.
But no one can make us believe it if we can’t believe it for ourselves (trust me, I tried for most of my life).
But we’re adults now. We get to write our own script, and it can look like whatever the fuck we want it to.
We can validate ourselves, we can make ourselves feel safe, and we can make ourselves feel loved (okay, now I have that Miley Cyrus song in my head “I can buy myself flowers, write my name in the sand, talk to myself for hours…” you get the idea).
We owe it to ourselves to stop trying to be the someone everyone else needs us to be, and become the someone we were always meant to be.
Discover What’s Possible.