Yeah, so, I was in the middle of a session with a client and I searched for an example to illustrate a point.
The point I was making had to do with possessing absolutely no value in oneself; feeling a deep sense of attachment and fear of abandonment. I would describe it as people-pleasing on steroids.
We do it as a way to hold on, to make someone like us or love us, to manipulate so he or she owes us. Or to blot out the fear inside we don’t want to face.
As I sat with my client on the phone, an example slapped me upside the head. It was back when I thought it was all about holding onto this person, while really I was screwing myself over.
It was a time when my inner voice was a strangled whisper because I couldn’t hear myself. I wasn’t to be trusted.
It’s been a 360 degree journey away from the identity of pretending to have it together, logically thinking it’s what really mattered, to the present moment of living it from the inside out. My unraveling started back then, and now I was connecting with how lost I’d been.
Currently my client is struggling with feeling she would be abandoned if she stopped pleasing others at her own expense. Her giving isn’t reciprocated and it’s not genuine, but it is how she learned to survive years ago.
I I told her about a guy I was seeing almost 10 years ago. As I relayed the details to her, it shook me. I understood in that moment how far I’d come and how much I really had believed I had no value unless I was doing something for someone else (i.e. pleasing) with a dude who’d already demonstrated his flakiness.
I was deeply attached to this man with off-the-charts chemistry. I thought it was something special, but when you’re looking at someone through 3D glasses, reality is not to be seen!
He called on a Wednesday to let me know he may be tied up that evening… in effect sorta, kinda cancelling our date. I felt that rush of intense anxiety… “NO, NO, NO,” my insides screamed. And I tried to squelch it, but as it drew closer to him calling to let me know for sure, I could focus on nothing else. Time came and went.
Then I started texting. No response.
I called. No response.
Nothing. All night.
Until 1 a.m. when he said he was sorry he couldn’t have let me know sooner.
Told me he’d see me Friday.
As Friday drew closer I was freaking out. I couldn’t bear it if he cancelled again. I was gonna lose it. On Friday I was a bundle of anxiety. Pacing, wondering what to do. Oh! Of course. I need to bake him cookies so he thinks I am the best thing since Donna Reed. And get some champagne too. He’ll never leave. Sigh.
He showed up, but he almost didn’t because he was suffering from anxiety. I figured cookies and sex, how could he resist?
But before we were actually undressed, he told me how he really thought I was great and felt his feelings would grow for me over time. But right now, he just felt blocked in his heart. He felt an old love was still in his heart and therefore, right now, there was no room.
And so I slept with him, of course. Why should that stop me? I was trying to prove something; show him how awesome I was so he wouldn’t leave. And of course totally pleasing him at my own expense. I mean WAY beyond my own expense, as though I had nothing in the bank!
I relayed this story to my client, and as I did, I felt how far I’d come and how it was crystal clear that all the people-pleasing in the world could never make up for the lack inside of me, or keep anyone around.
My client felt it for herself, and so did the client I had after her… and many others I told that story to afterwards. Even though I wanted to cringe, there are so many others who have given themselves away in hopes of something in return.
Many of us have baked cookies for someone who we wanted to fulfill us, hoping that if we were perfect enough, like a trained seal, that person would love us in a way we couldn’t love ourselves.
It doesn’t work that way. Chasing down someone else’s love doesn’t make up for the lack of love inside. Doing for others in the hope of getting something in return (even if it is just them thinkin’ you’re awesome) is never fulfilling, and saying yes when you hould be saying no for your own care will never ever make you feel good. EVER.
Sacrificing to hold on to someone will never bring you the return you hope for, and baking cookies for someone to win them won’t fill that void inside you either.
Bake cookies for yourself first. Then you can share them with someone else.
Go deeper with these related podcasts:
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