I'm going to be completely honest with you here. I have spent much of my life honouring martyrdom and it's got me into more emotional pickles than I cared to admit - until now.
Last week I was feeling particularly exhausted and overwhelmed and I couldn't figure out what it was about. So, I called my trusty therapist who knows me inside out, because I'm finally learning to ask for help when I need it!
Here's what I learned that day:
I have spent countless hours trying to make sure everyone else's needs feel validated. Why? Because I love to uplift people. I love to make people feel better. I love to please others (hello emotional trap!). I love to make the world a pretty place. Most of all, I want people to like me ... and it was wearing me to shreds.
I have spent countless hours keeping my own needs in the shadows, desperately fearful of hurting others' feelings and 'putting them out' by stating what I needed. So, I'd keep them at bay and find all the excuses under the sun why others' needs were more important than mine.
This is why I'm so expressive and free in my Art - it was my safe place to be ME.
Occasionally over the years, I would work up the courage to speak about my needs - BUT - I'd timidly put them forth as negotiable WANTS (e.g. I am utterly exhausted, Hubby, from working 2 jobs and being a Mumma. Can you unpack the dishwasher from now on to help me out?)
If my Hubby even tethered towards a 'No', I would get all upset at him and feel completely deflated, unsupported and even more overwhelmed ...not to mention naggy and resentful! Why? Because I have always thought I needed approval before my needs were valid enough to be met.
So, Hubby would be in the dog house until he was nagged into submission and then I'd feel good that he was finally acquiescing to my needs. 'He must 'get it' now', I thought. 'Now my needs are finally being validated!'
... But guess who's approval was missing? Mine!
Now that I've realised this is my pattern, I can make steps to change. My healing begins with me.
It's slowly sinking in and feeling more and more true every day. But it's not enough to read it, or just say it in my head. I'm ready to integrate it.
Last week, I wrote down my non-negotiable needs for 2014.
This simple act of writing MY NON-NEGOTIABLE NEEDS down has had such an incredible impact on me. I feel more powerful. I feel more confident in backing myself. And I feel more validated than ever, ever before. Because I'm calling the shots on what's best for me, I'm not relying on others to make it okay.
When I write MY NEEDS down, I can't hide from them anymore.
When I make MY NEEDS known, I can live up to them.
Honouring MY NEEDS is equivalent to acting in my own very best interests.
This is now I tool I can use when I make my decisions, or when others make requests of me. I can check first if my actions align with MY NEEDS, before I commit myself to another round of martyrdom. If they are aligned, I can act happily and honourably. If they don't align, I have to get used to honouring MY NEEDS, regardless of how hard that might feel.
I'm never a bitch by honouring Myself - I can lovingly own my choices.
I invite you to take 10 minutes out of your busy life, to really reflect on what YOUR NEEDS are.
It might be that your workload feels manageable. It might be that you're home to have dinner with your family each night. It might be to schedule one-on-one time with your kids, to truly feel like an effective, attentive Mum. These are some of mine.
And if you like, you can DOWNLOAD my FREE template, to print out, fill out and post somewhere you'll access it daily. CLICK HERE to create yours.
I've got mine tacked up on my studio wall, just above my computer ... and I actually read it.
I'd love to hear your stories about this subject and if you've got some techniques on staying true to YOUR NEEDS. Feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog with what has worked for you.
Big love to you, my friends,