Do you draw your self-esteem from others?
I remember back in hypnotherapy school, my teacher said this quote that always stuck with me. What other people think about you is none of your business. I was taken back at first because I SO cared about what other people thought. I didn’t want to be rude or mean and, most of all, I wanted to be loved. I thought that was normal to not be seen as a jerk, but I realized I was putting everyone else above me and feeling miserable.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to have quality relationships, but it is another thing to depend on the approval of someone else for your peaceful state of mind. If you walk on eggshells around people, do things that you don’t want to do, avoid confrontation or hide your true feelings, you end up unhappy and surrounded by people who resonate with a limited idea of you.
This desire for approval all began when you learned to get acceptance and love early on in life. As a small child, you depended upon your parents love for your physical life. If they didn’t love you, you could be abandoned on the street. Of course that may not be the case for most people, but child’s mind doesn’t think rationally like an adult. You really felt the danger of being left alone and that survival urge is still active within everyone in various extremes.
Being such a small person, you learned to play by the rules, don’t talk back and respect authority. You saw everyone larger and more powerful than you. You felt that if you didn’t follow their rules, you would be punished and love would be withdrawn temporarily or completely. When you worry about what others think about you, the anxiety is this subconscious emotion being recalled and causing the discomfort and fear in your relationships. You become dependent on other people’s actions to dictate your own self-worth.
If you feel the need to impress potential partners, your bosses, your clients or your friends to keep them in your life, you are operating from this very small self. You put them up on a pedestal and push your worth aside to please them. You get a high when someone praises you and a deep low when they insult or reject you. Good or bad, you depend upon their reaction for your own self-esteem. You may even find shame in being single and not a part of their couple crowd. I also see entrepreneurs seek the acceptance of their peers through their business success.
To some people this behavior can be excessive like falling apart if someone leaves, doesn’t call or even gets mad at them. When you get your confidence from others, you feel drained by constantly trying to keep up with their demands and obsessively worrying about what you said, what you did and how you should have been better to avoid a certain reaction from them. You end up being inauthentic, pretending you are someone else and resenting them for not appreciating you more. You lost sight of the real you and only see yourself through others’ eyes.
Dependency really affects your dating life. When I was single, I saw lots of advice on how to act to catch a man, and when I see it now it just makes my blood boil. You may have been led to make the man the prize and to stop making deadly dating blunders so you don’t blowing your chances with love. (Guys, I know you get the same advice about acting cool and aloof to get the girl too). This type of guidance feeds low self-esteem and makes you feel smaller and less desirable. You end up reviewing your dates wondering what you did wrong and why they weren’t interested. Believe me, I’ve been there.
Everyone has their subconscious stuff, so to rely on someone’s deluded opinion of you through their filter is ridiculous. Who made them to ultimate judge of who is worthy, lovable or good enough? Do all the men on Match.com have the supreme power to deem you worthy of love? Not a chance. What other people think about you really doesn’t matter because what they think is more about them than it is about you.
When you see yourself as worthy and good regardless of what others say or do; you will attract authentic relationships. You start to shine in a new way so your ideal partner can find you. If you stop judging yourself, you will attract a partner who also loves you unconditionally. You are free to make mistakes, be silly and strange with your little quirks and curves and he/she will still think they got the best thing going.
As you stop playing small, there will be some people who will fall away because they won’t resonate with your authentic self. People will leave or they will make you feel guilty trying to manipulate you back to your old ways to fit in their dysfunctional world. Don’t fall for it, be strong and soon you will realize how much happier you are without them. You will begin to attract real friends and lovers who fuel your soul, not drain your self-esteem and bank account.
Of course, letting go of the others’ opinions of you and to fully stand in your true self is a process. This isn’t something you can turn around overnight because you may have had a pattern of this behavior for decades. You can start liberating yourself today by taking tiny steps such as letting go of the small thoughts of you and start to see yourself as worthy of great things. Connect with your true source of power (the universe, divine, God) as your rock instead of relying upon the fickle temperament of human beings. See yourself through the eyes of the divine and you will see your world in a whole new light.