As survivors, we are often torn between our deep desire to proudly be ourselves and the horrible, defeating messages of childhood.  Even if we have changed our external situation since we were children, we are still inundated with futility and worthlessness from our own parts.  And they become the most intense when we are considering taking a step toward living our truth.  That truth could be trying something we have always wanted to try.  It could be spending time with a new friend.  Or it could be rest.  But the messages will start.

“You are not good enough for that.”

“You don’t deserve it.”

“They will never like you.”

They are often so automatic and unconscious, we believe them and change course before we know what happened.  This is why it is critical to bring awareness to them.  We must can spot them.  One of the messages we hear above the din is how selfish we are.  We are selfish if we take time to know ourselves.  We are selfish because we want to slow down.  We are selfish to explore the things we want to do.  We are selfish if we don’t tow the line of conformity.  But do we ever stop to wonder what’s behind the messages?  Where is the source of this nasty self-talk?  The people who said it to us in childhood had a reason for saying these things.  And you can be assured it was not meant to help us embrace our love of self.

You are selfish to embrace yourself because you will make people uncomfortable.  Abusive families often make it clear that your innate strengths are not acceptable.  This denial likely started generations back when this strength was not accepted by society.  And it may not be accepted to this day.  But there is a good chance that your parents had a strength that was squelched and oppressed.  So they projected those same sentiments on to you.  Why?  They feel uneasy when they see their children doing what they couldn’t.  They may also feel like you will be punished for this strength.  They may even believe this strength will outcast you from society as a whole.  So you being you makes them uncomfortable.

You are selfish to do what you love because it is dangerous.  Society has taught us that we need to conform.  Fitting in with those around us has been considered a life or death matter since there were tribes.  It was a matter of survival.  And unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated for modern times.  Society doesn’t allow it’s members to go out and explore what they want to do.  They put everything into specific categories and pay more for the jobs deemed important.  If you love something that falls outside of what society says matters, you risk being outcasted and struggling to survive financially.  It is dangerous and most choose not to take the risk.

You are selfish to rest because I can’t.  Let’s face it.  The world is full of controller-enmeshed people.  They are expected to run themselves into the ground.  They only get a couple of weeks per year for vacation and are often guilted for taking it.  They don’t get enough sleep because they have to meet the massive expectations of society every day.  The only chance for rest is illness.  And that’s not rest.  When people do take the opportunity to slow down and rest, they are shamed and chastised as lazy and selfish.  And nobody wants to be labeled that way.  So everyone runs until they drop.  Or if they do rest, they hide it from others.

But it is time to stop that broken record from telling us who we are allowed to be and what we are allowed to do.  It is time to let our light shine in the world of conformity.  To do that, we need to question those old patterns and beliefs.  But first, we must see them.  This is why I am devoting the month of September to learning the keys to self-worth.  Come join me on the Survivor’s Guide for Life as we explore our unconscious obstacles to our life’s potential.  Click on this link so you can discover the keys to self-worth.