You’re a kind, forgiving person.
To yourself, not so much.
- You tend to put everyone else’s needs first then feel resentful when you miss out or other people take advantage
- You want to stand up for yourself but you
- find it hard to say ‘no’
- don’t want to be selfish
- feel anxious around conflict, rejection or criticism
- You talk to yourself much more harshly than you would talk to anyone else
Old ways of thinking, feeling and acting can keep you stuck in people pleasing, rescuing and over-giving.
The more you try to do what seems right, the worse it gets. Advice that is right for some people, can be exactly the wrong advice for you. It’s like being lost in a forest with the map upside down. If you’re pointing the wrong way, walking gets you even more lost.
You end up feeling lost and empty. Unhappy with your friends, dissatisfied in your relationships, frustrated with your progress at work.
Maybe you half-know what you should do next, but the idea of trekking all the way back in the other direction feels too overwhelming. It doesn’t feel like you.
Take a breath.
Rest a moment.
Be gentle with yourself.
This is like untangling a knot. Trying harder and pulling it tighter just makes it worse. But as you gently loosen one part, then another, then another, it gets easier and easier.
You might have learned some unhelpful habits in how relate to yourself and others.
You can re-learn them.
You can learn to
- Feel more grounded in yourself so you’re less swayed by other people’s changing opinions and moods or your own self judgements
- Be more confident speaking up for yourself regardless of what other people think
- Loosen harmful thinking so you can break out of damaging habits and create more balanced, nourishing relationships
- Be kinder and more supportive of yourself so you can take on new challenges, learn and grow
In short, you can begin to come home to yourself and begin to find your rightful place in the world.
I’d like to help you do that.
I’m Andrew Cain and I’ve been a therapist and coach since 2000. But as well as that, I’ve been through the same challenges we’re talking about here. I used to always put other people first because I’d learned that was what you were ‘supposed to do’. I was scared of speaking up, terrified of rejection or criticism, and was far too hard on myself. It held me back in relationships and work.
I didn’t become a mean spirited drop out! I’m still kind, helpful and have high standards. But I’ve got better at being kind to myself as well, speaking up, allowing myself to be imperfect, and worrying less about what other people think.
I still care about other people and doing the best I can. I’m just not controlled by it.
I’d like the same for you.
- You can be kind AND strong.
- You can look after yourself WITHOUT being selfish.
- You can have high standards more WITHOUT beating yourself up.
- You can learn to be your own best friend.
What If There’s Nothing Wrong With You?
A lot of therapy and self help focuses on diagnosis with terms like “people pleasing”, “perfectionist”, “codependent”, or “low self esteem.” As if having a label solved the problem.
Having a map is a start. But then you have to use it. Just staring at the map doesn’t get you any further. And if you’re prone to being too hard on yourself, it can trigger even more self criticism.
So try starting with this instead: There’s nothing wrong with you.
There’s nothing wrong with you. The belief that there is something wrong with you IS the problem.
You’ve picked up some habits that have been keeping you stuck. But your core self and value as a human being remain unaffected.
Time To Change
Changing what you think, feel and do takes time.
So does learning to play the violin. But you wouldn’t expect to get better by reading about all the reasons why you were hopeless at playing the violin. You’d want some clear structure, guidance and encouragement so you could start practising.
Of course, you won’t be wonderful immediately. But every week you can be more skillful than the last.
You can learn to
- be kinder to yourself so you can be willing to be imperfect and be who you naturally are
- drop unhelpful thinking so you can be fairer and more supportive to yourself
- develop better assertiveness and self talk skills so you can look after yourself in your relationships with others
And you can practice them. Gently, kindly and consistently. Not just as “good ideas” or tick lists of “things to be grateful for.” But by growing a deeper connection with yourself, breaking old habits and learning new ones.
I’d like to help you do that. I offer
- one-to-one therapy & coaching
- online courses and free one-off classes
- a book on breaking the blame habit (also on Amazon Kindle here)
- guided meditations to help you reconnect with yourself
- free articles and videos on my blog
If you’d like my free Love Yourself meditation and to hear when my next courses and free online classes are running, put your name and email in the box here.
Thanks for taking the time to visit. Drop me a line any time here.