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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Another Question

"The important thing to realize is that we can't really care for another if we do not first care for ourselves.  By consulting ourselves to see whether the choices we make come from a place of standing in our power or one of needing to please another, we are forced to confront the subtle and not so subtle ways in which we violate ourselves."  Debbie Ford 

Art by Lori Portka

It's taken me all day long to get to the point where I'm actually sitting down to write - whew!  It's exhausting when we resist doing what we know is good and filling.  And beginning is no doubt the hardest part.  When we spend endless hours thinking about that thing we know is good and filling for us, rather than just sitting down and doing that thing, we develop symptoms (as Steven Pressfield describes in his book War of Art). Gosh, is this true.  The more I think about doing, rather than just doing, the more the fear/resistance builds...and then I start feeling more and more short-breathed, more and more anxious and full of doubt.

I wonder when I will learn to do the thing I'm most resisting FIRST so that I can breathe easier for the rest of the day.

As I mentioned last week, I'm going to be asking a new question here each week from Debbie Ford's book, The Right Questions.  Today's really great question is:

Am I standing in my power or am I trying to please another?

This question reminds me of something I said a while ago while walking on the beach with a dear friend, something that feels so true:

Most of the pain we have as humans is caring so much about what others will or won't think...caring more, in fact, about what others will think than about our own precious selves.

Can you even begin to imagine the relief & release that would come if we could let go of worrying about what others may or may not think of us?  If we could see that what others may or may not think is totally out of our control anyway?

I wonder how much freer I might be in my writing/painting/creating if I could decide that pleasing me, listening to me, listening to love, is far more important than listening to/pleasing another.

As I write this, I'm very aware of the voice in my head that says:  But that sounds selfish, self-centered. 

And to that voice, I say this:

Really?  If we're doing something to please another, at the expense of ourselves - with hope of getting back their love & approval - is this really serving?

Are we doing anyone any favors if we're giving from a place of hold back/hesitation/weakness?  If we give from a place of weakness or neediness - because we want another's approval, what good are we doing? 

I feel most in my power when I tell the truth, when I express myself with freedom and authenticity, when I slow down and listen to that still, strong voice within me, when I let go of what others will think and do what feels right and good and free. And when I give from this place of wholeness/empowerment - my giving becomes rich & true - unconditional.

I'm beginning to see that when I give from this true me place, it always serves others (even if it doesn't immediately look that way).

When I put others' needs before my own, when I give to them before I've given to myself, I feel disempowered and small.  When I forget to fill myself first, I look to others to fill me (which really isn't even possible).  

I don't know about you, but I want to always give from a place of fullness so that I'm giving from my awake, empowered, connected self, not my needy, tiny me self.  I want to give from the me that knows she is whole, because she feels she is whole, because she's taken the time to connect with her holy wholeness, rather than giving in hopes that someone will give back and make me feel (fleetingly) whole.

I see clearly that nothing I receive from another will ever fill the empty places. Only I can do that.  

Only my connection to this holy place inside of me can do that.

When others give to me when I'm feeling connected and centered, it feels like an added bonus, like added sparkle - rather than like something I think I need.

So often when I think about what I might what to share here, all kinds of things show up in my head and then, immediately, there is this tiny me voice that says something like:  You can't share that, they'll think you're too this or too that or not enough of this or that.  Sometimes this needing approval, trying-to- please voice is so convincing & powerful that I let it talk me out of sharing what my heart wants to share.

And then the symptoms come.

When I allow this disempowered voice to run the show, when I try to please others rather than standing rooted in my power, I feel anxious, held back, afraid, needy, not free.

The funny thing is, when I come here and share my truth, just as it is, I don't feel like I need anything from anyone because, telling the truth - setting myself free - fills me up full, connects me to that deep well of richness inside of me.

And when I'm full, I don't need anything from anyone.  Ironically, this is when my creations seem to please the most people. 

It's painful to shrink, to hold back - to contain what makes me ME - to try to please others (which I have absolutely no control over anyway) at the expense of pleasing myself.

So now I ask you....

Are you standing in your power or trying to please another?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, dear people.


  1. I'm feeling the truth of your words.

    I'm thinking that to try to please others because I need their approval and/or I'm afraid of their disapproval - that is the selfish thing. I'm giving from a place that expects something in return; approval.

    I'm also thinking how standing in our own power can at first be awkward, rough, maybe even come out rudely. And how we can forgive ourselves, make ammends for any rudeness (only the rudeness, not our truth)and keep practicing. That's been true for me this year.

    1. "I'm thinking that to try to please others because I need their approval and/or I'm afraid of their disapproval - that is the selfish thing." I completely agree, Kimberley.

      And I agree that this standing in our power can be a bit awkward but that we can continually meet ourselves with love and gentleness...

      Thanks so much for taking the time to connect, dear one - I appreciate it so much.

  2. "Only my connection to this holy place inside of me can do that."

    Even after a lifetime of hearing dogmas/doctrines told over and over again in fancy buildings by people who think they know, after seeking out the truth in my own feeble ways, even after so many years of my own life spent trying to find that external approval....

    I come to this space and read your words of wisdom and know in my heart that this is Truth. The timing of this could not be more perfect.

    In my recent experience I have learned that when I still try to do things for approval, there are nudges telling me it won't work. When I listen and heed those nudges, the truth kicks in and something much more beautiful and wise is created.

    The challenge is to keep paying attention.

    1. "The challenge is to keep paying attention." Ah, yes, Deb.

      As I say over and over again, this waking up is a moment by moment PRACTICE. It's so easy to stop paying attention, to let ourselves slip back into those old, tired ways. But, in a moment, we can gently nudge ourselves back to NOW, to this NEW moment, to that TRUTH inside of us.

      You are beautiful, Deb & I appreciate you so much.

      By the way, I think you are doing an AMAZING job at this waking up stuff. :)

  3. "Can you even begin to imagine the relief & release that would come if we could let go of worrying about what others may or may not think of us? "

    I had to laugh at myself when I read this.
    I remember a time in my life when I did EVERYTHING to try to fit in and be popular with other people. There came a point when I realized just how shallow some of them were, and how much more fun I could have just being myself.

    There's "real" people and there are those who fake it til they make it. I found that though the "real" people weren't noticed as much, they should have been--they were the ones who enjoyed every day as it was and weren't worried about the latest fads.
    That was a relief--reaching that point of finally finding a niche to be accepted in.

    This isn't to say not everyone can be as "real." But there comes a time when you realize all the material things don't add up to anything.

    As far as putting others first, I find myself trying to do that a lot. I'd rather see them happy--that in turn would make me happy. Or at least that was the theory.
    The truth is, there's a fine line between serving for others and serving for yourself. If you are spending every moment of your day working just so you can get noticed or be labeled a good person, perhaps it's time to re-evaluate your "good" intentions.
    I often struggle with all of this.

    It causes considerably less stress to focus on ourselves for a little while and ask what we want out of life--regardless of what others want for us.


What are you thinking/feeling? I'd really love to know...

♥ Julia