Don’t Bake Him Cookies

cookie-monster-michelle-oconnell

Yeah, so, I was in the middle of a session with a client and I searched for an example to illustrate a point.

The point I was making had to do with possessing absolutely no value in oneself; feeling a deep sense of attachment and fear of abandonment. I would describe it as people-pleasing on steroids.

We do it as a way to hold on, to make someone like us or love us, to manipulate so he or she owes us or to blot out the fear inside we don’t want to face.

As I sat with my client on the phone, an example slapped me upside the head. It was back when I thought it was all about holding onto this person, while really I was screwing myself over.

It was a time when my inner voice was a strangled whisper because I couldn’t hear myself. I wasn’t to be trusted.

It’s been a 360 degree journey away from the identity of pretending to have it together, logically thinking it’s what really mattered, to the present moment of living it from the inside out. My unraveling started back then, and now I was connecting with how lost I’d been.

Currently, my client is struggling with feeling she would be abandoned if she stopped pleasing others at her own expense. Her giving isn’t reciprocated and it’s not genuine, but it is how she learned to survive years ago.

I I told her about a guy I was seeing almost 10 years ago. As I relayed the details to her, it shook me. I understood in that moment how far I’d come and how much I really had believed I had no value unless I was doing something for someone else (i.e. pleasing) with a dude who’d already demonstrated his flakiness.

What happened?

I was deeply attached to this man with off-the-charts chemistry. I thought it was something special, but when you’re looking at someone through 3D glasses, reality is not to be seen!

He called on a Wednesday to let me know he may be tied up that evening, in effect sorta, kinda cancelling our date. I felt that rush of intense anxiety… “NO, NO, NO,” my insides screamed. And I tried to squelch it, but as it drew closer to him calling to let me know for sure, I could focus on nothing else. Time came and went.

Then I started texting. No response.

I called. No response.

Nothing. All night.

Until 1 a.m. when he said he was sorry he couldn’t have let me know sooner.

Told me he’d see me Friday.

As Friday drew closer I was freaking out. I couldn’t bear it if he cancelled again. I was gonna lose it. On Friday I was a bundle of anxiety. Pacing, wondering what to do. Oh! Of course. I need to bake him cookies so he thinks I am the best thing since Donna Reed. And get some champagne too. He’ll never leave. Sigh.

He showed up, but me he almost didn’t because he was suffering from anxiety. I figured cookies and sex, how could he resist?

But before we were actually undressed, he told me how he really thought I was great and felt his feelings would grow for me over time. But right now, he just felt blocked in his heart. He felt an old love was still in his heart and therefore, right now, there was no room.

And so I slept with him of course, why should that stop me? I was trying to prove something; show him how awesome I was so he wouldn’t leave. And of course totally pleasing him at my own expense. I mean WAY beyond my own expense, as though I had nothing in the bank!

I relayed this story to my client, and as I did, I felt how far I’d come and how it was crystal clear that all the people pleasing in the world could never make up for the lack inside of me, or keep anyone around.

My client felt it for herself, and so did the client I had after her… and many others I told that story to afterwards. Even though I wanted to cringe, there are so many others who have given themselves away in hopes of something in return.

Many of us have baked cookies for someone who we wanted to fulfill us, hoping that if we were perfect enough, like a trained seal, that person would love us in a way we couldn’t love ourselves.

It doesn’t work that way. Chasing down someone else’s love doesn’t make up for the lack of love inside. Doing for others in the hope of getting something in return (even if it is just them thinkin’ you’re awesome) is never fulfilling and saying yes, when you definitely should be saying no for your own care will never ever make you feel good. EVER.

Sacrificing to hold on to someone will never bring you the return you hope for and baking cookies for someone to win them, won’t fill that void inside you either

Bake cookies for yourself first. Then you can share them with someone else.

The Choices We Make

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My year of reinvention continues, how about you? 

Recently, I met with a woman who helped me with a few things regarding my subconscious beliefs. She told me that my relationships would be affected. People coming; people going.

It’s been wild to watch!

Before I met with her, I already made different choices in my relationships.

This just accelerated things. As I continued to magnetize individuals sharing a similar perspective of reality, while accepting myself (finally) and understanding, we’re all f*cked up…other people disappeared!

I decided to choose love even while letting go.

It’s been rough. 

I’ve lost a relationship that was of value to me. A lot of love, amazing memories, and at one point we were kindred spirits, but alas, too many misunderstandings, judgment and change had taken place. It’s a funky place to be, when you can see the deeper picture of how it took two to get there. We either go thru thick n’ thin communicating honestly or crap expands (including others) pushing us apart.

On the other hand many who disappeared, were not ‘authentic’ and frankly we never were truly friends. As I felt a sense of relief… I asked myself, how did I get here.

Junior high school?

Funny, right?

We all have our jr. high story, don’t we?

Not only were parts of it happening again, BUT my issue of belonging and how I go about valuing myself really started back then!

At the time, I was cast out of my group without any interest in my truth–as only a 13 year old could be a victim, but who knows this at 13?

From that point forth, I felt inadequate in most relationships, waiting for the other shoe to drop–to be found out and told I sucked. I left a lot of relationships up to the other person to choose me; to tell me I was okay or not. I never really felt worthy; I’d always feel something was wrong with me and thank God they’re willing to overlook it!

It wasn’t til I started choosing me, accepting me (warts and all), being kinder, gentler and happier with me LOVING MYSELF….in other words taking off my mask and being who I really am, that something profoundly shifted.

It’s been hard at times, but I had no choice…I had to choose me. (If I tried to suck it up and fit my square peg self into a round hole–I’d experience a weird anxiety–I couldn’t pretend) I took responsibility where I saw my part, but stopped worrying how others perceived me.

This was the most AMAZING discovery…..I finally realized I value myself not based on the opinions or assumptions of others, NOPE…I value me, based on me.

And it leads me to how choosing OURSELVES (not as victims), but in loving what is….we can choose the others in our lives, with love too.

Someone recently sent me Choose Her Everyday or Leave Her…wanting me to talk about it on my radio show. In a perfect world it’s great to put the onus of responsibility on one person. We can all be destructive, but you have to catch yourself and at least know why….so if you have relationships, whether intimate or not….who (or what) do you choose?

From the article:

I was too focused on the anger, insecurities, demands, and other aspects of her strong personality that grated on me. The more I focused on her worst, the more I saw of it, and the more I mirrored it back to her by offering my own worst behavior.

In any relationship, we do this when we want to victimize ourselves and hold someone else responsible: place blame. The focus for this man was not on himself, it was on his partner and her negative aspects (not as a whole person).

By focusing on what you cannot control (another person), and ignoring what is going on within yourself–you remain unfulfilled–wanting–needing–and usually angry.

My personal journey is to remain connected, choosing myself, so I can be authentic and love others from that place, whether they are in my life or not.

Why?

Because it feels good! Isn’t that the point of life….to feel good?

What about you? Where will you focus?

Giving To Get; A Self-Destructive Way to Validate

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One of my favorite terms to use in my work is “giving to get.”

It’s when we give with strings attached to someone or something else.

It’s not always an item, money or something tangible; we often give our time, do favors (people please), allow behavior we don’t like and other forms of anything, which places us in position to receive our validation this way.

Personally, I’ve come to a ton of awareness over the years, in how I have operated in this way, but lately, my epiphanies have been around, how some people I attracted to my life would give to get with me.

This pattern usually starts in our family of origin.

We find by acting or giving in a certain way, we get what we THINK we want, which is some form of love or validation. In essence, someone says, “we’re okay” and then we feel accepted into the tribe. This often leads to some form of over-achievement, or having no boundaries or self-acceptance of our own feelings.

What’s the difference between giving to get, and just plain giving without expectation?

We feel someone owes us or we need to be recognized in some way (some celebs give money for publicity), this is not altruistic nor is it actually meaningful; it’s a form of trying to get validation.

When we give, as let’s say a friend who helps without being asked, by sharing their oxygen mask, the expectation is on the act of helping, not on the future accolades or gratitude that must be given in return.

When we give of ourselves over and over to someone hoping for a reward for putting up with their nasty behavior, we are giving to get. We blame the other person for holding our happiness in their hands. No one’s happiness belongs in the possession of another. Yet, I’ve heard from individuals in my professional and personal life all about how “someone has done something to me,” which creates a victimized mentality.

Where can anyone find power in themselves when they are giving it away to get validation that never lasts anyway?

I think of people I’ve thanked a bazillion times for their help, including my parents, but it’s never enough. They want to abuse the right, they feel they earned by giving in either how they believe I should treat them, or what I should give to them.

And people who give in this way, sabotage not only the relationship, but validate their belief of their own worth. It’s a painful cycle.

Whether it’s money or something mimicking love (love is free without attachment), we give so much of ourselves or our bank account, we create a deficit that must be filled…and yet we create situations, which make it impossible to be re-filled, on purpose.

It happens all the time, if we don’t pay attention to the signs; we allow people into our lives, based off the familiarity of our initial relationships.

Some of us think (I was one for a very long time) that if someone believes we shit gold bricks, then they must recognize something in us, which we don’t see in ourselves.

And if it’s extreme, as though we’re to be convinced that the feelings we’re receiving are genuine, they’re not. It’s not to say someone can’t like us and put us on a pedestal, it’s to say they’re giving to get. Whether it’s in complements, words of adoration, listening to us vent, money, gifts, or crossing over their personal boundaries….it’s all to receive some validation.

For the receiver, we may think it’s assuring us we’re okay…even when we feel somewhat funky with all that attention. I had this cycle for years, until I really started to lay down some boundaries, which meant I attracted very few who were giving to get with me.

And on the other hand, I gave to get in my romantic relationships….all the time.

I was the perfect housewife, mother, lover, friend, etc…giving, giving, giving and it was never enough…and I never felt good when I’d be proving my wonderfulness….I’d become resentful, angry and tired. I’d assume and personalize everyone else, all the time.

It’s not just an imbalance, it’s a call to see where we’re begging for validation, for love…to receive the outcome we want.

Our opportunity lies in giving love and validation to ourselves; this is where many cannot shift their focus from the other person to themselves.

Awareness of our patterns, asking why we allow ourselves to act in an extreme way, will usually give an opening to old wounds, beliefs and the patterns we’ve created to stay in this self-destructive place. We believe we deserve to destruct, that our value is minimal, when we give all of ourselves away to receive anything in return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power of Gratitude V

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Sometimes I hear, “Have an Attitude of Gratitude,” with the purpose of helping me manifest what I want; have more peace, feel more open and overall, less frustrated with my current lot in life.

And at those times, when I’m most frustrated, I find it difficult to really step out of my comfort zone with it’s revolving thoughts! It’s a merry-go-round in my head! Trying to figure out why, I’m stuck in a place once again, in which, I’ve visited many times, over several years.

Now most people can relate to frustration being a difficult emotion to step out of and stop, cold turkey.

There is a certain comfort to old thoughts and lashing out at the Universe, as to why things are once again headed in an unwelcome direction. I know, because I’ve found it the most challenging time to have any gratitude for anything.

Most negative emotions can wrap us up in their clutches, making it feel impossible to be released.

We don’t get relief, so easily as to just say words of gratitude, oh no! It’s the same thing with positive affirmations, even if the words come out of our mouth, does it match our truth? Does it match our energy, our intention, our feelings?

Just saying words with no real meaning attached to it, gives us no power. It keeps us powerless, especially if the force of our anger or unhappiness is behind it.

In some of my more recent challenges, the ones, which I didn’t understand their significance or reoccurrence, I discovered something new. I came to understand my value.

People can say how wonderful we are, they can slather us in praise, and we can even look in the mirror and say, “Hmmm…not bad,” but these sentiments are not necessarily indicative of how we value ourselves.

In the past, I believed I had to work super hard to get value. I also believed that everything in my life had happened as either a reflection of me or that it was a lesson I wasn’t getting! This trifecta of thoughts would come up every time a past result, seemed to be my present outcome. I’d think of how I handled it differently, how I acted differently and how I thought differently, so how could this possibly be happening?

It dawned on me one day.

Deep inside, I felt, I did not deserve my circumstances, that in this particular event, I embraced my value. I saw where I was responsible, where I had done everything I could think of and it still had poor results. This was not a reflection of me at all. I stopped beating myself up with those recurring thoughts and felt peace.

And what does this have to do with the power of gratitude?

In the realization of my own value, came an opening. All the responsibility I carried for the external circumstances, the outcome, of all that occurred, had dropped from my shoulders. The barriers of blame, I held against the Universe and myself started to crumble. I was able to feel my way into gratitude.

Gratitude is about the present moment, not the future. When it comes to being personally-empowered, all we can be connected to in the mind, body, spirit department is now.

We can be grateful for what is and where we are today. When we value ourselves, our gratitude is clearer and less tinged with what we don’t have in the moment.

If we take a few minutes to really look at a situation, in which we’re held hostage and feel gratitude is the last place we can actually touch, it’s important to stop for a second and ask ourselves, “Have I done everything, I believe can be done in this situation, with the knowledge I have right now?” If the answer is yes, (and it usually is when we’re frustrated), then seeing where we’re applying unnecessary pressure on ourselves for the present situation to be different is key.

Where does that come from?

Once we see why we need the validation of a situation to turn out right, we can gain clarity on our actions and our value. Once we really start honoring our value, we can feel grateful for exactly what is in our lives. We can look at the frustrating situation and know that it’s teaching us gratitude. It’s taught us that there is freedom from the murkiness of believing life has done us wrong, or we’re wrong.

I can be grateful right now for all that is in my life. It allows me to be accepting, and not in such a hurry. I can look at the past and feel thankful for the experiences, which have brought to the place of value I feel in myself.

The power of true gratitude is a feeling of softening, because it connects us to a greater source than ourselves. We’re not so worried and caught up in what might never happen.

Gratitude allows us to connect to our creativity. When we are in this space of freedom, connecting to the creative within us, it opens a door to new thought. We gain a new approach and an opportunity to lessen the intensity of our circumstances, enough so, that our actions coming from gratitude can lead us to a completely different place than we are today.

Thanking every experience and person, past or present for their contribution to helping us discover our true value, places us squarely in an empowered space.

Links to the four other posts in this series:

The Power Of Presence

The Power Of Balance

The Power of Abundance

The Power of Insecurities