Most of us walk around with one of two secret fears: I am not lovable, or, I am not good enough. Some of us walk around with both of them.
Because of those secrets, we don’t feel entitled to get our needs met, we don’t feel entitled to love; we don’t feel entitled to exist as a separate person, we’re afraid to be known. We grow up believing that we shouldn’t “make waves,” “be selfish,” “cause a scene” — In dozens of different ways, we restrict the expression of our needs, desires and feelings. We limit our capacity for intimacy.
Our behavior is conditioned largely by attitudes we acquire as children, many of which are limiting, by nature, so that we become censors of our own happiness.
It is important as adults to learn to develop positive attitudes, so they will get through to our unconscious, where a great deal is filtered out because of earlier messages that said effectively, “this is dangerous” and “that is forbidden.”
Among the positive attitudes we need to instill in ourselves:
“I exist.” I am a human being unto myself. I am not my mother, and I am not my father. I am me. I am unique. By virtue of being born, I am entitled to exist.
“I need.” By virtue of existence, I have needs. I am entitled to have them and to try to get them met. I can help other people, but I will not wrap my identity up solely in meeting other people’s needs and I will not wait for someone else to come along and take care of me. I am in charge of myself.
“I am entitled.” I am entitled to pursue getting my needs met, to be happy, to make mistakes, to be imperfect, and to ask for help.
“I am lovable.” You may not love me, but I am lovable. I may even have unattractive qualities, but if I can begin to be honest about revealing who I really am, and stop presenting my defenses to the world, you will find that I am lovable. First I have to realize it myself.
“I am good enough.” I am not perfect, I am certain to make mistakes and I can learn from them, I may well need help, I may not be the best at any given thing. But I am good enough.
~ Lori Heyman Gordon