today’s question came in comment form from the Keeper post. i think it’s a question a lot of girls have, but this brave woman actually asked.
dear brave one,
the “is it even possible” part of your question is easy. the answer is yes. a great big YES with a Baker Street sax intro. i can say that with certainty because i’ve done it. i was you.
here’s the other part that will hopefully help you breathe easier without requiring a CPAP…
you don’t have to have yourself completely figured out to be a keeper.
a keeper isn’t perfect. nobody is. and i want to make something crystal clear. becoming a keeper is NOT becoming someone who is worthy of love and relationship. it is becoming a woman who understands she already is worthy of love and relationship. all others be damned.
the “how” is the hard part, right?
there is a short answer to that. and it’s this:
stop allowing the things that make you feel bad about yourself.
what the hello does that mean, sharideth?
simple. any time you look back on a situation and think “why did i do that?”, it only reinforces how you view yourself and ingrains your perceived lack of strength. so start minimizing those situations. here’s some suggestions on how to do that:
1. learn to say “no” – had a panic attack just now, did you? believe me, i understand that compulsion to say yes to everyone so as not to disappoint anyone. good lord, do i get it. there are people around you right now who are taking advantage of your insecurity. it’s easy to know who they are. the first time you say, “no. sorry. i can’t do that.”, they will try to make you feel guilty. and they’ll succeed. at first. but you have to stick to your “no”. it will feel awful. then, over time, it will start to feel amazing. and free. and strong.
2. learn to say “thank you” – when someone compliments you, for any reason, look that person in the eye and say “thank you”. people who don’t struggle with insecurity have no idea how terrifying that can be. you want to look down and make excuses for why you don’t deserve the praise. knock that crap off. being able to say thank you is empowering and it feels better and better every time you pull it off. and hold on to your guts because i’m about to slice into you…it’s an insult to the one who gave you the compliment to throw it back in their face by communicating that you somehow don’t deserve it. at first you don’t have to think of it as believing what they say about you is true, you are only returning a kindness for a kindness. but next you have to ask yourself, why would someone tell you something good about yourself if it isn’t true? you dishonor them by convincing yourself they’re lying to you. quit it.
3. learn to manage your panic – you have got to figure out what works for you. i’ll tell you what doesn’t work. running away from a good thing just because you’re having a freak out that you don’t want to confront, that’s what. when my son was 6, he had panic attacks that could escalate to being violent. with our help, he learned to control it by removing himself from the situation to a place where he could be alone until he felt calmer. at first we would make him go to his “quiet place”, then he began to recognize the signs of an impending freak out and go there himself. eventually he didn’t need to remove himself anymore, he just learned to cope better because he was able to identify his own emotions and control them. if he can do it, so can you. it is perfectly acceptable to say, “i don’t think i can be rational right now, so i’m going to take a minute or 60.” get alone, get calm, then go back and finish whatever conversation sent you over the edge. but you MUST finish it. that not only creates trust between you and those around you, it also teaches you to trust yourself.
all three of these take practice. all three of them suck hard when you first start working on them. they feel all wrong. but after a while, they begin to feel all right. one day, it will just feel good. it will feel natural. it will feel free.
you have all my empathy and all my confidence that you can do this.
and know this, you are already the Keeper. she is in you. you just have to believe it.
oh so sincerely,
any other words of wisdom for our brave friend?