the subjective perspective of an analytical optimist

I Can’t Hurt My Own Feelings

After a deep-thinking and heavy-feeling coaching call with Mike Hrostoski this past weekend, I’ve learned to look down at my feet and examine the huge roadblocks that repeatedly trip me up. Through examining my weak points, I’ve uncovered some powerful insights. Insights that could–and WILL–pivot my trajectory and completely alter the way I live my life.

Today I realized that I put others before myself.

Always. Everyone. Under all circumstances.

“What does Erin want?” is never more than a fleeting secondary thought, often laced with guilt for thinking so selfishly.

Throughout life, my thoughts, actions, and choices have been driven by a need to please others and the pervasive and debilitating belief that I Can’t Hurt Others’ Feelings.

Yet, in believing and living that, I have often hurt my own feelings.

I make myself feel small. I fall out of alignment with my beliefs and values. I lose confidence in my truth and stop speaking at all. I reside in a state of perpetual anxiety and deprive my body, mind, and soul of that peaceful place they must regularly visit to recharge and regenerate. I continually ask myself: How can I be fully myself, and simultaneously be the idyllic standard of perfection that I assume others expect? How can I dance my dance without stepping on anyone’s toes?

The truth is: I can’t. I can’t fully come into myself and live my truth when I’m so busy worrying about how others will perceive me or whether something may be taken as offensive, too forward, or too divergent from the norm. That imagined obligation to be everything to everyone is a farce, an entertaining mind game that’s outlasted its usefulness.

I’m sick and tired of making myself sick and tired, simply because I choose to put others before myself. I need to stop sacrificing my time, my energy, and my sanity in order to make others believe that I’m a good friend, that I care. Because often times–if not every time–my loses far outweigh another’s gains. It’s not worth it. I see that now.

Relationships are never a zero-sum game. What I offer to you needn’t be lost on me; I can offer 100% and still be at 100%, and perhaps even boost you up to full power. Conversely, putting my own feelings first does not mean that I will intentionally hurt others or completely disregard their feelings; there surely exists a healthy and harmonic balance where everyone wins.

By living my truth and fully showing up, I will have more to offer the world. I’ve already tasted that; I know that it’s true. And those who can most benefit from Who I Am and What I Have to Offer WILL show up. And they WILL accept, appreciate, and challenge me in the ways I have–in the past–sought to be seen and recognized by EVERYONE I encounter.

From now on, I will NOT help others at the expense of my own well-being, self-worth, and need to live a truthful and authentic life. There will be no more holding of tongues and fear of offense. There will be no more staying small and out-of-sight. There will be no more nodding my head in disagreement. There will no more agreeing to commitments and conversations that don’t either bring me to life or offer me new perspectives.

From now on, my belief, my standard, and my practice is as follows: I CAN’T HURT MY OWN FEELINGS. I won’t.

If this was too much–too raw, too personal, too whiny–I am not sorry. From now on, I need to be who I am and speak the words on my heart. And, for the first time in my life, I can sit with the fact that you might not be okay with that.

It’s a pretty awesome feeling, I’ve got to say.

3 Responses to I Can’t Hurt My Own Feelings

  1. Okay, then! You’ve affirmed your position and set your course. Channel your energy into a positive journey!

  2. Linda says:

    We might well be kindred souls, as I am on the very same path. Thank you for your eloquence and truth.

  3. Matt Riley says:

    Congratulations! You have come to a wonderful realisation. When you start putting yourself first more positive things begin to happen in your life as you move forward. One of the best things I noticed when I started doing this is that now when I help someone or go the extra mile for someone I fell much better about myself, because I am now helping the people that want to help me.

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