The journey of self-discovery requires that you take inventory of who you are, where you come from and where you want to be, the alignment of your values with your authentic Self – this may mean the shedding of layers of behaviors that are expected from you that no longer serve you. This shedding of expectations can be scary for others who are not ready to “see” this new, more authentic version of you.
We are frequently told that self-love is the key to happiness, that in loving and caring for ourselves we can learn forgiveness and trust and have a broader sense of Self to better engage with others. It is a process, a journey for most of us to return to our essence. So many factors tend to interfere with staying in that state of innocence, beginning with our glorious and usually flawed families.
When you truly engage in the process of going inward and learning about your Self, you may walk a tightrope of thoughts and feelings that begin to change your behaviors. Those around you are not used to this new you so there will be pushback that comes from a desire from the known and predictable. It is in that friction between the old you and the new you that we must dig into our reserve of trust (self-trust) and push through the pushback of others. This is not an easy task! Especially for those of us who have been conditioned to people please. When we stay in our lane and continue with our emotional awakening, this can seem “selfish” to others, especially significant others. The negative connotation of “selfish” is strong and the social pressure to return to the old you may be fierce. The journey of self-discovery requires that you take inventory of who you are, where you come from and where you want to be, the alignment of your values with your authentic Self – this may mean the shedding of layers of behaviors that are expected from you that no longer serve you. This shedding of expectations can be scary for others who are not ready to “see” this new, more authentic version of you.
Unintentionally we may give the message that we do not need or want anyone else. We may be pushing others away.
When we recognize and start the journey of self-care, we are typically encouraged to set boundaries. these create an emotional space for you to breathe, think before acting (or reacting). When we say “no” for our Self, we may send the message that they are no longer important in our life, and yet as Brené Brown says, “when we fail to set boundaries and hold people accountable, we feel used and mistreated.”
Part of our journey is the discovery, or rediscovery, of our self-worth. In loving yourself, you now fill the void that used to be filled by others. Internal validation can replace external validation, and others notice that change. Belonging and being needed are basic psychological needs. When those close to you don’t feel needed by you, they may begin to move away from you.
Another part of our journey includes the catch-all phrase of self-care. How do you do you, and still include your significant people? Learning to say no, learning to slow down, learning to do activities that inspire you or bring you joy and learning to let go of people and things that drain you are some of the internal ways to care for the Self. This is another place where the label of “selfish” can come up.
All of these situations are examples of how we can become imbalanced in our quest for self-love. The true authentic nature of you can include healthy attachments to others. The key ingredient to effectively navigate through this process is communication! Sharing your thoughts and feelings with the important people in your life about how and why you are on this journey becomes the gateway for understanding and support. Being aware of the impact of your actions on these important people is another layer of conversation to be shared. You can make decisions that align with your authentic Self and still stay connected with others.