I had another rude awakening last week. My entire life I have been a people pleaser, but I never fully understood why. I thought perhaps I learned it from my mother, who is also a people-pleaser. I thought maybe it was a product of my gender – female as nourisher, nurturer, protector. But then I realized I wasn’t those being things to myself. And then it hit me.
I’m a people pleaser because deep down I think I am inherently flawed, broken, need fixing. And I do things for others rather than myself because I so want their love and approval. This led to another realization. I have high self-esteem, but that is not the same as self-regard, self-love, self-respect, or self-acceptance.
But here’s the thing: if I can’t give those things to myself, how can I expect or accept them from others? I can’t. Not truly. Because somewhere inside me is a little girl that thinks she’s not worth it in and of herself. That she has to do more, give more, be more, to get the love and appreciation she so desires.
Hogwash! She – I, you – doesn’t need to do anything to be worthy of love and respect. But she – and I – need to learn to love ourselves first.
If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that I am painting my way through the chakras. Yet, it’s been almost a month since I painted the third chakra mudra. I finally started the fourth chakra – the heart chakra – this past weekend. I hadn’t been motivated to begin it sooner. I think I know why. I realized I couldn’t fully heal my heart chakra until I began to heal my relationship with myself.
So how does one heal their heart chakra? With a healthy dose of self-love. I went back to Christine Arylo’s book Madly in Love With Me and started working through it again. The first time I read the book a few years back, I skimmed it. I thought, “That doesn’t apply to me.” I was in a river of denial. But no longer.
Now I want to swim in a sea of self-love, learn to love every part of me – warts and all! So I am approaching the self-love tree with trepidation, appreciation, and a little dose of humility, knowing that once I dive in, I will never be the same. But I’m okay with that.
So how do you heal your heart chakra? I’m doing it by healing my relationship with myself and learning to love myself again. After I work through that, I’ll work on my people-pleasing tendencies and relationships with others. Somehow I suspect that I will have less of a drive to please others once I learn to take care of, give to, and love me first.
I’d love it if you’d join me on this self-love journey. I plan to explore one branch of the self-love tree each week. I’ll keep you posted on my progress and I hope you’ll do the same. To learning to love, honor, and respect ourselves again! (And a little self-compassion and self-forgiveness for ‘messing up' those words on my painting!)
Christine Arylo’s self-love tree (my version is above):