Are you practicing self abandonment ? How is that possible when you are always with you, taking yourself into all relationships, all situations? When we reject, ignore our needs and conscious desires, value time and energy we give others but do not value ourselves, criticize and judge ourselves with demeaning words and thoughts, and do not choose decisions and actions in our best and highest good, we are abandoning ourselves. We may intellectually comprehend what we want and need, yet choose to abandon and ignore those very things that would demonstrate self love and self compassion.
An example of how this looks. We arrive home after hours of doing a project or working long hours. Feeling tired and low energy, we just want to veg out on the couch and chill. We get a text or a phone call from our friend who wants to vent about her finances, her partnership, or her parent. Instead of giving yourself self time after the tremendously draining day you have experienced you immediately return the text or answer the phone call. After all your friend needs your great support and comfort. You don’t want to let her down so in spite of the fact you have no energy to give one more bit to another living being, yet you engage in the conversation with this person. Not only are you teaching said friend how to treat you…that her needs always come first, but you are also abandoning your own . Now , of course , being the kind person who wants to show all your willingness to listen and be there for those we care about is not a bad way to live our life. However, when this is a chronic and consistent pattern to make others and/or the job a priority , to put yourself and your needs on the back burner (thinking you will give yourself self care later after you attend to this friend), you return that text or call. You never want to let that person down . When we repeatedly do this behavior every time we are needed by another we are creating a pattern called people pleasing. We have taught others by our actions that no matter if we are sick, exhausted, or needing what we can only give to ourselves– self care and self love– we will put our needs on hold for our partner, our friends, our loved ones, or a work/ volunteer commitment .
Another scenario: we have been a social worker or other helping occupation for many years. We awaken to the truth that what really will bring us inner contentment and happiness is to follow our dream since early adulthood of being an artist. We share that with our partner or trusted friend. The response we receive is not supportive. or they do not even respond! Instead of pursuing our dream we stuff our desires deep down within often to make things comfortable and smooth sailing for our partner/friend. This behavior is not demonstrating that we value ourselves more than the opinion of another. We are practicing self abandonment in action.
Self abandonment shows up when our culture, society, or people close to us have certain expectations of us and our real needs and desires directly oppose those expectations, and we choose to follow the expectations of others, making a conscious choice to put our own internal desires on hold.
If you resonate with the following characteristics of self abandonment , perhaps this is your wake-up call to make different choices in order to value and empower yourself.
What self abandonment looks like in daily routines and life: * Hiding pieces of your authentic self: not sharing your true feelings as you give up your goals and interests that inspire you and not trusting your choices. *People pleasing: searching for validation of who you are, what you want to do in order to please and make another happy *Squashing, running from and burying feelings of not being comfortable in your own skin through denial, avoidance, distractions, workaholism and busy-ness or using mind altering substances * Not following your core values : Going along with others to keep things peaceful even when your values are being compromised * Not verbalizing to speak up for what you need: fear of setting and reinforcing needed boundaries as you allow others in any area of your life to take advantage of you * Refusing to respect and honor your own needs and desires: No consistent self care or even believing you do not deserve self care in the present moment *Perfectionism: Only feeling secure and worthy based on how much you accomplish and get done on a daily /weekly basis
Origin of Self Abandonment is usually from our family of origin or adult role models who emotionally, physically, or mentally were not present for us. The result we carried into adulthood showed up as feeling less than, unworthy, and undeserving of love and respect. This pattern , unless resolved, creates a subconscious one in which we choose friends, bosses, partners who are unsupportive and who do not really value us . Furthermore, we apply this pattern to ourselves! We are clueless of how to be our own best friend and cheerleader in life because we had no one present for us in our developmental stages as children when self esteem, self love, self value would have been molded for the positive creation of healthy, positive patterns.
The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself! You can choose starting right now to stop abandoning yourself and begin creating a partnership of love with yourself. Here are some ideas:
Ask before acting these questions: Is what I am about to do an act of self love without my influence of guilt, obligation, or shameful fear? If there were no others in the world but me, would I still follow through on this decision and action? What do I need right now and am I willing to either ask for it or to give it to myself?
Give yourself permission to be your true , eccentric self expressing and acting with creativity in how you dress, what you do for fun, how you pursue your passions, and how you show affection and intimacy. Choose to give yourself compassion instead of critical judgment of what you label inadequate shortcomings. Honor failures equally with successes. Who lives in your head that demands you must be perfect?
Finally, listen to your body and notice your feelings when you feel challenged. Know that all humans at times suffer and have difficult stages in life. When we acknowledge this, we are more likely to connect with others who also are demonstrating they, too , are human. Above all else be your number One cheerleader and advocate. When we stand up for ourself we teach others to do the same for themselves! Aren’t we after all worth it!