Let that go!
It’s Exhausting to Get Your Inner Calm From Other People
Imagine that you are on a new mom with a baby. Whenever the baby cries, you get anxious. You do everything you can to calm the baby, and can’t relax until the baby is fine.
Sometimes you know exactly what the baby wants, and sometimes you don’t. So, the anxiety can last a long time.
And when the baby is calm, you still can’t chill out because you want to make sure everything is quiet so the baby sleeps. You make sure the baby has enough food and toys so that everything is to his liking and he won’t get upset. Your life revolves around the baby’s needs.
Now imagine that it’s not a baby, but a full grown adult.
That’s what it’s like when you have an “I’m okay if you’re okay” program running in the shadows.
How Does This Develop?
When we are all small children, our environment teaches us how to see the world and ourselves. There are four basic positions:
I’m okay. You’re okay.I’m okay. You’re not okay.I’m not okay, you’re okay.I’m not okay, you’re not okay.
Anything other than “I”m okay, you’re okay” can be an “I’m okay if you’re okay” program.
It’s a way of living where I have to put your needs ahead of my own so that I feel safe, that I am good enough, and I won’t be abandoned.
The Consequences of “I’m okay if you’re okay”
While it may seem powerful to be in such a position because there is so much control and validation, it comes at a high cost. Let’s look at some of them.
Your needs come last or never.Your self-esteem is never within your control.It’s an exhausting way to live.You are never authentic because you are in people pleasing mode 24/7.You are other focused all the time and may miss out on your own experience of life.It’s easy to not know what you think or feel because you often deny your truth if you think it’s not acceptable to others.You’re anxiously searching for approval and avoiding judgment.You can’t trust yourself because you rarely practice following your own judgment.You may not be trustworthy if your opinion flip flops depending upon who you have to please.You may give up your hopes and dreams because they are not acceptable to someone else.
How to Break the Cycle
Accept That Everyone Is Good
The first switch is to see everyone as good.
I know this is a radical departure for a lot of people who judge everything and everyone.
The key to making this stick is to separate behavior from identity. If I do something wrong, it doesn’t make me a bad person. It just means I did something that wasn’t great.
I can be a good person who makes a mistake.
Let Go of Judgments
It’s not enough to accept that everyone is good. We have to make sure to keep the slate clean of any judgments that can move people into the “not okay” position – including ourselves.
We make unconscious judgments all the time and so quickly that we don’t even catch them, so you really have to pay attention if you want to break this habit.
For example, I saw a large, elderly woman struggling to get out of her car and a young women in an SUV pulled into the open parking spot next to her and got right up on her.
Now, I don’t know what the young woman was thinking, but what I saw conveyed something like, “Hurry up, old woman. You’re taking up too much space. I’ve got things to do.”
A short cut for all that is “I’m okay, you’re not okay.”
When they are both in the “I”m okay” position, the older lady can take the time that she needs and the younger one can wait patiently or even ask her if she needs assistance.
When we’re both okay, we have the best shot at connecting, understanding, and appreciating each other.
Even when a storm is raging outside, you can have peace and calm inside.
You don’t have to fix someone else’s distress. Just mind your own center.
It’s easier said than done. So, if you want help with this, join the Let It Go Now Community and learn the skills and support to let go of the things that stand in the way of happiness, success, and authenticity.