I want YOU to want ME.
That’s a great song by the band Cheap Trick. It’s also the source of so much misery I can hardly believe it. Those words may be the source of anything that’s wrong with us as a society.
Ok. I might be exaggerating a little, I’m also serious.
See this week’s episode gets its start from the qualities behind the word, Al Mu’izz, and I’m using a translation of that word that means something like “giver of praise or self-esteem.” It’s one of the 99 names of the divine and it’s talking about a quality of G-d that gives us self-esteem.
If you’re new to this series, you may not know that I never make assumptions about what you believe – or If a belief in a God has any part of what keeps you going.
Whatever you believe, where does your assurance and comfort and self-esteem come from? Have you always felt confident and assured from as far back as you can remember?
Are you a compulsive pleaser—needing to be liked at almost any cost?
Are you defensive and guarded—just sure that people will hurt you if you give them a chance?
Think about where those parts of your personality come from—where they got their start. It’s possible you were just born lonely, or confident, or whatever. And it’s also possible that part of this is a sort of programming, from your earliest time in this life.
Maybe it was a mother figure, although not everyone has one of those. Maybe it was a group that made you feel secure and loved. Maybe your religion or spirituality is such that you can feel the love of a god.
I’m convinced that we’re all just searching for someone to love us. Now sure, that may be overgeneralizing just a little, but think about it – this seeking of external validation -could explain a LOT.
It could have something to do with a divorce rate that seems so high. If two people decide to marry young, before they’re fully figured out who they are, there’s a good chance that at least one of them will be seeking approval and love and validation from someone other than themselves. This might be fine if it’s not the *only* source of love and validation, but what if it *is*?
It could have something to do with the rate of addiction we face: Drugs, alcohol, social media, food, sex, video games, religion — all are things that can provide pleasure. If our relationships with these things are healthy, they can be part of an overall picture that works.
What about when we use them to make up for something that’s missing, though? What about when we feel out of balance though? When there’s something missing – like a giant hole in us that we can’t seem to fill, no matter what we put in it?
For me, it was – and is – an addiction to work. I used to work 70 or 80 hours a week, moving up the corporate ladder. I learned that I could be successful in that environment, and the rewards felt good. Money, recognition, promotions, nice cars, a big house, and the trappings of success.
At some point, though, I recognized that I was out of balance. Instead of being my own source of self-worth, I found ways to be useful enough to *other* people, that they would then tell me how great I was, or how nice, or how smart, etc.
I eventually figured out, though, that this was just a way of distracting myself from the uncomfortable truth. I didn’t know how to love myself – how to find a wellspring of worth, and hope, and value INSIDE me. I never knew that there was a way to find a deeper and inexhaustible supply of love and praise that was always there – and I could access whenever I wanted!
Now don’t get me wrong- I don’t suggest you quit your perfectly good job and sell all your belongings and set out on a pilgrimage of the soul like I did five years ago.
In fact, I’d recommend against it. While I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything, I can tell you that the answer I was looking for all this time was right there all along.
Also – it’s not as if I have life all figured out… Hot Mess is my middle name. But I’m learning how to be okay with hot mess – in fact, I’m learning to LOVE it… because it’s MY hot mess, and I’m learning to love ME.
Have you found the source of your own strength and courage? – the one that you carry with you and that never runs out?
Are you still in search of it?
Or maybe you haven’t even thought about it until now.
Whatever the case, remember – we humans are meant to be in
If that’s the case, I send you comfort.
But you can send you comfort too. In unlimited amounts, any time you wish. You just need to find the keys to that castle inside you.