By Julie Fuimano
For many years, I was a lone ranger, doing things on my own, resistant of others’ help and support. Although friendly and well-liked, I never let anyone get too close. I never felt good about sharing my deepest thoughts and feelings, perhaps for fear of ridicule. Somehow, during my teenage years, I nurtured the belief that I had to be careful not to share too much, that it wasn’t okay to be myself (perhaps I wasn’t sure how to be comfortable at being me?). I felt very alone and just thought that this was how life was to be for me.
Now, looking back, I can see how I became this way. I can look back at those late teen years, the things that occurred, and see how this belief formed. Sometimes it’s not so easy to discover how our beliefs are formed. And that’s not really what’s important. It’s easy to get hung up on the “why” and the “how did get here?” But it’s an intellectual exercise that will never help you change your beliefs. What is important is that I became aware of this belief and how it was limiting my life. And I chose to adopt a new belief.
Keeping People Out
It’s not smart to be a lone ranger – it’s safe. By choosing to be alone, you keep people out. The attitude emanating from you is, “stay away, I want to be alone,” although, that may not be your conscious intention. This is actually very selfish. Because of your unwillingness to let anyone love you, you keep yourself and your special gifts and talents to yourself. Possibly you are not quite sure how to be comfortable being you. It’s not like they hand you a ‘how-to-be-yourself handbook’ when you finish high school. (If you received one, please share it with the rest of us!)
All it takes is for someone to break through your barrier, or for you to realize that you don’t need to do everything yourself and that we are social beings meant to connect and to share in love. You don’t need to hide behind an illusion that you are separate and alone. You are not alone. Stop hiding the best part of who you are! Your greatness lies in being able to share yourself with others.
Keeping Ourselves Out
Too often we live either as lone rangers, separate and disconnected from others, or we attempt to give all we have to others with no sense of self-regard. We can be so invested in giving to others or caretaking that we often give to our own detriment. We burn out, develop compassion fatigue, or become physically drained causing sickness, stress and unhappiness to ourselves and those around us.
Learning to love yourself is an important part of maturity. Learning to know yourself well, accept who you are and then learning to make wise decisions deriving from a genuine self-respect if fundamental to spiritual, psychological and physical health.
If you disregard you personal needs, you’ll harm yourself. You will also be unable to serve others and the world around you because you will become resentful. Resentfulness is a form of anger – at self – and it is energy draining. You may think that you are angry because others are taking advantage but the reality is that no one gets to take advantage of you without your permission.
Some people think they are helping others by doing everything for them, but the impact is that people do not learn to accept responsibility for them selves. It is imperative that you learn to care for your body, nurture your soul, save for your retirement, and eliminate the negative energy drains in your life.
I’ve learned that when I share myself with others and allow myself to open up and discuss my thoughts, feelings, fears, and doubts, others can relate to me on a much deeper level. We have so much more in common than we realize. As much as we’re all the same, we’re each unique. This is the human paradox. What you feel, I feel. The life lessons that I must learn, you will learn too. And yet there’s something that makes each of us unique and it’s at this place where we discover the differences we each have. It’s what makes people fascinating!
What we have in common, we share; we learn from each other new perspectives so that life becomes easier and more enjoyable. And what we see as unique and distinct in each other, we can help nurture in others. Our talents are those things that come so easily that we don’t realize just how special they are until someone tells us. This is where accepting a compliment is so important. You may brush it off as unimportant because you don’t realize the significance. But you need to hear what others have to share with you about you. Everyone needs encouragement, including you!
Most people are willing to give and provide support. They want to know that they are not alone. That’s why people read – to know they’re not alone. People want to make a difference; they want to feel included; they want the opportunity to get to know you – your thoughts, ideas, feelings, fears, and doubts – and they want to share their own. Let them in by sharing your heart with others with whom you feel comfortable and safe. Take a chance. You’ll find that it doesn’t make you vulnerable to open up; it’s strength. It’s also extremely liberating when you don’t have to hold back on being you.
Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN is a personal & career coach working with people who want to create a great life. Call now to explore how coaching would work for you (484) 530-5024. Sign up for our e-newsletter at www.nurturingyoursuccess.com or write to Julie@nurturingyoursuccess.com.