I just got off the phone with a client who was talking through wanting to reach out to someone in her church… but being afraid of doing it. She feels awful about herself, like she isn't what she should be. Too timid. Too scared. She's been sitting on it for months and dreading the call, but continued to feel compelled to do it. So, we talked about it and she had figured out that she just needed to do it and finally pushed herself, made the call and thought - "why didn't I do that earlier?"
Have you ever had this happen to you? I have SO many times. As we talked it through I asked her if she ever stopped the internal bashing, where she tried to bully herself into doing what she didn’t want to do by invalidating her own feelings, and instead decided to be a friend to herself and see her thoughts and feelings as valid. The idea goes something like this: "I can tell that I really don’t want to do this and so there must be a reason. What is the reason?" It's a very simple response where you are seeing the obvious signs and trying to seek understanding. In this case, the reason was that the woman she was calling was a bit of a grouch and she was afraid of the woman and her response to a call. Then, the follow up question is, "what are you afraid she will do? Say something mean, be irritated that you are bothering her*, think you are not nice? What could happen? What do you fear?"
Independent of the specific answer it all boils down to, you are afraid of being hurt because you are vulnerable. Why are you vulnerable? Because you don't think much of yourself. Your response, nine times out of ten, is to bully yourself into doing things, is to talk down to yourself, label yourself as 'stupid,' 'too slow,' as 'not enough,' as 'insignificant' especially compared to others.
To answer my client's question - 'How do I worry less about things like this? I especially stress about calling people, helping people, reaching out.'
The answer is, be good to yourself and over time you will see that you are better able to be good to others.
If you tell yourself on a regularly basis that you aren't good. If your internal dialogue is mostly negative (and that is the norm by the way), then you need others' approval. You need to have a good reaction; a good outcome or you are going to feel even worse about yourself… and you have created a situation where you are so sensitive and life is so precarious because you are put down so frequently that you doubt your own abilities. Our thoughts create our emotions and so when we bash ourselves and put ourselves down so frequently, it's no wonder that we don’t feel good enough to reach out to others and know we have something to offer. Ironically, those who care most can do the least because they are paralyzed by the fact that they care so much and they don't know if they are enough to do the things they really want to. To truly help others and be of aid.
But, what is the reality? You ARE a good person. You are trying to do good things and you are doing your best with the information available to you and so there is no reason to be down on yourself. You are human and make mistakes, but how can you be faulted for not knowing everything? For not being perfect yet? You can't. SO STOP TRYING TO DO IT!!!
You are fabulous. That is all. It's time to give up on being your own worst frenemy.