Is Self-Doubt Ruining Your Friendships? In order to have lasting relationships you can’t compare yourself to others. Learn to dump the baggage and accept yourself. BY DR. LINDA MILES
Lasting friendships will appear when you ditch the self doubt and take off the mask of trying to be someone else.
“ Many people waste a lot of time with depressing inner judgments before beginning the practice of compassionate self-acceptance.”
If you want to build a lasting friendship, you must be a friend to yourself first. Many people are convinced they cannot have a friendship because of the way they think… literally. They are hampered by a negative mindset that they can’t believe in themselves or their ability to create and maintain a lasting relationship. It's time to shake away the self-doubt and embrace your burning truth.
What I refer to as a "friendship on fire" is about getting into your flow and being real. If you have become bogged down in self-condemnation as a result of early life decisions related to siblings, competition, disappointments in school, family conflict, or peer pressure, you have loads of company. Lots of people have wandered into this haze and lost touch with their true selves. Fearing that their defects will be discovered, people will cling to faux selves and try to hide what they perceive as unacceptable inadequacies.
Many people waste a lot of time with depressing inner judgments before beginning the practice of compassionate self-acceptance. They do not recognize that they walk around in a world covered with ash from their own ego eruptions blocking out their loving light shining through the present moment. These eruptions have consequences, but there are also lessons to be learned.
A good question to ask after losing anything in life is, "How much of my suffering is about me, and how much is about the loss?" Most of what I have heard over the years is that of either self-imposed suffering or self-recrimination from those who failed to appreciate the good relationships in their lives. In each case, the focus has been on rehashing yesterday’s news rather than learning the lessons and moving on.
This can happen relatively easy. When you encounter people you regard as cool, popular, attractive, and capable of doing things you would like to do, you start comparing yourself to them. Inhibited by your sense of inadequacy and fearful of rejection, you hold back from being authentic and alive in the moment. You may be hampered by blinders that won’t let you see beyond your own defects.
How do you know if a false self limits your life? Here are the symptoms:
* Being preoccupied with fantasy folks like movie or pop stars.
* Becoming tongue-tied as you search for the perfect thing to say.
* Feeling mushy-headed in the presence of "cool" people.
* Thinking that if you are chosen for something, it has to be a mistake.
* Walking into a crowded room and wondering what everyone thinks of you instead of what you think of them.
* Driven to distraction with the idea that you need to run before others discover your defects.
* Choosing to act "cool" instead of dancing.
It takes courage to go for a friendship on fire. You need to dump a lot of baggage filled with costumes and disguises and risk rejection. When your relationship is a friendship on fire, you are vulnerable, yet safe. You come home to yourself and nourish the deep desire to be known and accepted.
Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.drlindamiles.com or followed on Twitter.