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What Do You Want?

I’ve learned how to treat myself like I’m insignificant. At some point during my childhood I internalized that focusing on my wants and needs meant I was selfish and inconsiderate. So I overcompensated by making sure I listened to other people and made them feel important and heard, while minimizing my own wants and needs. What I wanted and needed became inconsequential. I subconsciously told myself, “It’s not about you. What you want and need isn’t important.” As a result, I became silent hoping that people would figure out what I wanted and needed and give it to me. I dared not make it known by asking because that would be selfish. So I kept it to myself.

But that didn’t make my wants and needs disappear, it just caused me to seek it in other ways. From men. I subconsciously told myself that if I can get a man to choose me, then I would be fulfilled. That would resolve the unhappiness within myself. Since I’ve never experienced what it was like to be chosen by a man, I figured that was the answer. So internally this longing and deep desire began to develop for a man to choose me. It became the underlying mission and motivation to be in a relationship. At some point I believed that performing would get me to be chosen so I became like a world renowned actress, studying my lines and perfecting my craft so I could be what I thought “he” wanted. But somehow I always came up short. My performance was never good enough to land the leading role of being “his” main lady. Each time I exerted so much energy but came up empty, which led to frustration and discouragement. I thought, “When will I I ever find the man that will choose me?”

Well, this morning as I sat in silence reflecting on yesterday’s session with my life coach, a bright light came on and the answer to my burning question became crystal clear. There was a power leak in me that needed to be plugged. Men had become my source of power which is why I so desperately needed them to choose me. However, the real truth was I WASN’T CHOOSING ME. On a daily basis I downplayed my wants and needs which sent a message to myself that I wasn’t important.

For example, instead of saying “hey, I’m not doing well today and need some encouragement or time to process my emotions” I just shut down, isolate myself, and hope someone asks what’s wrong. Or, instead of saying, “I only have a few minutes to talk because I need to take care of something or get some rest” I continue to stay on the phone allowing the person on the other end to talk and talk. These things may seem small, but it’s little things like that that sends the big message to myself that “I don’t matter.” Therefore, I wasn’t choosing what was best for me; not realizing that I was the one to tell myself that I was important. So instead of me doing it, I was looking for someone outside of me to do it. Power leak.

So what’s the solution? Understanding what I want and need and letting that be known. Standing up for myself to change the message within that I am important. I matter. The only one who can teach that to me, is me. It’s the little things that helps to shift that message. When I want something, say it. When I need something, ask for it. Speak up and stand up for me. When I treat myself like I’m important I teach myself how I want others to treat me. All this time I’ve been on an invisible bull horn begging for a man to choose me when really I was yelling to myself…”SHAVON, CHOOSE ME!!!”

I share this wondering if you have a power leak too? It shows up in how you allow others to treat you. What do you do with your wants and needs? Are you vocal about them or do you keep them to yourself? Are you ready to plug that leak and stand for you?

~Shavon Carter, the “You” Relationship Coach

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