When Andrew was little, he would often try his best to get his parent’s attention. He would joke, perform, clean, get good grades, and do anything else that he thought would make his parents see him. Andrew was too young at the time to realize that his parents were living paycheck to paycheck. His parents were too stressed and exhausted to pay attention to him. Andrew started to feel like he didn’t deserve attention or love, and he became more independent. His feelings of being undeserving made it difficult for him to ask for help and to accept love from others.
Sometimes, when people have been neglected, bullied, betrayed, or lied to, they might not feel safe to depend on others. They might form an emotional wall that protects them from getting hurt. Unfortunately, this wall also prevents others from getting close enough to care and love them.
Leaning into the good stuff means asking and accepting help, giving and receiving love, and having compassion for yourself and others. Here are some pointers on how to lean into the good stuff when trust has been a challenge.
- Understand your confirmation bias. Andrew felt like he was undeserving. Therefore, he tended to accept and take in negative words from others instead of positive words. More people were complimenting him than criticizing him, but he believed he was criticized more than he was complimented. He was unable to hear the things that he did not believe.
- Look for trust and safety. Andrew did not feel safe to get close to others because he found it challenging to trust and to feel safe. What Andrew needed to do was to look for safety cues in people and in his environment.
- Push out of your comfort zone. Letting someone in after you have been hurt can be a challenge. The only way to begin to develop relationships is to push through the uncomfortable feelings and let safe people in.
- Receive love and help with your whole self. When someone tries to give you acceptance, love, and gratitude, take it, and feel it with your whole body.
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