Showing Up Isn't Always Easy
Growing up, I’d occasionally hear the saying ‘the only person who is ever truly there for you is yourself’. Often times it was said in the context of someone who was burned by a friend or partner and was meant to denounce any and all close ties with other people in an attempt to remain safe. That’s fair enough. It sucks to be hurt by the people we love.
The part of this saying that sticks out to me is that only ourselves will remain when others have abandoned us; only we can be trusted to show up. I find this to be overly simplistic because it assumes that we intuitively know how to show up for ourselves. What if we don’t? There have been many times in my life when I deserted myself in moments I needed my support the most. Sure, other people can hurt me, but I can also hurt myself.
Showing up for yourself might not be so straightforward, but don’t give up just yet.
I want to pause here to say that I don’t overly agree with the saying I stated above. I think that, yes, people can cause us pain, but we can work through it and learn to trust them again. Likewise, we can cause our own pain, but we can also learn to trust ourselves again.
So how do we do it? Similar to how it takes time and energy to trust other people, it takes just as long to build that trust internally. I’ve learned that it requires me to be honest with myself in my perspectives, both internally and externally directed ones. Sometimes these truths feel better hidden under the rocks they reside instead of out in the open for me to see. For example, it sucks to have to acknowledge that sometimes I feel that I deserve emotional pain because I think I did something wrong. It equally sucks when I begin to realize that I use it as justification for not soothing myself when I’m hurting. In other words, I’m not showing up for myself because I think that I don’t deserve it.
Why should I have to show up for myself if no one else is?
When I find myself in this position, it’s common to become focused on external factors. It’s easier to blame others for my pain and sorrows because it takes responsibility off of my own stake in the game. It’s much harder to confront myself when I’m hurting if I’m the culprit. This isn’t to say that others are never the reason for my troubles, they surely can be. But the more I think about my part the more I understand the role I play.
Through kindness and honesty, trust can be built.
By showing up for myself, I’m making a statement that I’m worthy of my own time, energy and love. I’m being honest with the fact that I can be harsh to myself, but I can be equally as nurturing. I might have a hard time stepping up every time, but in the moments when I do, I’m teaching myself that it’s possible. The key to learning how to show up for myself, I think, is being willing to try. If someone who has hurt me apologized for their actions and promised to work hard to do better, I’d certainly be willing to hear them out. Therefore, I should be willing to extend the same courtesy to myself.