The joy of surrendering to love is one of life’s blessings. Unfortunately, the twin nemesis of expectations and neediness often create barriers to love, whilst allowing fear to slip through and hold sway.
How do I know? I know because, I allowed myself to be a victim of expectations and neediness for a large chunk of my life. I believe it started at a young age when, I confused getting my genuine needs met, with demanding as much attention as I could get.
The more my demands were met, the more my expectations grew into the belief that, if I cried long enough I would eventually get the attention I desired. The problem was I never grew out of it. Consequently, without realising, I had placed my happiness and well-being into the hands of others.
Don’t blame my parents. With five of us to attend to they did a brilliant job. Feelings, emotions and all points in-between never came into the equation. It wasn’t the ‘done thing’ to discuss topics such as these. Goodness me, NO.
The problems, growing from my expectations and all-consuming neediness, was never addressed. Hey ho, that’s just how things were.
Honestly I grew up in a golden age. I’ve always known how lucky I am. It didn’t matter how much I believed my expectations were left unmet, or my neediness side-lined, I knew that, nevertheless, I was a lucky person.
As long as I behaved at school, ate what was put in front of me and returned home at the proper times, I could pretty much run free. I had friends and family to share good times with, I was blessed.
If the world was my oyster, why did I pushed it away? The dust in my eyes prevented me from appreciating how blessed I was. With my expectations spiraling out of control, I grew my attitude of wanting more instead.
This attitude spilled over into all areas of my life. And, let’s face it, what you focus on grows.
So there I was. A spoiled adult with the world at her feet. I must have looked as if I had it all. And it was wonderful. From everything acquired, to amazing times with family and friends, life was a roller coaster ride called fun. At least, it was while it was happening.
As soon as I was on my own, those same, old, destructive beliefs come knocking at my consciousness. I hate to admit it, but they were old friends and I gladly let them in. Because I had placed my happiness and well-being in the hands of all those ‘others’, how could I begin to appreciate myself for who I really was? Much easier to beat myself up.
Hindsight is a wonderful gift. I can look back now and see it all clearly. The gifts that were me, were already in place. The gifts I’d missed because, I was too busy wanting more. Neediness spilling out from me as I tried to pin people down with my expectations. Anything to give me what I thought I needed from them.
Oh, how it hurt as those people did their best to untangle my needs from their own. This in turn fed my fears. The fears were never far away. My imagination whispered the truth, telling me that I wasn’t quite good enough. Again. It’s amazing how much proof you’ll find if you look hard enough.
Luckily, the Universe finds ways to enable each of us to learn to love ourselves exactly as we are. Some will learn quickly. Some, like me, will take longer. The timescale doesn’t matter. If you’re willing, you will get there.
A book, a film, or, a chance remark nudges your inner spark to investigate more. The first step back to inner well-being is taken. Followed by another, then another. Your return to love is lit with a growing light shining from within.
My journey back to joy has been a story of trail and error. It’s been peppered with events and people who have mirrored my expectations, my neediness straight back at me. It’s been painful. But the pain was always, always triggered my expectations, my neediness.
Now I’m able to recognise that my fears come from within me. They didn’t solve my problems. They added to them.
I learnt that when I’m willing to surrender my expectations, my needs, to love, eventually they fade away. What’s left is a feeling of immense happiness, of peace of mind. A whisper of a solution to a problem. And so my inner well-being is fed and watered, rather than my fears.
In my book, ‘7 Steps to Inner Well-Being‘, I share some of the steps I took to disperse my fears. It takes time, as well as willingness, to unlock the beliefs that trap you in the wilderness. Practice, as well as mindfulness, will make each step easier.
I discovered all paths lead to the same solution. Whilst this is the truth for me, it may not be the truth for you. That’s for you to investigate as you forge your own path back to love.
With huge thanks to Nurturing Life for the wonderful photo.