I am a pleaser; I need others to be happy… with me. I need their thanks and adoration. I need congratulations and thanks. I need the nourishment it provides my ego. It builds me up in ways that I just can’t do for myself. If I am something in someone else’s eyes then I matter. Can a work of art evaluate itself? No, so how can I find worth in myself?
I don’t like me.
I don’t like who I am or who I've been. I constantly find others that I can be someone else around and then be loved for that mask. I find people who can give me praise for my deeds and wisdom and find value amongst their words. I seek out that affirmation like a dehydrated traveler in a vast, empty desert. Every drop hits my lips like a wave of refreshment bringing life back into my soul. It never lasts long enough and when my skin turns dry, cracking like an old piece of leather, I frantically reach out for the next bit of praise.
I am the worst kind of parasite. Latching on to someone, bringing them something they need but in turn I am using them for their love. Every act I do for them brings me some little morsel of nourishment to my broken soul. Drinking as often as possible fills me up immensely and drives my ego wild. When that relationship has dried up, when the superficial feedings are not enough or when they try and get too close I run. I detach and go elsewhere for my meals. I hide it well, but secretly my heart cries out for the love that they may have given me. My pride gets in the way and instead of humility and vulnerability I place up a shield around my heart, around my mind. With cleverly crafted words, faces that hide my inmost emotions and lies layered upon lies I can cut ties in an instant. Sometimes there is scarring left behind but most times I can leave someone alone and take the scars upon myself. “This is for the best” I tell myself. Feelings of guilt mix so well within the feelings of fear that I can trick myself into believing that leaving is what’s best for them, that leaving is the noble thing to do. That I can take all the pain that would have befallen them and hold onto it for myself. I leave, a small child somewhere within cries out, blubbering through tears and agony to be freed. I do my best to quiet this inner voice and remind myself that I am strong enough to do this on my own.
I am not strong enough because relying on my own abilities has gotten me nowhere. All these patterns are useless and bring me more and more pain. Instead of calling out for help in my times of trouble I internalize feelings that long ago should have been shared with another. I hide away hoping that no one will see my shame and recognize my pain. I put on mask after mask and the only tell tale sign of my own internal turmoil is the occasional outburst. There is pain and anger only inches below the surface but I guard the entrance into this world with such force that anyone who approaches is waved off all too quickly.
Too much focus is put on my safeguards that I never truly delve into myself.
Sure I tell people I am fine and I fool myself into thinking I am doing it on my own, but this is another layer of the lies. So much of my energy is focused outwardly and on distractions that I never truly seek out the darkest places within myself. Part of this is out of laziness. Who wants to dig and sort through the piles of junk that have been untouched for years? Most of it is out of fear, fear of truly facing myself. Fear of finding out the truth about just how fallen and broken I am. Without knowing the whole truth I can further delude myself into thinking that it isn't that bad. I can continue living a charade of someone who isn't hurting and focus on so many other things around me. Beyond this I do not delve out of another fear, a greater fear. A fear of something so utterly unbelievable that I makes my soul want to hide at the very though. A fear that I am loved and have worth outside of the eyes of another. I am afraid of this realization because it is so foreign to me. I am afraid because it would be such a hard pill to swallow that trying to visualize it makes my lungs tighten against themselves, forcing the air from my being.
God, bring me the ability to let go of my need for approval. Let me stop hiding in the praise and words of others, finding my value and worth there is never enough and I know I am meant for more. Teach me that while I cannot do this on my own that the adoration of another is not who I am, it is not what makes me loved. Remind me that I can never find enough love from someone else to justify my eternal life. Show me your love. Show me how to love myself and to find myself worthy of love. Show me how to open the lock so rusted with years. Help me God to see in me what I know you see in me. Amen.