“Never underestimate the power of making someone feel special.”
As a blue personality type, and being a “fixer”, this is second nature to me. I enjoy making people I care for feel special. Whether in a relationship, friendship or just an acquaintance. I have always had a knack for giving the right gift or saying the right words or being there for someone at the right time. This is something that has always made me feel good; I enjoy doing for others. How do you get that way? Are you born with your personality? Is it genetic, or learned, or a little of both? I have thought about this a lot lately and my conclusion is we are all born with certain tendencies, but behaviors are learned and change throughout your life. Sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse! But the real conclusion I’ve drawn is that we treat people the way we want them to treat us, often to our disappointment. We cannot influence others behaviors with our own, no matter how much we want it.
I have been forced to take a hard look at many things in my life lately that I really didn’t want to look closely at. (Hiding from reality seems to be human nature.) One of those things is how I treat people and why I treat them the way I do. Some actions I am really proud of and some, I am sad to say, I am not.
Simple request: “I want to feel special!” A few weeks ago I said this to someone who had no idea what I was getting at. This seems like it should be obvious, right? Well it’s not obvious to everyone and in fact I believe there are some people who may have never heard this concept!! In all seriousness, we are ultimately in control of our own feelings and we choose the way we react to situations in our lives. We cannot control how others treat us, and we cannot expect them to treat us the at way we want to be treated. But, we can absolutely control how we react to their treatment. This is something I have not excelled at. It, in fact, has been very hard for me to accept the treatment that I have received because it was much like my upbringing…too little, too late. Harsh. Inconsiderate. Like it or lump it. I can assure you I never liked it, but I learned to deal with it.
As a young girl, I learned the hard way that I was in charge of my own life, my own happiness, my own care and my protection. Sure, most of the time I had a roof over my head (not always) but if I wanted something, I had better work for the money to get it. I spent the majority of my high school years working and doing whatever I could to stay away from home. I spent very little time there and often lived with my oldest brother due to instability and fighting in my home. I didn’t feel safe in my own home and I wasn’t protected or cared for. I can recall turning to friends parents when I was sick or hurting because I had no care at home. One particular mom used to take me in, give me ibuprofen and a hot bath and rub my back until I went to sleep when I was sick. Something my own mother should have done, but never, once did. I will forever be grateful for the kindness other people showed me, even though I was looked down on because of my family’s situation. Even through the humiliation, I felt more love than I did at home.
As always, I don’t say these things to start a pity party – this was my reality. This is something that shaped me into the strong woman that I became. I left home 2 days after graduating. May 16, 1989. I may have only moved 4 miles from home, but I was gone. I was on my own and I was happy and felt safe for the first time in my life. I turned 18 that summer and a year later at 19, I moved to Colorado because I couldn’t get far enough from that small town that was smothering me. I worked, I went to college, I paid my bills, I took care of myself. I was extremely resourceful. I learned things by 19 that most don’t learn until they’re 30. On the up side, I learned independence; on the down side I learned I could only count on ME. I was the only one looking out for me and honestly, it’s been a very lonely life because I rarely let anyone in. Truly “in”.
In hindsight, as tough as I act, I wish I would have had someone to take care of me, nurture me and protect me the way I have done for my daughter. She is my everything. We butt heads like sisters and sometimes people just shake their heads at our relationship, but she knows that I am in her corner and would die protecting her. Nobody will ever hurt her without going through me. I never had that. Today, at 45, I long for that. I am tired and the little girl inside wants somebody to take care of her and love her unconditionally. I thought I found it, but I was mistaken. I am right back to feeling like a little girl and hiding out with anxiety and panic and scared to go outside because I am at risk of being hurt. I don’t trust, I don’t believe, and I don’t allow myself to love or be loved in the unconditional way I want and deserve.
What I have learned about this, is that I am the only one that has the power to change all of this! I am learning to love myself, unconditionally, which I have never done. I have always been the first one to see every flaw that I have. I am very critical of myself and I haven’t given myself credit for half of what I deserve. With the life I was exposed to, it’s a damn miracle I am even half way normal! (Although normal is relative…) I am learning to appreciate myself, my abilities and everything that I have to offer. I practice daily telling myself that I am a chosen child of God, I am loved, I am special and I am perfectly imperfect. And so are you! Don’t judge yourself, don’t judge others; that is God’s job. We can only love ourselves and one another and praise him for what he has given us. This is not an easy thing, I know. It literally takes daily practice. But if you’re like me and have been in the habit of self-loathing – this is a practice you need to be doing daily. Pray every morning. Pray throughout the day, pray every moment you struggle. Thank God for every breath and thank God for every thought, whether it is negative or positive. It’s not easy to thank the Lord for a negative thought we are having, but I can assure you that it will quickly change your way of feeling and thinking. Ask God to take your burdens, to change the thoughts in your head and show you the beauty in things around you. Ask him for forgiveness in your heart for those that have hurt you, take the anger and bring you peace. It is sometimes hard to hear Him beyond the clutter and madness in our own brains, but if you can take a moment and find the calm in the storm of your mind, it will help you and eventually, we will find the love, peace and forgiveness that we seek.
Again, I remind you…only we have that power, along with God of course, to change our mindset and our thoughts. When you find a way to change these habits, you’ll find that everything around you begins to fall into place. The people that you attract will change, the business you seek will flourish and the love you desire will appear. Your heart will be content, even if not from a significant other, but just yourself and God. So remember the quote we started with – “Never underestimate the power of making someone feel special.” Start with YOU. Make yourself feel special, love yourself and know the power that you hold within your heart!