The Calming Book of Healing Hugs calls you to hug yourself as well as others. A self-hug serves to bring you balance and reassurance that “you are not alone – you have you”. This is an important reminder, especially for those of us who don’t often feel that way and we look instead to others for that reassurance. On one level this is fine, of course, but if we rely too heavily on other people’s assurance then this might be an issue. It is natural to want to be liked and want our friends and family to agree with us and support our decisions. But what happens if they don't agree? If their disapproval makes you feel uncomfortable and you decide that want to fit in with their expectations of you then you might be in a pattern of over compliance.
You may find yourself being overly compliant to seek approval from others and in the long run this can have damaging consequences for our self-esteem. Once we have this approval, we 'should' be happy but if we are constantly operating from this space then likely it is draining the joy from our soul and we are feeling miserable, trapped, and leaving ourselves open to be taken advantage of. If people come to learn that you hardly ever say no to their requests, then there may be some who will use this for their own benefit regardless of whether it is good for you.
It is normal to be more compliant in some areas but sometimes defiant in others. However, if you learned that being a 'good girl' or 'good boy' and complying with other people’s rules is the only way to feel ok, then you aren't being true to yourself. You are living out a version of someone else’s life because you are scared of upsetting or losing them. When we are being overly compliant, we are acting in the belief that other people are more important than us and that our voice and opinion doesn't matter.
If we behave or feel this way for too long then it might start to feel like that no matter how hard we try, we simply can't get it right or be good enough, it can cause us to become secretive, act recklessly, or try to be domineering. We may put on a kind of armour to protect ourselves from being hurt or exploited again. This behaviour comes from a place of feeling unsafe and insecure. It can also create extreme independence and loneliness because it doesn't feel safe to be vulnerable and ask for help. We may feel that others can't be trusted or relied upon, so we might as well do it all ourselves. It’s exhausting isn’t it! So, what is the alternative?
It is important to turn our focus back on ourselves. We don’t stop caring for or about others, but we do need to strike a balance between caring for others and honouring our own needs too. We must learn to take care of our own needs first, otherwise, we will end up with nothing left to give, which just continues to feed the cycle of compliance. We need to actively work on our self-worth. Our worth doesn't come from how likeable we are, how much we give or what we achieve. It's a deep inner knowing that who we are (irrespective of what we do) is more than enough.
And part of building our self-worth is recognising the importance of self-care as a daily practice of acknowledging our needs and meeting them. That can start with hugging ourselves. Like the Calming Book says, “a hug is a pathway to your inner-self”. There you can find the “power of the energy within and how powerful you are as a being”. Hugging yourself can give you the ability to find solutions within yourself and to find peace and healing. As a daily practice the Calming Book recommends that when you rise in the morning you start the day by wrapping your arms around yourself. Let that be your first treat of the day. That first act of self-care and self-love. Don’t wait for someone else to do that for you. Find other ways too to hug yourself, such as:
· Running a warm bath
· Wrapping yourself in your favourite comfy scarf or jumper
· Place a drop of Bergamot essential oil on your top or in your bath which will help you feel calm and peaceful
Most of all, like we said at the beginning, always remember “you are not alone – you have you”.
Until the next time,