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As long as Maria is tuned into to Andrea’s needs and feelings and not aware of her own, she will continue to be invisible to Andrea and others. Maria needs to learn to take all consciousness she developed over years regarding others’ feelings and needs and apply that same consciousness to her own feelings and needs. This is a difficult challenge because she has been practicing tuning into others while ignoring herself for her whole life.
I have had this same challenge. It was such a shock to me to discover years ago that, rather than being loving person I thought I was, I was attempting to control how others felt about me by being “nice”. By putting myself aside and doing what I thought others wanted me to do, and being what I thought others wanted me to be, I was trying to control getting love and approval and avoiding disapproval. The result was that I was anxious around others who were important to me, always fearing that I would say or do something wrong and experience rejection I so feared.
When I finally realized that being loving meant being loving to myself as well as to others, I turned my eyes inward and started to practice becoming aware of my own feelings and needs. Instead of making others responsible for defining my worth and lovability through their approval, I took on responsibility of defining my own worth and lovability. I developed a strong connection with a spiritual source of love and wisdom, which helped me to see truth of who I really am. I learned to be an advocate for myself, seeing myself and speaking up for my own feelings and needs rather than making others responsible for seeing me.
I am no longer a “good girl” having to do everything right to please others and gain their approval. I am no longer “nice” as a form of manipulation. That’s not to say that being loving to others is not a very high priority - it is. But now I include myself in equation rather than expecting others to love me enough to feel safe, adequate, worthy and lovable.
Maria is also learning to love herself rather than control others. At one point, she wanted to leave both her job and her relationship, but she realized that she would just continue same patterns in another job or relationship. By staying and learning to see and speak up for herself, her relationships with Andrea and her boyfriend are improving.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?", "Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org