Much of the difficulty and struggle that we go through in life comes from our resistance to change. At some point, we get stuck in painful circumstances, yet we fear facing our reality and doing the work required to ignite a positive change. After all, the enemy we know is better than the enemy we don’t know. It’s not that bad, we tell ourselves. So we settle, give up on our desires, and try to make the best of what we got—and that works for a while. Until staying stuck becomes unbearable. Until we acknowledge that not dealing with our realities is making us sick. Until we realize that resisting change is self-betrayal. Until we say, enough!
Answer this question – Do your needs matter? Don’t knee-jerk response. Really think about that question. Does how you treat yourself support your answer? Really think about it because your answer to this question can impact more than you know – your mind, your body, your spirit, your family. When we live as if our needs don’t matter, we’re likely stuck in a cycle of self-betrayal or a pattern of minimizing our needs, boundaries, and dreams for the sake of stability, acceptance, or maintenance of the status quo. But the good news is that we don’t have to stay that way!
1. Committing to Heal—Shifting from Self-Abandonment to Self-Ownership
Most of us will seek change in our external circumstances first if we are not happy with our lives. This works well to a degree, but at some point, we hit a wall and realize we must look within and change ourselves too.
Healing is not for the faint-hearted. That’s why so many choose to never do this work. It is taxing and confronting, and there are no guarantees. You have to be willing to do difficult work, take action, and move out of your comfort zone in order to face fears you may have been running from your whole life. You have to be willing to take a punch and risk emotional pain while you move through your fears. Often, you will be tested and tempted to give up. Keep going! Show up for yourself and do the work—your future self will thank you!
2. Radical Self-Care—Shifting from Self-Neglect to Self-Worth
Being everything for everyone might make us feel productive and valued, but it’s also draining. And it’s unsustainable. This is a recipe for burnout and feeling powerless and neglected. Shifting from self-neglect requires that you invest in yourself first and foremost. This starts with establishing healthy boundaries, listening to your body, and owning your mental health. You recognize that, like plants, you too need to be nourished and tended to in order to thrive.
Self-care starts with creating healthy habits that promote relaxation, grounding, and growth in order to discharge stress. It’s also about eliminating stressors by setting clear boundaries of what you will allow—by saying “no” when you have to and “yes” only when you want to. It’s taking time to recharge before you get overwhelmed, and fill yourself up—body, mind, and soul.
Radical self-care goes one step beyond that. It is recognizing your addictions and the habitual behaviors that are keeping you stuck and shifting to new ways of being and behaving. It’s not chasing people or giving energy to relationships that are toxic to your well-being. It’s dropping the compulsive need to control the outcome. It’s realizing your worth and putting yourself first, recognizing that only then you can be truly present for others.
If self-care was not modeled for you as a child, this might feel selfish initially. Don’t fall back into neglecting yourself. Do the work of reparenting yourself and give yourself the love and care you need and deserve. You have the power to take control over your well-being and meet your own needs—this is how you shift from chronic overwhelm, anxiety, and depression to a more balanced way of living. It’s how you take your inner power back!
3. Mindfulness—Shifting from Autopilot to Awareness and Compassion
Learning to be mindful of your thoughts and feelings and staying in the moment despite the storm you may be feeling inside is very difficult, especially for those of us who experienced trauma. When things get hard—and they will—remember that no one is perfect, and everyone struggles in one way or another.
Don’t abandon yourself. Do your best to meet your internal experiences with presence and compassion. Remember to love yourself through whatever shows up—all parts of you need to be witnessed, accepted, and integrated.
4. Healing Trauma—Shifting from Self-Betrayal to Acceptance
Healing is an exploration of who we are at a deeper level. As we go through discovering ourselves again, we find what was lost, reconnect with our wounded parts, and remember what we wish to honor, support, and strengthen in ourselves going forward. Once you create distance between triggers and your patterns of reacting, you allow space for healing. This is where you discover you have the power to transform your pain into strength. Anchored in mindfulness, you stop glossing over your wounds, and—with compassion for your pain—you show up to deal with what hurts and has been hurting perhaps for decades.
You’re no longer willing to betray yourself. Instead, you face your fears, breathe through the pain locked in your body, and slowly dismantle your story around your inherent worth and your place in the world.
5. Empowerment—Shifting from Self-Rejection to Self-Love and Wholeness
Many of us have negative beliefs about ourselves that we’ve been shamed into believing, and now accept as truths. Deeply hidden, these stories keep us stuck and feeling “less than.” Unexamined, they sabotage our life and stop us from being who we truly are. Challenging and rewriting those beliefs can get us unstuck and moving forward again.
The opposite of self-betrayal is self-love. The journey of transformation is really a journey of self-love and coming into wholeness. It’s the recognition that we are inherently worthy—not flawed, less than, or damaged in some way, as we were led to believe. It’s unbecoming—dropping all the programming we’ve accepted as truths about ourselves and our place in the world. It’s showing up even when things aren’t comfortable. No more self-rejection, exile, and making yourself wrong.
Learn to trust yourself, knowing that you can draw on your inner strength to handle whatever comes next. Shift your energy toward building up and supporting yourself instead of focusing on what’s wrong or missing in your life. Don’t become my own ally— learn to love and support yourself, no matter what.
Once you recognize the ways in which self-betrayal is showing up in your life, you can’t unsee it and you can immediately begin moving away from self-betrayal and towards self-honor and joy!