One of my biggest challenges in sobriety is overcoming the need for assurance from others. Yup, I’m self-actualised enough to realise that I am needy! It’s part of myself that I fed with my addiction because when I was drinking I could dull this feeling with booze. If I was feeling a little uncertain I’d simply have a drink and wouldn’t feel so unsure anymore. When I was lacking in self-confidence I’d down a few shots and I’d be oozing poise. It’s not as if I am a wilting flower, but there are areas of myself that I still need to focus on and my self-worth is one of those things. It’s definitely not part of myself that I grew while I was drinking, because I developed a false sense of who I was before I got sober. It wasn’t stable or sustainable in any way, oscillating between the highs and lows of alcoholism.
So my neediness definitely stems from the fact that I never really established a true sense of self prior to my sobriety. And it’s exceedingly difficult to judge what’s real when you are morphing in and out of liquor-induced moods, be those good or bad. So there are days, like today unfortunately, when I look outside myself for reassurance that I am loved, wanted and needed. And even as I am doing it I realise that it’s a terrible idea. The moment the words leave my lips or the message disappear into cyberspace I have a stark moment of realisation when I rue what I’ve done. It follows the action almost instantaneously and I loathe myself a little for looking outside myself for what I should really only be drawing on what’s within.
The more time I spend on personal development the more I understand that we cannot look outside ourselves for constant reassurance of who we are. During the stable periods in my life I’m less prone to asking for external validation, but when I am emotionally and physically stressed and tired, I tend to look to others to bolster my personal worth. The irony is that I know that it is futile while I am doing it and it frustrates the people in my life depending on what they are personally dealing with at the time. And funnily enough I always seem to need this emotional boost when they are least able to offer me the support that I am angling for. On days like today when I want someone to “hold my hand” it often turns out that they are also having a less than perfect day. So what started as me simply feeling a little emotionally lost and wanting a little pick-me-up, ends of turning into a complicated emotional wrangle.
I’ve worked on my neediness with my coach and it goes hand in hand with increased anxiety levels and learning to quiet my egoic mind. When I’m tired and stressed I get anxious and when I get anxious I get needy! Because my ego starts to tell me I’m being ignored, undervalued and taken for granted. I’m completely aware of how it goes, the thing is that there are days when I feel like it has a life of its own and unfolds in front of me, while I watch in horror. Powerless to stop what is happening! So this year that is one of my personal goals – to stop looking outside of myself for the validation that I so crave at times, because this only creates personal drama and that in itself is an addiction of sorts that I’d rather steer clear of. So when I have my first coaching session of the year I already know what my coach and I are going to be working on. Finding the richness within myself that I need to draw on when I am feeling like I feel today…lonely, scared and sad…and all because I couldn’t find in myself the personal confidence I need on days like today to remind myself that “I exist as I am, that is enough”.
‘Til next time