I want to be seen. I want to be acknowledged, most people do, if not all. A hello or a nod on the street goes a long way. The problem with growing up in a limited household is that people didn’t always get that attention. Everybody is or was always too busy. Folks don’t recognize the importance of acknowledging their fellow man. Or, maybe they do, but they don’t want to be the first to do it. No one wants to be put in a position to be taken advantage of, or to feel like the nerd. No one wants to do it first. What about me we’re asking. I acknowledge you. Who’s acknowledging me? The trick is to fill your own cup first, like that whole airplane oxygen mask thing. Put the oxygen mask over your face first.
A lot of people didn’t get what they felt they needed emotionally as children so there’s a constant feeling of emptiness, an unfulfilled need, a half-filled cup with a drip drop of water not allowing the cup to be filled. The cup is also tipped slightly so even if there were a steady flow of water, the cup never gets filled. You’re the cup. You got that right?! What to do first? Sit the cup upright on a stable foundation and let the flow of emotional water fill your cup.
When we start out with lack, our first instinct is to seek fulfillment outside ourselves. As we hopefully blossom into mature adults, we grow to understand that fulfillment comes from within. Emotional fulfillment comes from within. So, we start to exercise that muscle. We gradually start to take care of ourselves first. We then stop looking for fulfillment outside of ourselves. We start to dwell in that feeling of, “so, this is what it’s like to feel taken care of.” Not gonna lie. It can feel uncomfortable, as new things do. It can even feel a little scary, maybe even a lot. You bask in the feelings and start to ask yourself, if I can take care of myself, then why do I need other people? Don’t worry. You don’t need to have other people take care of you, but it can still feel desirable to have company. It feels better having company around when you’re emotionally healthy.
Start with something small. Acknowledge yourself. Look in the mirror and say “hello.” Look yourself right in the eye and say “hello.” Really look. Hang there for about five seconds, perhaps three if it gets to be too much. That’s it. Go on with your day.
We don’t realize it but we are in front of mirrors several times throughout the day: brushing our teeth, combing our hair, putting on makeup, sunscreen, washing our faces, washing our hands after using the bathroom. You are washing your hands afterwards? Right? Every time? Every time! Well, there’s usually a mirror there. Look into it. Say, “hello,” five, four, three, two, one. That is all. Acknowledge you first. Build that muscle, then we’ll go from there.