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Yes to Me

by Amber Tolbert

This time of year always seems to get a little more frenzied. No matter how much I prepare, something is sure to set my schedule or my mood off the rails. The stress of the holidays can take its toll.

As a child, I was taught to put others’ needs first: open the door for the person behind you…share what you have…listen before you speak. Be kind. Turn the other cheek. Forgive. I witnessed my mother putting everyone else’s needs before her own. That approach became ingrained in my DNA. I learned to hide my needs because it would cause conflict or danger. In fact, I perfected NOT having needs so others always took priority, and I received praise for it!

The more I learned to take care of others’ needs before my own, the more I developed an external locus of control. Putting others first was safer, after all. Yet the challenge with that external locus of control was I also learned not to listen to my body. I would ignore, avoid, or develop other habits so that I wouldn’t feel the cues my body would send.

The result is that, along with the ability to protect myself and survive, I lost the ability to have a relationship with myself.

I lost the ability to say “yes” to me.

To this day, I have moments of regression, moments when I, myself, Amber becomes unimportant. Events such as the holidays only seem to provide an opportunity for exacerbating that problem.

But, through my recovery, I’ve found the gift of self-awareness. Now, when I sense myself regressing, I pay attention. I listen to my body and have an internal locus of control so I can hear the messages: I’m hungry, I’m tired, or I’m afraid. In other words, I start recognizing what I need, and I ask for it. I say “no” to others so I can say “yes” to me.

Paying attention has become a powerful tool. It has allowed me to attend to others’ needs while keeping my own needs in mind. It has given me the ability to put myself first. If you’re seeking something similar, particularly as the holidays approach, please reach out. Look at it this way: you are just as important as others. You’re not saying that you’re “more important,” but you are just as important.

It’s okay to listen to your needs, put yourself first, and say “yes” to you. Click the link below to get in touch today!

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