How “Selfishness” is Helping Me Heal

By

When I was a child, I somehow got the idea from my family that I couldn’t have what I wanted.

When I asked for gymnastic lessons, my mother couldn’t be bothered with taking me back and forth to lessons.

When I asked if I could learn to play the piano, she said crossly, “Where would we fit a piano in this house?”

I’ve written about how I was triggered on Fourth of July by memories of never getting a helium balloon at the parade, and how that and other things led to my forming the beliefs, “I can’t have what I desire. Other people will think I’m selfish and reject me if I do or ask for what feels right for me.”

Which eventually led to a feeling of guilt and shame for even desiring anything pleasurable. Which eventually shut me down.

Hearing teachings by various spiritual leaders only reinforced the idea: It’s selfish to seek what I desire, wrong to seek pleasure and avoid pain. One renowned religious radio teacher even said repeatedly, “If you have a choice between the easy way and the hard way, always choose the hard way” (because it will build character).

Being part of the 15-20% of the population whose nervous system is programmed differently only made things worse. Highly Sensitive People (HSPs) are literally wired to feel both pleasure and pain even more acutely than others. To deny us the pleasure and say we shouldn’t avoid the pain cuts us off from the essence of who we are. Also, to shame us when what we desire or need is different is also very damaging. (I was called “Little Miss Fuss-Budget” by my father because things bothered me that didn’t bother other people, like scratchy clothing. I was supposed to endure things that bothered me because I “wasn’t supposed to” be bothered by them.)

Was it any wonder that I had trouble feeling joy, or indeed, anything?

And was it any wonder that I developed poor boundaries, allowing other people to take advantage of me because I was ignoring the emotions that warned me to avoid pain? (Uneasiness, anxiousness, outrage, disgust.)

Well, I’m healing from all that. Here’s what I’m doing.

Steps to Healing

The first step is to recognize the lies.

As human beings, we were created to seek fulfillment, to go after pleasure and avoid pain.

We seek the pleasure of eating, so we are nourished. We seek the pleasure of relationship, so we seek community, we bond and procreate.

Of course we can seek pleasure in ways that are ultimately destructive. When we seek only our own desires, at the expense of others, we harm them and ourselves. We can try to avoid pain through destructive means, too. But that doesn’t negate the validity of  seeking to fulfill our desires and avoid pain in legitimate ways.

In fact, I believe God puts desires into our hearts so that he can feel the pleasure of fulfilling them.

Think about how how you try to find the perfect gift that will really make the recipient feel loved, special, known. Isn’t that what God does for us? I believe he finds joy when we receive his gifts with pleasure and joy. (I wrote a whole book, Abundant Gifts, about the transforming power of looking for and receiving God’s gifts.)

And doesn’t God try to warn us to avoid things that will cause us pain? The Word of God is filled with cautions not to do certain things because he knows they would be bad for us.

The second step was to renounce the lies, and embrace the truth. I did Healing Codes to heal the memories that led to my believing the lies. I infused the truth that it’s OK and good to let my legitimate desires and needs be more of a priority, and to take better care of myself.

The third step was to incorporate the new beliefs into my everyday life. I made a list of things that give me pleasure, and I incorporate those into my life whenever possible. I focus on savoring the simple things.

Not surprisingly, I’m finding my stress load lessening dramatically. My joy is increasing.

Also, I took a good look at what was causing me pain. A couple of key relationships that now felt toxic to me came to mind. Painful as it was, I cut off those relationships.

Again, my stress load lessened by quite a bit. I did Healing Codes to help heal the grief of letting go of the relationships.

I believe that a big part of healing and mastering the stress in our lives has to do with seeking pleasure and avoiding pain in life-giving ways.

The key is recognizing temporary vs. more lasting pleasure and pain, and to find life-giving ways to do both.

Life-giving is key. It often means we may give up a temporary pleasure for a more lasting satisfaction. We’re still seeking pleasure, but it’s a more permanent pleasure. And sometimes that includes embracing a little pain, but again, you’re exchanging temporary pain for lasting pleasure.

An example might be teaching your child to clean his room. He may act ornery, and as if he hates you even, but you are willing to put up with that because you set your gaze on the more lasting pleasure of having a child who knows how to take care of things. (And in the long run, it means less work for you.)

If you can relate to what I’ve been saying, I encourage you to list what gives you pleasure, what is causing pain. Look at the beliefs you might have that are blocking you from embracing pleasure and/or avoiding pain in legitimate ways. See if you can identify memories attached to those lies. Use The Healing Codes or healing prayer to heal those memories.

Then, add as much pleasure, avoid as much pain as you can. Life has enough suffering that we can’t avoid. Let’s not let guilt or shame or a false sense of what it means to be a “good person” keep us from embracing the abundant life God has for us (John 10:10).

And if you need any help with identifying and healing those lies and memories, I’m always available for custom coaching with The Healing Codes at HealingCodesCoaching.com.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
1 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
2 Comment authors
dianeSue Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Sue
Guest
Sue

I’ve always been highly sensitive & was belittled/shamed for that part of me. I can totally relate to having few to poor boundaries & people dismiss me – most of my needs and wants. While trying to break free of this lifestyle (it’s painful), I have felt selfish. But, others also have said it of me, even though I just want some things to go ‘my’ way as much as anyone else… It would be great to heal from all the emotional pain I’ve endured over the yrs. (I’m 61)

Privacy Policy

View Privacy Policy. Your use of this site implies you agree with this policy.