Home Sections Health Enlivening Ourselves

Enlivening Ourselves

Dear Dr. Norquist:

I have a problem that I can’t seem to solve myself. I’m OK when I’m not in a relationship, but as soon as I get involved with someone, I totally lose who I am and try to become who I think the person I’m dating wants me to be.

I gradually (and sometimes very quickly) come to need this person’s approval more and more. If he thinks I’m great, then I feel great. If he is mad at me, or pulls away, I become desperate – as if I couldn’t live without him. My whole life starts to revolve around him in a way that I don’t like and that I know isn’t healthy.

I get so focused on trying to get him to like me that I can’t focus on anything else I need to do in my life, like my job or my friends or family. I notice I do the same thing in friendships. How can I change this?

Dr. Norquist responds:

Your behavior speaks of an underlying feeling of “I am not enough.” When we feel we are not enough, we assume that someone else can give us what we need so that we are good enough. It seems to be human nature to look outside ourselves to try to get something we need or want from others. We perfect our own set of specific skills that assist in getting what we need from others. We never stop to ask ourselves whether this basic assumption that others have what we need is actually true. Instead, we pursue our habit of being nice, doing favors and being loving towards others as a means to an end – to have our love or friendship returned. Loving someone so that they will love you back is not love, it is business. In relating to others in this way, we lose ourselves.

The problem that needs to be addressed is your self-esteem. You need to experience, without questioning it, that you are enough, just as you are. It’s time to shift your focus from outward to inward. Spend time getting to know and appreciate yourself. Listen to your inner feelings, joys and dreams. Focus on what you would like to do with this life you have been given. Experience your own center. Then you can be kind because you enjoy being kind, and love because the love bubbles up from within you, not because you need love or kindness from others in order to fee worthy and loveable. I cannot give you any magic formula for getting yourself to this place, but I can point you in the correct direction. You must find your own path, listening to and honoring your own inner wisdom. Know that you are enough, just as you are. The only thing that has to change is your experiential knowledge of this truth.

Check out Dr. Norquist’s new blog  GrowingThroughParenting.com

(Dr. Sallie Norquist is a licensed psychologist (NJ #2371) in private practice and is director of Chaitanya Counseling Services, a center for upliftment and enlivenment, in Hoboken.) Dr. Norquist and the staff of Chaitanya invite you to write them at Chaitanya Counseling Services, 51 Newark St., Suite 202, Hoboken, NJ  07030 or www.chaitanyacounseling.com or by e-mail at drnorquist@chaitanyacounseling.com. Questions can address various topics, including relationships, life’s stresses, difficulties, mysteries and dilemmas, as well as questions related to managing stress or alternative ways of understanding health-related concerns. Ó 2020 Chaitanya Counseling Services

Exit mobile version