What are you feeling deprived of?
On a scale of 1-10 (low-high), how do you feel about the following:
- Time to yourself/ Freedom
- Physical/ Mental energy
- Emotional support
- Career opportunities.
So, with a little clarity, what next? –You ask why.
Anyone can develop an unconscious habit of self deprivation. Usually it results from a childhood trauma. Ask yourself where this really stems from, when it started.
As the years pass, you learn to tolerate deprivation, you come to expect it, it feels familiar. Tell yourself you’re not going to tolerate it any longer. You have the strength to break any cycle.
Now what? –You make a plan.
For example, there was a time in my life I felt socially deprived. I had two friendships hanging by a thread, family I took for granted, and I’d just (rightly!) ended a long term romantic relationship. It was time to take stock and from then, I decided things had to change.
I already understood where pushing people away started. I was badly bulled in two schools, and I protected myself by keeping people at arms length. I started reading up on how to break the barriers I’d formed, to try and take control of something I felt was marring my life.
I took the fairly drastic step of moving to London. Something I’d told myself wasn’t for me – busy, busy, too many people. Well, people we’re exactly what I needed!
I moved jobs, and eventually sold my flat and rented in North London. Ouch!
I quickly set about rebuilding my two existing friendships- I just needed to make time for them, be organised, prioritise them. I started seeing a lot more of my sister, building a stronger sisterly bond. Actually, I spent more time with my whole family. I met two really fantastic people at work, who became two very good friends. And, I met (and married!) a wonderful man, and my best friend in the world.
I’m never going to be someone with hoards of friends, and that’s ok by me. As long as I have a small number of people I’m close to, that I can share the highs and lows, and laughs with, I’m good 🙂
I feel I’ve come a long way since those days of feeling lonely and unsure about what I could bring to a friendship, and equally what they could bring me. I know it helped to come away from what I knew, a comfort zone of sorts, and start afresh to tackle this head on. Forcing myself to be exposed and vulnerable wasn’t easy – it really wasn’t, but I had a plan, I had a goal, and I was bloody-minded about it.
You can make small tweaks, or significant life changes – whatever works for you. The first step is identifying what’s missing. Then make a plan – mind map it. Get a blank piece of paper, start in the middle and work your way out – ideas all over the place! Then hone in on what’s doable, and what will make the difference. You may need to break your plan down into more manageable pieces. Mine wasn’t a quick fix, but it got me where I needed to be, to be happy. You can do it.