I recently read a book called Deeper Dating. In it, the author says the things we hide are our greatest and core gifts.
If you’re a sensitive person, for example, you may have tried to develop a thick skin. But what if your sensitivity is your gift to the world?
Often, when we grew up without praise or encouragement from parents, we have a hard time accepting ourselves. If others failed to understand or support our core gifts, we suppress them to fit in.
But hiding core gifts in an effort to find acceptance is self-abandonment. And, besides, it never works. You come across as inauthentic and untrustworthy and you never become the person you’re meant to be in the world.
When you hide your core gifts, you attract people who will never make you feel supported because they don’t know the real you. Instead of seeking acceptance from others, the key is to accept yourself.When you hide your core gifts, you attract people who will never make you feel supported because they don't know the real you. Click To Tweet
So, how can you begin to express your core gifts when you’ve been hiding them all along? How do you start to accept yourself when you’ve been self-abandoning for years? Here are 4 ways.
1. State your opinions.
When you disagree with someone, say so. When you stay silent or lend tacit agreement because you fear conflict, that’s self-abandonment.
You’re putting someone else’s need to be right ahead of your own need to be seen and heard. This ensures you’ll keep attracting people who don’t know the real you and you’ll continue to feel invisible.
2. Express your emotions.
If you grew up with emotional neglect like I did, you may not trust your emotions. Maybe your complex PTSD has made you dysregulated around feelings.
The first step is to actually feel these feelings instead of denying them or distracting yourself from them. Really sink into them at first by journaling and/or sitting alone with them.
Once you’ve become more comfortable with your feelings, begin to express them to others. This will help you accept others’ emotions as well. Emotional honesty is an important part of relational intimacy and shows the real you.
3. Do what you want to develop core gifts.
Do you spend a lot of time fulfilling obligations that bring you no joy? Stop that. Make sure you’re doing more of what you love than what you hate.
Of course, responsibility is part of life but resist the habit of becoming over responsible. Putting others’ needs ahead of your own is a common outcome of unmet childhood needs.Putting others' needs ahead of your own is a common outcome of unmet childhood needs. Click To Tweet
Parent yourself by taking care of your own needs first. Make a habit of asking yourself throughout the day what you need and giving it to yourself.
4. Invest in yourself to uncover core gifts.
You may resist spending money on yourself unless it provides a return on investment. But you are worth investing in and your mental health is the best ROI.
Depending on your resources, you may consider coaching, therapy, a retreat, or some other form of self care. If you spend money on others easily but have trouble doing the same for yourself, reconsider.
When overcoming a lifetime of self-abandonment, you may need help to uncover your core gifts. Invest time in self-knowledge through books or by spending more time on your own. Be patient with yourself as a lifetime of hiding takes time to transform.