Feelings and Sense of Self: Handle Them Before They Handle You

I recently watched two YouTube videos I came across while doing some background work on a training topic I was to deliver at a local workplace. Listening to the content, I thought I would share the highlights which, although these were very different professionals speaking to divergent audiences, seemed to be sending a similar message about how we treat ourselves.

Mandy Saligari, an addictions therapist, spoke about our self-esteem, readily defining it as “How I feel about myself and treat myself.” Her topic was about addiction and she defined that as “the pattern of outsourcing your emotional process to something else.” Reflecting on this, I thought, “My, that is a different perspective on this ever-growing need in the North Country.” So, I listened some more.

Saligari spoke of being addicted as being in a place of emptiness with your choice of salve: gambling, drugs, sex, internet. She then asked, “What is your ability to give from a place of abundance rather than a place of empty?” Yes, empty. When we are addicted, there isn’t much of ourselves left at that time. We have let go of ourselves and turned to our numbing agent.

She said we need to get comfortable in our own shoes—in our own self. That we can represent ourselves in the world with dignity and respect. This made a lot of sense when reflecting on her topic of addiction. I then was intrigued by a second video by Sarah Knight who also spoke on the value of the Self, but from a different perspective: “I can’t say ‘No’ to anyone.”

Learning how to say “No” is important to give value to your “Yes.” When we give fewer, better “Yes” responses, we add value to our Self.

A statement she made resonated with me: “Clear out ‘annoy’ to make room for ‘joy.’” In other words, we become burdened by all of the tasks we have obligated ourselves to by acquiescing to another’s request; we need to value our Self and selectively make room for the joy in working/serving those we truly choose to.

So, it’s time that we each take stock and cognitively hear when we accept a task or an obligation from another person. Take a look at your calendar.

Decide what you don’t really care about and remove it from your day-to-day life. Decide what annoys you, then stop giving your time, money, and energy to it! Do not feel guilt; do not feel sorry that you aren’t taking on someone else’s priorities.

Just say, “No, thanks, I just don’t have time,” or “I can’t afford it.” This is you being honest and open. And you will have found the value and the joy the next time you say “Yes.”