For many years, I was a lone ranger, doing things on my own, resistant of others’ help and support. Although always friendly and well-liked, I never let anyone get too close. I never felt good about sharing my deepest thoughts and feelings, perhaps for fear of ridicule. Somehow, during my teenage years, I nurtured the belief that I had to be careful not to share too much, that it wasn’t okay to be myself (perhaps I wasn’t sure how to be comfortable at being me?). I felt very alone and just thought that this was how life was to be for me.

Now, looking back, I can see how I became this way. I can look back at those late teen years, the things that occurred, and see how this belief got formed. Sometimes it’s not so easy to discover how our beliefs are formed. And that’s not really what’s important. It’s easy to get hung up on the “why” and the “how’d I get here?” But it’s an intellectual exercise and will never put you into action to change your beliefs. What is important is that I became aware of this belief and how it was limiting my life. And I chose to adopt a new belief.

Keeping People Out
It’s not smart to be a lone ranger – it’s safe. By choosing to be alone, you keep people out. The energy emanating from you is, “stay away, I want to be alone,” although, that may not be your conscious intention. This is actually very selfish. Because of your unwillingness to let anyone love you, you keep yourself and your special gifts and talents to yourself. Possibly, you are not quite sure how to be comfortable being you. It’s not like they hand you a ‘how-to-be-yourself handbook’ when you finish high school that gives you the prescription for how to live well. (If you received one, please share it with the rest of us!)

All it takes is for someone to break through your barrier, or for you to realize that you don’t need to do everything yourself, that we are social beings meant to connect and to share in love. You don’t need to hide behind an illusion that you are separate and alone. You are not alone. Stop hiding the best part of who you are! Your greatness lies in being able to share yourself with others.

Keeping Ourselves Out
Too often we live either as lone rangers, separate and disconnected from others, or we attempt to give all we have to others with no sense of self-regard. We can be so invested in giving to others or caretaking that we often give to our own detriment. We give until it hurts. We burn out, develop compassion fatigue, or become physically drained causing injury and unhappiness to ourselves and those around us.

Learning to love you is an important part of adulthood. Learning to know yourself well, accept who you are without judgment, and then learning to make decisions coming from a place of honor and love for yourself is the highest form of self-respect.

When you put everyone else before you, you disregard your own personal needs. You shrink behind the false impression that to give to others is better than to give yourself. This doesn’t help anyone! It doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve the world because you become resentful. Resentfulness is a form of anger - at self – and it’s energy draining. You may think you are angry because others are taking advantage but the reality is that no one gets to take advantage of you without your permission.

If you are feeling resentful, it’s possible you are putting the needs of others before your own. You may think that you are helping others by doing for them, but the impact is that people do not learn to accept responsibility for them selves. If you don’t put yourself first, if you don’t learn to care for your body, save for your retirement, and eliminate the energy drains in your life, you’ll be the one in need of the charitable contributions that you so freely give to others. It’s your responsibility to care for yourself before you care for others.

Connecting To Others
We are all very much connected. What I’ve learned is that when I share myself with others, when I allow myself to open up and discuss my thoughts, feelings, fears, and doubts, others can relate to me on a much deeper level. We have so much more in common than we realize. As much as we’re all the same, we’re each unique. This is the human paradox. What you feel, I feel. The life lessons that I must learn, you will learn too. And yet there’s something that makes each of us unique and it’s at this place where we discover the differences we each have. It’s what makes people fascinating! What we have in common, we share; we learn from each other new perspectives so that perhaps life becomes easier and more enjoyable. And what we see as unique and distinct in each other, we can discover how to maximize those gifts. Our talents are those things that come so easily that we don’t realize just how special they are until someone tells us. This is where accepting a compliment is so important. You may brush it off as unimportant because you don’t realize the significance. But you need to hear what others have to share with you about you. The very things that are easy for you are challenging or even impossible for someone else!

People are so willing to give and to provide support. They want to know that they are not alone. That’s why people read – to know they’re not alone. People want to make a difference; they want to feel included; they want the opportunity to get to know you – your thoughts, ideas, feelings, fears, and doubts – and they want to share their own. Let them in by sharing yourself with others whom you feel comfortable and safe. Take a chance. You’ll find that it doesn’t make you vulnerable to open up; it’s strength. It’s also extremely liberating when you don’t have to hold back on being You.

Author's Bio: 

Julie Fuimano, MBA, BSN, RN, CSAC is dedicated to helping you break through the barriers to your happiness and success. She is a masterful coach, a motivational speaker and world-renowned writer and author. For additional resources and to sign up for her inspiring e-newsletter, visit www.NurturingYourSuccess.com or email Julie@NurturingYourSuccess.com.