Our beliefs about ourselves, others, and the world shape our behaviors on the daily. And that is why I love affirmations–choosing intentionally what I want to believe.
Whenever I realize I want/need to change my mind about something, I write affirmations to say to myself to help restructure my ways of thinking. It’s pretty much non-invasive brain surgery.
Of course, many times affirmations are not enough to rewire a lifetime of experience and thinking, but they are a useful tool nonetheless.
I realized something rather unfortunate recently: I have a bit of a savior complex. AKA, some hidden belief that others need me in order to function. This is probably pretty common for people in helping professions.
This is also known as needing to be needed, codependency, and hero syndrome. It’s essentially just a bit too much of a good thing. It’s when wanting to help others is tinged by a belief that we are smarter/more competent/more capable or worse than others, and we seek to feel important, needed, and loved through helping and serving. It becomes about us. And it can quickly turn toxic in relationships.
A friend and I were joking about it the other day saying “Thank goodness for savior complexes and parentified children (which is when children grow up in a care taking role for one reason or another) or there would be no therapists!”
I mentioned the strong pull of responsibility I feel when someone tells me about a problem they have and my friend quipped, “Let’s just call this our problem/our depression/our trauma.”
So I decided I am done with it. But changing my beliefs and values in this sense is going to require non-invasive brain surgery and thus, new beliefs/affirmations are in order.
Here are some I came up with:
Others are strong, capable, resilient, and powerful. – As opposed to weak, incapable, would never make it without me, etc.
Others are capable of learning through their experiences.
Others grow and learn through their suffering and challenges. – This is a potent one because often “helpers” have a very hard time seeing others people suffering. Feeling distress at other’s pain in normal and healthy, but when we feel compelled to rescue others from their suffering, that can be a problem. Why? Because that suffering might be the perfect learning and growing experience for them.
My gifts and talents are freely shared when I am guided to share them. – As opposed to “I am compelled to share advice/help even when it is unwanted because I believe that since I can help, that means I have to help, even if it means sacrificing my own well-being.
I turn each person over to be empowered in their own autonomy. – Others will learn and grow by making their own decisions and finding their own way.
I respect and honor each person’s unique path. – Even when I don’t understand it. I realize I do not know what is best for each person, ultimately.
I see each person as the hero in their own story. – As opposed to trying to play the role of hero/savior/angel in someone else’s story.
I respect every other person as my equals, capable of finding their own way in life. – As opposed to viewing them as better or worse than me. I trust in their own ability to find their way, through whatever meandering paths it may take.
I turn each person over to the Lord. – As opposed to feeling personally responsible for their well-being.
I know it is the grace of God which heals. – As opposed to “it is me that heals.”
I have a realistic understanding of my strengths, weaknesses, abilities, and influence. – As opposed to believing we are capable of controlling others and saving them. As opposed to believing we have no needs of our own. As opposed to believing we are unworthy. As opposed to believing we are superior.
I see the Divine in each person.