In the online conscious growth training I provide, I invite students to explore whether their communication is fear-based or self-honoring.
We overlook our deepest needs and desires when we unconsciously live in fear. Let me give you an example.
Tommy feared not being valued as “good enough.” He had felt this fear since childhood, and because of that he practiced diligently to become a star athlete. He also excelled academically. He went to college and later took a high paying job as a software engineer.
Tommy was a rock star on the job. He always finished projects well before the deadline. He proved himself to be one of the most efficient and talented engineers in the firm. This resulted in Tommy being assigned more projects, along with the expectation to complete those projects in a fraction of the time it would take most people to complete.
Tommy was flattered by the amount of faith his employer had in his abilities. This made Tommy feel “good enough,” which gave him a sense of euphoria. For five years, Tommy said yes to every new assignment. He was thrilled by all the pats on the back he received in return for his time and energy.
By age 30, Tommy was married and had recently become a father to his first child. Tommy was not getting much sleep these days, and alone time was nonexistent for him. However, his wife often told him what a great father and husband he was, and this was enough validation to keep Tommy motivated.
Another three years passed and Tommy had grown tired. He was still crushing professional deadlines and project goals, but his wife now complained that Tommy no longer seemed interested or excited to be around her. He was a “good dad,” but by the time Tommy got home from work and spent time with his kid he was totally wiped out and ready for sleep.
Tommy was eventually convinced by his wife to cut down on hours at the office. He really missed the validation he received for being a “good husband,” and he thought that by now he had surely earned a little flexibility in his career.
When Tommy approached his employer, his executive team was shocked that he would make such a request. The company had planned projects for the next two years and they had a lot weighing on Tommy being able to meet those rigid deadlines. Plus, if Tommy did not want to do it, the company could probably replace him with someone younger who was willing to work overtime and receive less pay.
Tommy was demoralized; he could not believe how apathetic his employer was about his needs and desires as a human being, and after all the time and energy he had poured into making the firm successful…
Tommy went home to tell his wife what happened. His wife filed for divorce a few months later.
Tommy could not believe that everything was falling apart. No one seemed to care about everything he had sacrificed.
“I sacrificed so much that I don’t even know who I am or what I enjoy anymore,” Tommy said.
After some conscious growth therapy Tommy realized that his entire life, everything he said, and everything he did, was fear-based communication.
Tommy shared, “I realized that all those years I had been communicating to my employer that I am willing to do anything to make them happy, and I really was. I was willing to do whatever it took to prove that I was good enough, because my greatest fear was being not good enough. I lived in that fear my whole life.”
“I quit doing things for own peace and health. At the time, I told myself that I was living this way because I cared so much about the impact my work was having in the world, and that I loved my wife and son so much that their needs should come first.”
“In the end, it seems that I attracted an employer and a wife who did not care much about my need my personal balance or happiness. They accepted me only as long as I filled their needs. I was never loved for what I am, only for what I did. Not love at all.”
“I am 42 now, and while I was initially depressed that my whole life had been one fear-based charade, I am just thankful that I can see it clearly now, like I dodged a bullet. I could have spent my whole life like that, serving people who had no genuine care for me.”
“I now see how important it is to honor myself. I now communicate and interact with the world from a new foundation of self-honor. My new relationship and career are built upon my commitment to honor myself. I’ve never felt more alive and whole.”