Learning to leave

Joey Garcia

I don’t know how to get my emotional needs met. I think that I misunderstand or misinterpret what people say. I was trying to tell the guy I’m seeing how hard it is to live being so sensitive. I was having anxiety and crying. He said, “Do you have anything important to say because I have better things to do than being criticized.” He’s older, and I’ve learned that older men always think they’re right. I couldn’t leave his house even though I wanted to leave. I have abandonment issues and leaving, well, it’s impossible. Please help me learn how to leave.

Leaving a bad situation becomes easy after we program our brains to acknowledge that we deserve better. Until then, we tend to unconsciously repeat patterns we learned through our childhood interactions with caregivers, siblings and friends. Or we automatically submit to our brain’s misfires and sabotage ourselves. But it’s also possible to evolve beyond being our own worst enemy by learning to become our own best friend.

The most honest way to get your emotional needs met is by meeting them yourself. I know—that’s not a pretty answer. It’s not sexy and won’t fly as a rom-com plot, but those stories are fantasy, and this is your life. If you learn how to create your own happiness, how to listen to yourself, how to travel alone or dine out solo with your phone in your purse or pocket the whole time—you’re on the evolutionary path. If you always need that phone or someone—anyone—in your life to distract you from the discomfort of your thoughts, fears and failures, your capacity for self-awareness goes dormant, if not extinct.

So give yourself what you want from others: attention, acceptance and appreciation. Cherish yourself. Grant yourself permission to be you: strange, unique, beautiful, rare, ordinary or whatever expression your soul calls you to. And, please dump the dude you’re dating. It’s not true that all older men believe they are correct about everything. You might be drawing men like that to you because you expect (want?) older men to dominate you. But if he’s so dense that he can’t listen to your drama without fearing it is a criticism of him, rather than insight into you, his communication skills are under par. He’s not ready for a healthy relationship. Find someone who is.

I finally found my birth mother but she is deceased. My three living half-siblings don’t know I exist. What is the best way to tell them their mother had a kid when she was 16 years old?

Slowly. You’re excited to meet your family. But they are about to have their family story subverted and their image of their mother forever changed. Reach out with curiosity, not conviction. As in: “I was adopted and have been searching for my birth mother, which led me to you. (State the facts as you know them.) Could it be possible that we share a mother?” Give your family of origin time for the information to sink in. If they refuse to meet you, don’t take it personally. Reality isn’t for everyone.

Meditation of the week
`11joey“Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning,” Gloria Steinem said. Ready to wake up and take action?

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