Reflect, for a moment, on something you have wanted to do for yourself and let fear get in the way of a positive outcome – one where you chose to let fear get in your way. The following examples illustrate the levels of fear and steps you can take to overcome them.
Picture the following scenes:
Mild “Everyone Else Comes First” Syndrome
You have found an online painting course you would love to take, but that’s when the kids play soccer. A “but” statement is the most frequent first response.
What to Do:
Because you are really interested in this course, you begin to explore alternatives and ask questions. Is the course taped or on video? Are there makeup sessions? Can I carpool for soccer and have my spouse rotate times with me? Is the course repeated at a time when school sports are not being played? The point is to do things that make you happy and you hesitate but determine you can find a way!
Moderate “Everyone Else Comes First” Syndrome
The next stage of “Everyone Else Comes First” Syndrome is characterized by a “No” statement. You are surfing the net and spot an interesting looking online painting course – no way that I can do this now. The reaction when you saw the advertisement was excitement, followed by immediate resignation that now is not the right time, followed by a nanosecond of hope.
What to Do
Stop, take your fingers off the keys and leave the window about the course open. Literally take three deep breaths with your eyes closed, and then open them. Begin some simple exploratory techniques – ask the” who, what, when, where, how and why” questions. Realistically evaluate your family’s needs (not wants) and find a compromise solution that will allow a win-win situation for all of you, taking all of your ‘resource’ options into account.
Severe “Everyone Else Comes First” Syndrome
The third level of “Everyone Else Comes First” Syndrome is characterized by a “Not Ever or Never in This Lifetime” statement. You are working on an online work project and an email comes in advertising a dynamic painting course that looks like it was designed specifically for you. The reaction was a swift “not in this lifetime”, followed by hitting the delete key.
What to Do
Those who have children or teach children learn very quickly not to ever use the word “never” because they will have to eat it – each and every time! Those who are stuck in the ‘never’ rut may enjoy being stuck in a rut and not ever wanting to let themselves come first, possibly as a way to get attention, or do not have the will to make any other kind of decision.
Answers to some questions are in order. Is there an emotional block here? Your feelings are very important but they can get in the way. Consider asking yourself if you are more comfortable with the status quo than experiencing any kind of change? A counselor or coach might be able to help you if this is the case.
You can go to the delete box and at least put the item back into your inbox and mark it important. The point here is to take some kind of positive action to put you on the road to helping you overcome the initial fear.
Remember: If denying yourself is hurting you, it is very possibly hurting others around you – at work and at home.
We all have had some form of “Everyone Else Comes First” Syndrome at one time or another. How we respond makes the difference in our belief that we can be fearful and accept that, or determine that we will embrace a positive event that fills our happiness bucket!