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  • Alexandra Hillenbrand


We learn about the social contract in 5th grade history class - that thing which prevents our society from plunging into chaos is our innate desire, or at the very least obligation, to take care of our neighbor. There are inherent rules for how we should behave and as humans, we know them from the get-go. Or at the very least, we learn them. I am paraphrasing and probably very poorly (I graduated one credit short of a gov law minor so I'm a little silly), but regardless, you understand what I'm saying.

There in lies an idea that I have been putting a great deal of thought into lately - our self-contract. This self-contract is the thing which we owe to ourselves and is completely determined by how we honor our own feelings. It's what we mean when we set boundaries between ourselves and the outside world. When we say no to a plan because it makes us uncomfortable. When we follow through on a goal and set ourselves up for a moment of success. Our self-contract is imperative to how we value ourselves.

Then again, there is the problem. If we don't value ourselves, the self-contract is delegitimized. Every time we put our own feelings and values aside in order to impress other people, we violate the contract. Thus, putting ourselves at risk to lose all notions of our self-worth. It's not necessarily always our fault, but most of the time, it is in our control.

I've noticed that when I ignore the voice inside my head, it eats away at my self-construction. If I say yes when I really mean no, my body interprets that as another person holding more value than me. Which lends itself to more occurrences of relegating my self-worth in the future. It goes further than that even. It places you in a position of inferiority in even your own mind. So can you imagine how it impacts the way others see you?

It's a dangerous game for a people-pleaser to play. We want to make other people happy, but at what cost? We derive the very nature of ourselves and twist it into an unimportant item of little cost. Then, taking the scraps of how we pleased others and turning ourselves into the "problem". Because we will ultimately lose that modicum of respect that we once were capable of receiving. Respect is not guaranteed. Not until we respect ourselves by being comfortable saying no.

The reality is, our self-contract is in place to protect ourselves from giving up our souls to others. We have to listen to what makes us uncomfortable in order to keep ourselves sane and whole. We have to say no when we want to say no, we have to move on when our gut tells us to, and we have to put our needs before those of others. It doesn't make us selfish, it makes us human.

You can heal the minute you recognize you are worthy of healing.

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