In the Picture: Universal Medicine, Confidence and Knowing I Matter

I am the youngest of six children, am female, was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa, and emigrated to the UK aged seven. I grew up wanting to be liked, to be the good girl and to be accepted. I always looked outside myself for validation and really did not have a sense of who I was.

I, and my two brothers and sisters, grew up in a tiny village in North Wales with a Welsh family. Even as a child I remember trying to please my mum, gain her attention, and be loved more. As I grew into adulthood many expectations were placed on me from both my two families (Welsh and African), and I embraced them. I became the dependable one, the good daughter, the one that was unable to say ‘No’, even when asked to do something that was not in my best interest. I put the needs of others before my own. I wanted to be liked, loved and accepted. As I did this, I slowly lost my sense of self.

Through Universal Medicine I learned the importance of knowing and validating myself. Confidence came from within. I learned that being needy, and wanting to be accepted and recognised by others, disregarded myself. The most important learning for me was that I accept and love myself fully.

This pattern of behaviour was so entrenched that it took a while before I could see and feel it for myself. Every time I did not choose for me, I felt the impact in my body. Meanwhile, I realised that situations and relationships would stay the same, or worsen, until I changed.

An example of this is my relationship with my father. For many years since Mum died and even through his second marriage, I’ve felt responsible for him. When his second wife died of Alzheimer’s six years ago, I was there to support him and visited him regularly. Although I believed that he needed me, the truth was that I needed to be needed and to have a role in his life. Focusing on my Dad meant I didn’t have to look at myself. The more I thought I was helping Dad, the more needy he became of me. I created a situation of mutual neediness.

Through Universal Medicine I learnt that my first responsibility was to myself. Once I saw that my relationship to Dad was not truly loving, I began change the way we related to each other so we became equal, free-standing adults. I was more open with him about my life. I talked to him about what he wanted for himself. I helped him get the support he needed from local professionals and they took over his caring responsibilities with my assistance.

I visited him less. He moved into a residential care home. The remarkable thing is that when I stepped back from being responsible, other family members who lived locally stepped forward. The relationship I have with him is now more honest and balanced. He accepts that I’m not always going to be able to see him (he lives in North Wales). I no longer have the feeling of obligation. I feel free, he feels free.

This pattern of putting others first has almost been erased. It doesn’t mean I don’t care or love friends and family, in fact my relationships are now ‘cleaner’ and healthier. My first reference is of course myself. I have now placed myself in the picture – previously I was absent.

I matter, and take full responsibility for my life. This has been an amazing step forward.

by Kehinde, London, U.K. 

248 thoughts on “In the Picture: Universal Medicine, Confidence and Knowing I Matter

  1. Kehinde this kind of reminded me of my sibling’s upbringing and how they led a similar life to you. Whilst me on the other hand, was the opposite, I used to do the opposite, and wouldn’t please people. Or so I thought! Even though I was truant, there was subtleties of niceness and it played out some where a long the way.

    Pleasing people in however we do it, isn’t the answer to our every day living. Everyone needs to live in a way that takes care of them in preparation for the future.

  2. “Confidence came from within.” Goodness it has taken so long to learn and appreciate this, I have spent so many years – and most likely life times – believing that confidence was something learnt, based on knowledge yet that is so false, like a coat one puts on. Take the ‘coat’ off and what is left? It is in that ‘nakedness’ is true confidence our true nature, our essence.

  3. “I no longer have the feeling of obligation. I feel free, he feels free” – what I can feel from this is how that feeling of obligation is not a one way thing, once we have that arrangement, it traps everyone involved in that constrain.

  4. When we ‘reference’ our love within first, we not only honour ourselves and our inner knowing, but we naturally honor love in the relationships we share, and this includes saying no to what feels untrue and abusive.

  5. “Although I believed that he needed me, the truth was that I needed to be needed and to have a role in his life.” As a kinesiology therapist I believed I was there to help others, yet as I healed my lack of self-worth and feelings of emptiness ,I came to realise I was in truth treating people whereby I gained the recognition and the being wanted that I craved.

  6. Kehinde it’s so beautiful to read, thank you. I can really relate to this “I learned that being needy, and wanting to be accepted and recognised by others, disregarded myself. The most important learning for me was that I accept and love myself fully.” It’s such a huge change to realise the love is within and we can live from its impulse everyday, and it does change relationships to be our own source of love because it helps us to discard the needs, demands, and arrangements.

  7. Surely as children we all want to be liked, loved and accepted for who we are, however watching parents and their children there seems to be an un spoken pay off occurring when the parent wants something from the child such as being ‘good’, there is a barter that takes place. If the child responds to the need for them to be ‘good’ they get rewarded and if this is the only positive attention they get from their parents then they play the game of being ‘good’. And this is how easy and simple it is to leave our true self to be accepted when we cannot get the love we are so needy of because it is a natural part of us that is missing. And this need can never be satisfied it becomes a deep ache in our bodies which we plaster over with all sorts of food and distractions of life.

  8. I can really relate to this blog having realised that I too have fallen for the same belief of being responsible for others. Whenever I go against what I feel there is a feeling of resentment in me. When I live as I feel to (not think how to live) then there is far less pressure or tension in life.

  9. The way of the Livingness makes possible what should be normal in our society, but as yet is not common to see; living with a contentment within, very fulfilled and truly joyful. I wonder if this is not the normal for many, why don’t we question it enough?

  10. By working with Universal Medicine, I also received something that deep down I knew, but I forgot for so long. The reminder that I and we all matter equally so. This truth changes everything and illuminates all that is not love in our lives. It opens my eyes to see how great we all are from inside.

  11. I love your last sentence: ‘I matter, and take full responsibility for my life.’ These 2 elements effect all the relationships you have in life with everyone and everything. If you matter, your body matters and every-body matters and that is the most amazing foundation for love.

    1. ‘If you matter, your body matters and every-body matters and that is the most amazing foundation for love.’ Love this comment, thank you Monika R. We get so caught up in our heads talking about things that we forget the feeling in our body and how that can be nurtured and bring us back to life We are all in our essence love, it is just that we have allowed so much to grow over that and obscure it that we no longer feel it until we start to allow it space by dropping everything that is not love,

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