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. 

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

  1. Perhaps the thing we are not accepting of enough is the concept of free will, and in particular free will to choose to heal or not heal, to be aware or not be aware, to be loving or not loving. It is, ultimately, every person’s right to choose the life they choose. Where it gets tricky, if you like, and why it is none-the-less important to express and call things out in the world and in another, is that we are not as free to choose as we might ordinarily be. Even on a basic level, society imposes upon us from young, as does our family etc, and so we grow up not being necessarily as free as we might think we are to choose how we wish to be. The world is full of false reflections that incite us and mould us. So what is needed in the world, more than charity or doing good, or imposing our will upon another in order to fix their predicament for them, are true reflections, and true role models that in themselves show others that they actually have a choice, even where they think they have none.

    1. ‘So what is needed in the world, more than charity or doing good, or imposing our will upon another in order to fix their predicament for them, are true reflections, and true role models that in themselves show others that they actually have a choice, even where they think they have none’. Powerfully expressed Adam. And when we are our true selves, the drive to ‘rescue ‘ or ‘parent’ others ceases.

  2. Needing to be needed was huge for me – it was what gave me purpose in life but resulted in me, like Kehinde, putting myself last in life, very much to the detriment of my own health and wellbeing. It’s so disrespectful of both parties to be this way – on the one hand there was my arrogance in thinking that I was the only one who could support them and for them, my actions were basically saying, “You’re not capable of looking after yourself.” Unloving behaviour wrapped up in a package that on the outside looks like care and love. It’s no wonder it can be hard to see it for what it is when you’re in it.

    1. I agree Lucy, there is an arrogance in believing another is not capable of looking after themselves and it feeds into our need to be needed. Stepping back and allowing others to experience the consequences of their own choices also has place, whereas rushing in to fix, dis-empowers both self and others.

  3. We all matter and when we take responsibility for all our choices, our life transforms and it is so much easier to make those changes that we always knew we needed to make, but somehow couldn’t.

  4. That’s a pretty huge turn around after a lifetime of living a certain way, and then choosing a different way. Inspiring Kehinde!

  5. Thank you Kehinde. As teenagers we fret to be free of the attentions of parents and take responsibility for ourselves and when the roles are reversed the elderly can feel free when the needy attentions of a child allows them to retain responsibility for themselves.

  6. It is our responsibility to live in connection with who we are, which only is possible when we choose to hold ourselves in love.

  7. It is interesting what we can come up with and create to not look at ourselves whether that is in our relationships including our children, work, competition, dramas in our lives etc, whatever we hold under the belief as being more worthy than ourselves but nothing can justify the love we can give to ourselves as I am finding out in my own life. Sometimes when I do express and live in honour of myself it can cause reactions in others but when I am true to me I know I am being true to those around me even though initially it may not be welcomed.

    1. Making ourselves less to so say make others feel better is crazy, because the direct opposite is the truth. If we live our selves in full, that is the way we lift others and by being less, we reduce others too. It all starts with a lie we tell ourselves.

  8. I am not sure most of us really reflect on just what a huge role recognition plays in shaping our lives, and how damaging such a quest is for our own true sense of confidence. Even when you look at those who display confidence outwardly, most often there is no foundation to such confidence held within. Its a huge problem really, and stems from the fact that there is little in life that truly calls us to be introspective and connect to the simplicity and glory of our own being before anything else.

  9. Its sad but true that many of us focus on the perceived needs of others at the expense of ourselves and in doing so we lose ourselves a little more each time. So we end up having no real idea of who we really are. The one person’s life that we do potentially have some say in, ours, we tend to neglect.

  10. Beautiful Kehinde, ‘The most important learning for me was that I accept and love myself fully.’ This is rarely lived and yet is vital for living a healthy, loving life. Putting ourselves first is so often considered ‘selfish’ in society, but from my experience this simply is not the case, putting ourselves first means that we are then much able to honour ourselves, and live in a healthy, sustainable way and are then more likely to be able to truly love and support others.

  11. Lack of self value robs ourselves of living a full and vital life, because we feel we don’t deserve it. But we are all equally valuable and equally amazing. We simply create this lesser person and make them live a lesser life.

  12. I am learning too that when I have need or sympathy then I am not able to see or feel what is truly needed and when genuine support is required and when it is an opportunity for the person to find their way within a situation they have created so that they don’t repeat the same pattern or if they do they have the skills to bring themselves back from it. When I do it for them I am setting up for them to repeat or stay in the situation they are in.

  13. Beautiful to read how when we truly take care and honor ourselves first we then really know and understand how to care, honor what another needs to be truly supported, thus empowering for all involved.

  14. The hook of family and the roles we often play life long has such a massive impact on our lives. I know it could be quite easy to see myself as a daughter forever but when I take responsibility for myself and my life and also my parents I relieve them of their role or duty to take care of me and allow us to have an equal relationship not as daughter/mother/father but as three people together.

  15. Your life is so interesting but I suppose all of our stories are rich and fascinating to an onlooker, and somewhat normal to us that have actually lived them. I am just blown away by how clearly you have called out the need in yourself, the honesty and bravery it would have taken to get to the point that you could write an article like this is remarkable. I have recently made myself replaceable in my own business, I have trained one of my staff to be me and once upon of time I think I may have been hesitant to hand over so much responsibility out of a need to be needed but now I am free because I know who I am and don’t need any role to define me.

  16. Your opening paragraph is a statement of fact that I could write describing my own experience. It wasn’t till I was nearly 50, and physically depleted that I said enough, something has to change. With this I then chose to do Esoteric Healing Level 1 workshop presented by Serge Benhayon. This was the pivotal moment when I started to come back to myself, detangling myself from the losing of myself to anything and anyone. My awareness to and responsibility for how my life was being lived was now awake and I have returned to vitality, well-being and a deep claiming of self-care and self-love that I wasn’t even aware was possible.

  17. I have read this blog before. Those two words ‘I matter,’ are very powerful to read and say out loud. They convey so much and I am very much enjoying living in a way that confirms this.

  18. I can so easily relate to what you have written here Kehinde and I am positive that there are many others who can too. “I put the needs of others before my own. I wanted to be liked, loved and accepted”. In fact, I feel that the majority of humanity lives like this. But to come to a place where you know that your self-care is at the top of the list and that loving yourself first is the key to truly living is such a wonderful place to be; it makes living so simple and so very enjoyable.

  19. I can feel how the way we live our lives as we ‘grow’ and the choices we make are so coloured by what we took on as little children. If being a yes or no person was how we responded in our immediate environment, then that is the pattern we are setting with many relationships. We have loads of choice as grown people, not something we had a lot of authority over when little perhaps but as adults we actually do. We simply have to choose to claim our own authority back. Universal Medicine is truly and forever deepening the awareness offered in being responsible for our own choices.

  20. I found this article touching and revealing of the patterns we adopt at the cost to ourselves. Some may read this and think other things but I read this and see that the deeper and deeper we care for ourselves then this relationship then holds every other relationship in the same care. You are there to do exactly what’s needed for those around you in whatever way that looks. At times it can look different to what society deems ‘normal’ but if we have a look around our normal isn’t truly normal. I think that anyone that is taking their relationships deeper in this way is very very brave given the current climate of our society and they stand their as a beacon for others to see.

  21. Reading this I could really feel how imposing it can be on others when we are wanting to be liked, loved and acceptance. It doesn’t give the relationship or person space to be what and who they are.

  22. It is great to re-establish relationships on a true foundation rather than ones based on mutual needs, dependency, arrangements – none of these are of benefit to either party and hugely capping rather than evolving.

  23. I can relate to a lot of what you have shared Kehinde, of needing to be needed, looking for acceptance from others, not able to say no with no sense of myself and my own needs. It has taken time for me to really able to put myself first, in taking responsibility for my own life and choices, thereby realising “I too do matter. “

  24. We can run our lives so we are liked, loves and accepted. The only problem is the negative consequences of such style of movement. And this is not a minor thing. Your movements are never true and hence you put your body in a motion that is totally alien to it. The consequences of this are dire.

  25. We often think that we’re being loving by doing everything for another, but this in fact is aiding and abetting irresponsibility. Great to read Kehinde how when you took a step back, others stepped in to support.

  26. I can so relate to what you share here Kehinde, I used to be all things to all people as I was craving to be accepted and recognised as well. It is quite exhausting living in this way and how beautiful to read of the steps you took to empower yourself and let go of these old patterns and any neediness you had – allowing the space for the relationship with your father to become more loving and true.

  27. When I read this blog I felt a resonance towards what was shared. I moved to the UK from overseas and grew up wanting to be loved by my father. He was a stern man and seldom showed affection or love.

    I strived to prove him wrong and bettering myself in what ever way I could at my own expense. For me it was the inability to say no to work and being in control of situations which cannot be sustained forever. Extended family wise, I was often unpopular as it was my way or the high way…..

    Since doing workshops with Universal Medicine, my life has changed, the responsibility changed and I started to focus upon myself and my own health and well being. There are times I go into the being ‘needed’ energy and my body soon signals very loudly, it’s pointless living a life to please other people and their ways – the most loving thing anyone can do is first to help themselves before helping others.

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