Saturday, July 24, 2010

How does your garden grow?

Feeding our negative emotions.

They feed off our thoughts. Our negative emotions want to be fed. Why? Because there is an unfed, an unnourished pain inside of us and the only way we know how to fill it is through feeding it the same garbage that gave it life in the first place. My pain gets fed a healthy dose of negative thinking, unworthiness, self-pity, powerlessness, and victimhood. Others may feed their pain anger, violence, blame, arrogance or whatever satiates it. (Oh, and that’s not to mention the alcohol, drugs or actual food some also use to feed these negative emotions. Just as an addict, we become addicted to our negative emotions.)

Although not easy to admit or even recognize, we do get some sort of pleasure out of continuing self-defeating behaviours because on an intellectual level we know that it is not good for us. Yet, perhaps we just don’t know any other way to relieve our negative emotions and we just feed them the same diet that others have fed it in the past … or how we perceived it to be through a comprehension level of a young child. And we need to feed it. It’s hungry for something, the unresolved pain is just like a hunger pain that needs to be satiated, a hole that needs to be filled.

However when we feed it, we keep it alive, not only alive, but if  this becomes our steady diet, we help it grow and it becomes an identity of its own. And then we identify with it. It is us, we think. But it is not! It’s a false self image. An IMAGE. Not real. We keep giving power to it by feeding it and then identifying with it. Giving power to an image – an imaginary monster. If we stop feeding it, it will die. Oh death is scary, isn’t it? So it will cling and fight back with all its might, just as a wounded animal might. It’s called survival instinct.

It is not only the diet of negative thinking and beliefs that fuel these negative emotions, eventually our experiences will feed it too, making the beliefs even truer and that much more powerful. It’s just another form of like attracting like. Our pain is seeking out the same, thus creating experiences that feed it and re-creating experiences very similar to the ones that created those painful emotions.

For me those experiences seem to reinforce that I am inferior, not as good as others, untalented, powerless, will be rejected...

So, how to change it? Find a new way to feed those emotions, I suspect. One that will nourish it, not just satiate it, validate it, make it right. And isn’t that why we keep feeding it? The negative thinking and beliefs validate those feelings, gives them a reason, an understanding. Likely exactly what was missing in the first place.

Maybe it’s like growing a beautiful garden. We need plant the right seeds, feed it the proper nutrients, tend to it daily, prune when needed, and provide it with enough light.

Then we can sit back and appreciate our creation and soak in the beauty of our own garden.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Deluded by delusion

I deluded myself into believing that, that relationship was okay with me. Deluded myself by thinking his behaviours would change because of his love for me, because of my support and understanding. Deluded myself by convincing myself that my thoughts and feelings could be wrong, rather than his, even though he had a lifetime of dysfunctional thinking and behaviours (just 5 years before and for more than half his life he was an active alcoholic, drug abuser and an associate of bikers (his Dad’s gang)).

But still I questioned MY thoughts and feelings. Maybe I am the one that doesn’t understand, doesn’t get it. Maybe his relationship with his ex and even his son isn’t dysfunctional and emotionally unhealthy like I think it is. He’s so convinced that it isn’t. So I keep deluding myself with self doubt, beliefs that it will change (and I did see some progressive healthy change…so maybe I wasn’t being delusional).

Then I deluded myself again after I let go of him. Deluded myself by thinking he must have changed because he has a new gf soon afterward. Deluded myself by thinking I must have been wrong about seeing his behaviours with the ex as codependent and unhealthy because this girl is STILL with him. I MUST BE WRONG.  Deluded myself into thinking that I just wasn’t good enough. I didn’t wait around long enough. I didn’t know what I was talking about. I can’t believe in my own wisdom and instincts.

Throughout the whole relationship I deluded myself. I was questioning my own thoughts and feelings. My own intuition. I tried to override them with excuses, ‘I am not the type to have a conventional relationship,” “he’s like this because he’s had a bad childhood so I will accept it,” “he will realize he needs to change once he sees that he can trust me,” “we are meant to be”…

But that was the fearful codependent girl speaking who believes she’s unworthy, who is very self-doubtful and who clings when she is afraid. Delusion to feed my own unhealthy emotions and wounds. Delusion to keep me from stepping into my power.
Delusion is just another defense mechanism – a very sly one because it is almost undetectable – that keeps us from facing our unwanted wounds, ‘flaws’ and the things that we believe are unacceptable about ourselves. It shields us from hidden aspects of ourselves that we don’t want to feel, such as unloveability or self-loathing. Things we believe we cannot face because we are afraid it will kill our SELF. We cannot live with it. Delusion can even be fear of facing your own strengths!

Although delusion isn’t inherently bad, it was put in place by us to keep us safe at some point because we believed we could not cope with certain feelings or stand up for ourselves, so we shoved the feelings (and maybe even the once upon a time confidence) down more and more as we replaced it with a self we thought was better. A self that kept us safer. A self that fit the role we were put into.

Delusion then became the iron shield that protected us from our greatest fears about ourselves – the ultimate protector. We shoved it all down into a dark cavernous place and labeled it bad, unacceptable, unsafe, unloveable and unlivable.

It’s the big bad monster under our bed that we need protection from. And as we learn, the monster is only a hurt and lonely creature that just needs a friend, and some love and understanding.

But as we held on to these fears,  false beliefs, and roles that seemed to keep us safe, delusion only came to serve as a very high and dense wall – hiding us from ourselves.  In the end we are only fooling ourselves. We are losing ourselves...our authentic selves and our true power.