Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What are you hooked on?

When we are not aware of or have healed our own wounds, we end up chasing them out there and become hooked on to other people's wounds and issues. Instead of listening to our own inner wisdom and being guided by our own feelings, we dismiss them. We tolerate behaviour that is unhealthy, or makes us feel uncomfortable, or is hurtful to us. We try to get them to change, behave differently, think differently, so they’ll treat us better – the way we want to be treated. And when the other doesn’t change, we start pushing down our own feelings, justifying their behaviours, making excuses for them or for ourselves, fooling ourselves, and doubting our own thoughts.

What we are really trying to do, I believe, is have the other validate us and the more they don’t, the more we try to prove our worth to them. BUT, what we are really trying to do is prove our worth to ourselves. It is us who do not believe we are worthy or special enough.

And there is my hook.

That’s why I kept sticking around, even though my head and heart were saying, “this seems unhealthy”, “he has unresolved emotional issues around relationships”. When I felt his actions (not his words, so much) were not honouring me, respecting me or valuing me…I stayed. Hoping he’d see my worth and change. Yes there is many “wrongs” in that statement.

But what really awoke those painful, almost hidden beliefs was what happened after the relationship. After the break up. Sure my insecurities and lack of belief in myself had me be and stay in the relationship, but I am not a wimp or a pushover in a relationship. It was the break up that woke up the beast! The wounds broken wide open! He didn’t fight for me, he didn’t change, he didn’t fall apart (that I saw), he didn’t validate me, rather he disconnected from me AND he found a new girlfriend soon after…one that is still with him almost 2 years later (how invalidating to my thoughts and feelings). Not fighting for me, not falling apart without me, seeming ‘okay’ to let me go and getting a new gf fairly quickly had me hearing my old wounds and beliefs LOUD & CLEAR: “YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH”.

And I realize it was this feeling “I am not good enough” that had me clinging, obsessing over him, holding on to the pain, doubting myself, and a plethora of other self-defeating behaviours, not the break up…not him. I was just chasing my own wound and trying to get it healed by him!?

The more I tried to get him to validate me and prove to me that I am worthy and special enough to fight for, change for, stay with, the more I was invalidated and ‘proved’ otherwise…and then the more I clung and obsessed and held on to the story and the pain of the ‘break up’. Ironically, it is these actions, that not only reinforce those feelings within ourselves, but also adds yet another layer of pain onto that self-defeating belief.

All the clinging and obsessing is not really because I want him (or I wouldn’t have broke it off in the first place), nor is it a measure of my love for that person, it is because I am now looking for proof that I AM GOOD ENOUGH, so I don't have to believe my own demons. And who I am ultimately trying to prove it to, is not him, it’s myself. And I am looking out there for proof of it, driving me to behave in codependent, obsessive, and unhealthy ways which are self-defeating and get me further and further away from “I am good enough!”

The fact is no matter what he did or does, no matter how much I obsess, cling, beat myself up, doubt myself, analyze it all or get the 'proof' that I am looking for to validate my thoughts and feelings regarding him and that relationship,  it is not ultimately going to make me feel like I am good enough because the truth is, deep down it is me that does not believe I am good enough.

My wound just hooked on to him. I'm hooked on to my wound.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

All I See is Me

It is so difficult to see ourselves. That is why we have relationships, whether friendships, siblings, coworkers, or intimate relationships, through them we really get to see and learn about ourselves. It’s really not so much about them, it’s really about us. The world – our relationships and our circumstances – are a mirror for us. They mirror back to us how we really feel about ourselves deep down.

But it is so difficult to see ourselves. Difficult situations will come along and maybe help us, and we get glimpses and may decide to alter a behavior or perspective. But we still so often just see the other person. It’s them. We can see their faults, their issues, their unhealthy behaviours…their baggage. It’s easy to see. It may be projection, but it may not be. Either way we see it over there – in them, and we focus our attention outside of us. Nothing really changes much. More of the same people and circumstances keep coming along. Until that ONE!

Sometime we even say it: “he/she is the one”. And they probably are, but in a way quite different than we expected. They are the ONE that has exposed all our wounds, all our hidden fears, trauma and pain. They are the ONE that exposed it to the light of day. And we may try to shove it back down in our own special way, or ignore it, or try to outrun it, but this time we cannot. Our “Soulmate” has exposed our truth. And a true soulmate really is the ONE that will teach you the most about yourself. And often it is the most painful.

Yet this is the chance to really SEE ourselves. If it is our time to grow, time for our soul to evolve to the next level, all our distractions, band-aids, defenses, saviours, and safety nets will be taken from us. The drugs, the sulking, the clinging, the pleading, the next ‘one’ won’t make it feel better this time, so that we can stay the same.

Everything will be stripped away, and you can stay stuck, fighting what is, and screaming “it’s not fair” and nothing this time will save you. You are now face-to-face with YOU! Introduce yourself. There is no longer anything or anyone else to look at, but you. You are alone with yourself. That anger, that resentment, that pain, that sadness…it’s all yours.

This is the struggle we come up against when we come to this point, where there is nothing or no one else…nothing to blame, no one to save us. If you really think about it, it is our own souls (ourselves) that have brought us to this place. We have, at a deeper level, created this for ourselves. Why?

Because our souls are asking us to grow. Our souls want us to save ourselves. Our souls want us to know our own strength. Our souls want us to know our own worth. Our souls want us to find our own power.

Our souls are asking us to look at ourselves. Our souls are asking us to become who we are…or, rather remember who we really are. Our souls are asking us to stop looking outward to find ourselves because that is not where we are. Our soul is saying “look here…inside”. That is why we are stripped bare. That is why we are left alone. That is why our own defenses and band-aids no longer work, so we have nowhere else to look, nowhere else to go…but inside. It’s like tough love.

This ‘painful’ process is an opportunity to get to know you…the real and amazing and complex and worthwhile you. An opportunity to grow…grow into you. And really, what a great opportunity. You have been awoken. You now have the chance to get to really know YOU!

Your fears, your hopes, your wounds, your dreams, your strengths, your joys, your sadness…and accepting it all. Get curious and excited about getting to know you and be close with you as you would with another. How lucky, because what a beautiful person you get to know – you!

These seemingly painful experiences are likely really one of the most special experiences of our life. We are being given a gift— a gift to really know ourselves, know our truth and move closer to our destiny.

I believe when one surrenders to this process and gets to the other side of it, they will have found a strength, a power, and a love they have never known…because they will have found themselves.

Thanks to the pain.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

My Self is in here somewhere

This weekend I came across a new blog, a woman who dealt with her husband’s addiction. I won’t get into her story much, because it is her story, but so many of the things that she was going through during her letting go of him resonated so much with me. To put it briefly, her story validated my feelings.

And during my process of working through my emotions (that were very confusing to me), I thought it was not all that healthy for me to need someone else to validate my feelings. After all, that is part of my “issue”, not believing in my own thoughts, feelings and instincts. Looking outward for validation and proof of value is exactly what got me into that situation in the first place. Which, granted is true enough; however I have learned through this women’s blog that it is okay to want and have your feelings validated … especially when you can’t yet do it for yourself. I think she learned this as part of a Trauma Response Therapy.

And maybe it is okay that I want someone to validate me, and that it’s not because I am just weak and have low self-esteem. If we didn’t get the validation we needed in childhood, then how the hell can we know how to validate ourselves?

Looking back on my childhood, although not tragic at all (and I thought pretty damn good, until I was faced with some of my dormant emotions in the past few years that came from relationships with two dysfunctional people, one with a past addiction problem and the other...just a loser, drinking problems and perhaps a mental illness. I haven’t talked about him here because I wasn’t in love with him, but his fucked up behaviours and meanness to me AFTER I broke it off is what woke up these dormant wounds and hidden beliefs of low self-worth in the first place.I was still working through these feelings when I met my last ex, so it is no wonder I found someone dysfunctional).

Anyway, as I was saying, my thoughts and feelings were never validated when I was young. If I was crying (which I seemed to have done a lot of, including classic temper tantrums), I was told to stop it or don’t be silly. No one tried to understand why I may have been feeling this way…I was just a suck and a cry baby. Oh I heard those ones a lot. I did have three older sisters after all – whom I love and adore! So I believed this about myself.

I looked to my older sisters to tell me what I should be thinking because apparently my thinking was wrong, definitely confused I’m sure from living with a hot-tempered alcoholic father. If my thinking differed from theirs, then I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about because I am younger than them, or my thoughts were just weird. I believed this about myself.

The way I behaved was wrong or inappropriate, was the message I got from my parents. My Mom, from her own upbringing I guess, was always concerned about what other people thought so I always had to act a certain way. If my behaviours brought attention, then I was told I was wrong. I learned to always please others, to change the way I am to fit others sensibilities. I also learned from this, that other people are better than me. I believed this about myself.

From my Father, oh the things I have learned from him that I never knew I learned from him until I went through this dark journey. I learned how to behave from his moods. His drunken outbursts at any time taught me that whatever I did was wrong, therefore something was wrong with me. It taught me that whatever I did was not good enough and I was bad, therefore I was not good enough. I felt ashamed of who I was. Or at the other spectrum, he could be in a jovial, fun mood and would engage me in play. I just didn’t know how to act. My actions would be the same but his responses would change. Although not much of this is clear in conscious memory, but I can surmise that I learned how to be and what I believe about myself  from him just by knowing the way he was and how I became.

I became a people-pleaser and would change who I was so not to be criticized or humiliated for who I really was. I  became afraid of any confrontation. I became untrusting of my own thoughts and feelings because, well, I was taught by both actions and words, not to believe them. I learned that other people were more important than me and definitely better than me. I internalized it all and came to conclusions about who I was. I became a victim, powerless, weak, timid and self doubting.

My self-expression was lost. I was afraid to show and be who I really was. The little girl who was so funny, self-expressive, affectionate, a ham, an attention-getter as I was told I was ….and I remember that as well, and I am still that way when someone gets to know me well and I feel safe enough to be me, was gone. By the time this happy-go-lucky little girl went to school, she was shy, nervous, withdrawn and stuttered (so stated in my report card that I found in recent years)…and I was still peeing the bed.

So where did this expressive, charming, happy girl go to?

I have been uncovering the answer to this - a question that I hadn’t even thought of asking myself - since I fell into this dark emotional abyss after my break up. And that is probably why I have held on to the story for so long. I am finding me through this.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Final Performance

The mind is so ego maniacal. So self-important. So Serious. It grasps. It creates drama. It spins stories. It denies. It defends. We attach meanings and interpretations to everything in context of our ego. An ego created to keep us safe and to defend our fragile insecurities, or to prove our fragile insecurities to be true.

Our egos created from the perceptions of our minds –  underdeveloped young minds –  that are very ripe and vulnerable. Pure unpolluted minds that perceptively pick up on everything in our surroundings, in our culture, from our family, our peers, and our teachers. Then – voila – we have created our self-image, the person we think we are.

But is it really who you are? Our ego was created so long ago from that young impressionable mind and we have automatically believed this is who we are. No questions.

You may think you are meek, boisterous, social, anti-social, untalented, inferior, superior, smart, dumb, able, incapable, etc. Is this really true or just the image you have created for yourself from all the feedback and meanings you placed on experiences at a young age? It’s like choosing a role in a play a long time ago – a child role – yet continuing to play that role your entire life. It doesn't fit anymore...

So many of us need to break out of old ego molds because they are no longer serving us or supporting us. We are living false lives, merely an image of ourselves, or rather an image of someone else.

Often, it is difficult situations that have us questioning who we really are, the lives we are living, the behaviours we are engaging in, and the patterns we keep repeating. For some this may be a serious illness, a great loss, an end to a significant relationship, or even a job loss.

The situations, people and experiences that really shake the ground that we stand on and break the very foundation that has supported us. The situations, people and experiences that strip us of our ego and leave it weak, wounded and broken beyond repair.

They are our wake calls. A message from a deeper part of you. Shhhhh….just listen without imposing your mind on to it and you will hear the message you are meant to receive from that deeper part of yourself, your authentic self, your all-knowing self, your soul.

And the broken ego mind will struggle to hold on, to get back to 'normal', yet this ends up causing us more suffering than if we just let it die ... let it go.

If you can let go of how you think things should be, the need to hold on or fight what is, to find right or wrong, drown in self-pity, deny, run from, blame or whatever else you may do to ‘deal’ with difficult emotions, you will be able to heed the message that these painful and challenging situations bring.

Perhaps it is time to build a new ego structure, a new image of yourself.

As painful as it is to let a part of ourselves die, or as easy as it is to judge these parts we don't like, make your old ego's last performance stellar! Allow it to leave with dignity and love. Give it the gratitude and applause it deserves.

Then choose a new role. One that supports you. One that is more aligned with who you REALLY are.

Your whole idea about yourself is borrowed – borrowed from those who have no idea of who they are themselves. ~Osho