Relationships and friendships have mostly been a disaster. As a young girl, I preferred a close friend over many. However, jealousy, feelings of disappointment, sensitivity, feelings of unworth and not a part of, however, went hand in hand.
Whether friend or lover, the push, pull sense of wanting what I could not have and not wanting what I had was prevalent.
I spent a lifetime trying to figure it out. What happened? What was wrong with me? Therapy, psychics, past life regressionists, reiki masters, psychiatrists, healers, hypnotherapists, counselors, workshops, spiritual advisors, metaphysicians, YOU NAME IT, I experienced it, trying to fix it.
It’s a “creeped out” feeling I would get when one got too close and I wanted to RUN FOR THE HILLS. But the loneliness and isolation would sometimes threaten to pull me so far down, I feared I wouldn’t be able to return.
26 years ago, as my life started to change for the better and I started to get to know some of my patterns, I shared this confliction with a friend. We were doing a workshop together, Foundations for Living, and I shared with her that she needed to know that I was going to push her away eventually. I shared my sadness with her about this need to get away when others got too close and she looked at me and said, “you aren’t getting rid of me sistah.” Notice the heavy Boston accent.
We do not live in the same city, but I still consider her my best friend, to this day. No matter what is going on with me, she is there for me. We are there for each other. She knows my perceived faults and loves me anyway. She allows me to be exactly who I am.
My husband is the same way. 25 years ago we met. When the love and kindness got too much to bear, I did everything in my power to push him away. I have written about this in more detail in my book. But the bottom line is that I had much to heal, forgive, accept, love as I didn’t feel worthy of love coming my way. I thought I loved myself just fine until I was challenged to receive it and give it. We are all mirrors for each other.
Today, I like to think of myself as a strong woman. A woman who shares her truth, her authenticity with the world, knowing it’s going to piss off some people. And I do this so imperfectly and have much to learn. I remind myself that I am doing my best and my best is enough. I am enough.
It hit me this morning, that the run from intimacy, the uncomfort I feel when it gets too much MAY JUST BE a part of who I am. And that is the greatest and most freeing feeling! I don’t need to fix it, figure it out or even know what it is about. I only need to love it.
I used to be the classic people pleaser. I spent countless moments worried about what other people thought. If somebody thought ill of me, I spent time going around trying to fix it.
I remember in College, a friend started saying things about me, to other friends, that weren’t true. It caused great anguish. I went around telling my truth, hoping to gain community, a sense of rallying around me and my perceived victmhood. Of course it didn’t really work except to make me look desperate. It takes two to tango.
This happens to all of us: elementary school, college years, the work force.
In spending so many years waking up, getting to know me, healing from within, making peace, I have found that when others try and tear me down, I need to take a step back and breathe. It is not MY problem, unless I make it so. The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz, are tools I use:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best.
It can be easier said than done, but during a very tough time one year, in the work place, those Four Agreements saved me. Knowing that I was doing the best I could, was in my integrity and speaking my truth, I was able to rise above and declare that my happiness was an inside job and noone could take that away from me. It was the most difficult, yet empowering, time of my life.
In other situations, when I’ve been tempted to become defensive, or worry about what others think, I have declared that I am doing my best and it’s enough! I am enough!
Then I get to work, loving on me, and I let go of taking it personally. When someone sends cruelty my way, it says everything about them and I can declare “I wish you well,” as I move on.
I have not walked your path and you have not walked mine. If we can remember that, we might be more able to have compassion and forgive others as we fill ourselves up with love. In this way, I worry less about what you think.
Things will be going along. There is contentment, a type of surrendering peace, purpose, happiness and then one day we pause. Maybe we look at the smiles of the other couple too long . . . . Next thing you know, we are putting our relationship under a microscope, looking at every tiny and perceived flaw. Once we start doing that and focusing on every little thing we don’t like, it magnifies and grows. We distance ourselves.
What you focus on is what you see.
Whether it is a job, a relationship, a path, it is easy to get distracted and assume the grass is greener on the other side. I have found that whenever I do this, I rob myself of the glorious present, the beautiful and even tiny but magical moments.
Talking and sharing is an exquisite form of intimacy. It can bridge the divide and reduce the clutter. It can help us get clear and open our heart. I am so happy when my heart is open, when I notice the beautiful dance that is my life.
I have talked often about focusing on what we want, shifting perspective, focusing on all that is good in our life! I have talked often about when we are in the dumps, changing our perspective can be as easy as snapping our finger. I have talked often about how we can get into a rut, but when we look back at our thoughts and what we have been thinking about, it is clear WHY we are in that rut. Affirmations, visualizations, imagining what we want, pretending we already have it, focusing on a solution can move mountains!! For me, it has been a game changer especially in dealing with depression and manifesting my dreams.
However, the feelings of unworthiness, the feelings of deep seeded beliefs that tell you there is something seriously wrong with you, and that you don’t deserve happiness, can linger long after all of the serious work has been done. Deep seeded beliefs can stall any serious work we do because deep down there is a belief within that tells us we are unworthy and don’t deserve it.
That is when I knew I must take action. If you have children, you might relate to this. When my son was a toddler, he used to hit a lot. I would get upset, tell him not to do it but of course it continued. It wasn’t until I came up with a plan, an action every time he hit, that he started to learn what to do instead. We have to teach and take action.
In my journey, I have been guided to many healing modalities and I have learned a lot of tools along the way. One day the word SHAME popped up on my radar and I realized THIS was the feeling I was continuing to struggle with and had been struggling with for as long as I could remember. I had it when I was little and felt bad. I had it as I grew up and felt there was something wrong with me. I had it as an adult when I added more experiences that caused great shame. I had buckets full of it.
I did some research and found a guided meditation online by Michelle Chalfant (A guided meditation and exercise for releasing shame) and started to do the meditation any time I recognized it was shame holding me back. For me, the feelings of release were strong. I sensed a lightness in my load and was thrilled I had another tool. It was very powerful for me and reminded me of similar work I have done in the past.
I am grateful today that the awareness of shame came up. Sometimes we don’t really know what is holding us back, the beliefs inside that keep us stuck. Awareness, afterall, is the first step.
Some people just really want the dramatic story to continue. I mean I’ve been guilty of it! Like how many more stories can I add to the “this happened to me” saga?
Things do happen.
But in every moment, we have a choice to change our perspective, our beliefs, our truth, our reality and create a new story.
Sometimes it’s as simple as saying “ENOUGH” at the top of your lungs. Notice, describe, yell to the universe then use your anger and declare that this is my new truth!!
I did this when I moved away from OCD and battled it once and for all. When an obsessive ritual came up I declared, “I see you but I don’t do that anymore.” Not easy, sure, but doable with perseverance. Anyone battling mental illness will tell you the fight is real. But you can’t keep doing, thinking, feeling the same things and expect anything to change.
Sometimes seeking the right kind of help is the first step. But continuing to talk about your labels, your struggles, your pattern will most likely keep you right there, the perpetual victim.
Declare “enough” today. Make a change. Take one small step. These are some small steps I have taken throughout my life:
Seek help but make sure its the right kind of help for you. If it feels wrong, seek different help.
Notice all that you have, even if it starts with one small thing, like warm clothes for the day. Focus on that, feel gratitude for it, and you may notice more things you feel grateful for. Continue daily and you may notice a shift in perspective.
See that finger pointing? Turn it inward and ask tough questions. Everyone is a mirror. Things you can ask are what is this bringing up for me? What am I not doing? What do I need to heal? How can I fulfill myself and fill up my cup?
What do I love? Do it!
Go within, spend time in nature.
Forgive often! We are not perfect either. By not forgiving, I am only hurting myself.
We can’t necessarily see the big picture! Someday it may be revealed. In the meantime, trust the process of your life.
Do a body scan. In meditation, slowly focus on all parts of your body one part at a time and observe what comes up. Grieve, if needed, and allow it to flow down stream when you are ready. Then pour love and light into your body and love it thoroughly.
Do something for someone else.
Remember, you are the master of your ship and can achieve anything. If you feel like you can’t then you are listening to old tapes, conditionings. Declare that you are the love of your life and are capable, strong, courageous, powerful, and quite Awesome! Declare your new truth. Create the new story.