Today I Found Those Beautiful Words (Poem)

Today I found those beautiful words
I scan fast 
And ignore
An ode to a mother 

The praise, the tenderness, 
The love 
Expressed with feeling I am sure 
But serves as whiteout to my soul

What pain it must be 
That transforms love to enemy

It steals my heart 
It steals my words 
It steals my mind 

A weight so heavy 
I drift off
Into that world that saved me 
When you were my mother 

Where I Was (August & September) & Where I Am (October)

*(Just a heads-up: My Inner Critic’s voice is mocking and hurtful (especially in the Inner Dialogue Exercise). Putting this warning up in case you are trying to avoid that sort of energy right now.)*

Life Changes

The last couple of months have brought some big life changes. One of the largest being I moved. Another big life change was my counsellor had a session ( I wasn’t there) with my parents, which opened my eyes to a new reality for our relationship. My parents seem certain that they have no role to play in the dynamics of our relationship. They are willing to “help me” with “whatever I am feeling”, but see it as having nothing to do with them. They say they are very confused by it all. They think I should not be upset now or upset about the past, they think my problem is I won’t “accept the truth”. Of course they don’t usually say it as straightforward as that, but that is the general message. I was left feeling invisible and wrong for the emotions I have. And I saw, finally, that I needed to pull back from the relationship. In truth there has never been much of a relationship, and in all likelihood there never will be. The realizations were painful and upsetting, and especially difficult as I was also in the stressful process of moving.

A New Space For Growth

As I’ve pulled away from my parents, I’ve gotten more space to feel my own feelings. I’ve come to see how alone and isolated I’ve always been in life. These last couple of months have felt like a descent into a mysterious depth, where I now feel stuck. But stuck isn’t really the best word for where I am. Maybe it’s more like some hurting side of me is finally stepping fully forward now. This hurting side of me feels a new safety forming in the growing distance between me and my family. This hurting part of me is right at the surface now, and it’s disorienting and painful, and hard to function and take care of all my responsibilities. The weight and intensity of the hurting part’s feelings feels strong enough to shatter me from the inside out. To destroy me. I feel such an inner pressure.

But I do not believe this hurting part is trying to destroy me. I believe it is seeking help. It is starting to trust that I, my real self, may actually try to listen and help it. And she is right. I am determined this time to figure out how to help her – to listen, to believe, and to try not to judge. However this feels like a near impossible task, because there is another side of me that appears slicker, smarter and more powerful than this hurting side of me, and that is my Inner Critic.

Inner Critic Part/Emotionally Hurting Part

I am observing the emotional hurting side of me is held in like a hostage. It seems so clear to me I am in therapy to get the hurting side of me help, yet she is almost never allowed to speak during my sessions. It’s nonsensical, but feels largely out of my control. During this healing process, I have found an Inner Parent part of me. My Inner Parent speaks with a comforting and loving voice. And I can only assume my Inner Parent is who sought out therapy for my hurting part.

Yet I am observing over and over that when the intensely hurting part comes to the surface, my Inner Parent goes completely missing. I can not access it anymore. And instead of being met by the Inner Parent the hurting part instantly faces the Inner Critic. It’s as if the mere appearance of the hurting part, is the cue for my inner system to get the Inner Critic side online. The Inner Critic presents itself and simply sounds to me like the voice of “the truth/logic/reality”. It has an objective air. Yet when I listen deeply, or imagine it as a 3rd party speaking to me , I hear the Inner Critic’s voice as invalidating, mocking, harsh, threatening, and pressuring. I hear hate.

Furthermore I’ve observed that as my emotionally hurting part feels more and more overwhelmed, upset, or alone the Inner Critic becomes more and more aggressive and hateful. Sometimes it may appear as if the Inner Critic is trying to “get me help”, but it’s in such a frustrated way. It brings the hurting part of me to therapy with an attitude of “What is WRONG with YOU!”. It sounds like: “Can anyone fix this useless stupid emotional person. Give her a diagnosis or something, she won’t just shut up and be happy. She should be happy. She is annoying everyone! Bringing everyone down.”

My Inner Critic keeps my hurting side largely silent to the world and somehow silent even to myself (a large part of this silence is I do not recognize my feelings as my own. It’s like I don’t feel my own feelings.) I do not fully understand how the hurting part is silenced, maybe it is through fear of embarrassment or shame. However it seems that unless my hurting side finds a voice (whether it’s to me, my therapist, or someone else), it is unlikely to receive help from anyone.

An Inner Dialogue Exercise: Giving My Hurting Side A Voice

The emotionally hurting side of me has been very intense and at the surface recently and I recognize it must get help. I did the following exercise a few days ago in an attempt to get some clarity on what was going on inside the emotional hurting part of me. In this exercise I observed how difficult it is for the emotional part of me to speak and be heard. Not because she is silent or has nothing to say, but rather because the moment she starts to speak the Inner Critic shows up and starts speaking over her in an argumentative and aggressive manner. This is an example of what that Inner Dialogue sounds like in my mind:

Emotional Side: So, I am really hurting. What I need help with is….

Critic: (Interrupts) Haha, so many have had it so much worse than you. What a joke!

Emotional Side: Yeah, I know, I’m just focusing on healing my heart right now.

Critic: Of what! You are always so dramatic and self focused

Emotional Side: (trying to just ignore it and speak) Um, so when I was a little girl

Critic: You are still such a little girl…it’s pathetic. Everyone thinks it.

Emotional Side: (getting upset now) Um so, when I was younger, um, my family was always miserable, no love or tenderness or joy was really ever shown to anyone from anyone and

Critic: That’s everyone’s story…you’re being dramatic

Emotional Side: Please stop! Why are you doing this! (continued begging to stop)

Critic: More evidence you are dramatic. Just stop, this is stupid.You are embarrassing yourself.

Emotional Side: Just let me talk

Critic: About what? Your “trauma’

Emotional Side: About what I love, what I want

Critic: How cute…

Emotional Side: I love people. They are all so mysterious. I love nature, music, art, and poetry. I love being together with all this beautiful whatever we are. But my favorite thing by far is people.

Critic: Wow, ever looked around. People are horrible. Destroying the earth. You can’t trust any of them. Name anyone, I can make you turn on them. All are hurtful and ugly. They hide in darkness who they really are.

Emotional Side: Humans are a world unto themselves. Mystery and beauty. All mixed together.

Critic: Sorry, but look at the world

Emotional Side: Why are you doing this!

Critic: It’s true

Emotional Side: Who are you? Tell me your past

Critic: I don’t have one

Emotional Side: Yeah you do. You seem to “know” so much.

Critic: ………I just know they are ugly. I’ve seen.

Emotional Side: Seen what? I’ve seen beauty, mixed, but beauty. Like all of nature, it’s mixed. I love flowers in spring, but when the plant turns brown and dries up and sits ugly in the garden. I don’t give up hope for the flowers or reject the beauty I saw. The plant has beauty, that still stands. Each person is like that I think. A mixed bag, the ugly doesn’t negate the beautiful.

Critic: But the beauty doesn’t negate the ugly either

Emotional Side: True. But I feel I can love what I see. I do love what I see. I mean I certainly am just like all of that. A mixed bag. I think you are trying to protect me from the ugly side, because it can hurt. But I think I’m building myself up to be able to face it better. I’m learning new ways of thinking and understanding.

Critic: It won’t last. You always come crawling back to me. You will be torn apart.

Emotional Side: Maybe, but the beauty’s been real. And I’m curious why do you think I come back to you? What are you providing?

Critic: I take care of you. You are naive. You think they love you. No one does. It’s interesting though, because you do love them. But I often convince you that your love is broken to protect you. It’s easier for you to take the blame then to hear the truth – no one loves you.

Emotional Side: Do you love me?

Critic: Yes, Of course.You’re beautiful.

Emotional Side: (Overwhelmed, crying) … I didn’t know that. I thought I was broken, a problem.

Critic: I know, I’m sorry, it felt necessary.

Emotional Side: Is it still necessary?

Critic: Less so. But you’ll be scared.

Emotional Side: Okay, I am scared.

Critic: That’s okay. I’ll try to be easier on you. We can build on your passions. I know you enjoy them.

Emotional Side: Thanks, it’s been really hard hasn’t it? Being so alone, loving everyone so much, but seeing so much misery. Feeling powerless, and powerful all at once. Intensity and emotions in secrecy. The loneliness and confusion.

Critic: Yes, it’s been hard. We were placed in a line of trauma.

Emotional Side: Thank you so much for validating that. It has been hard. But I’m here to start changing that aren’t I?

Critic: Yes. Your parents contributed some, and you are going to take that and run for you children.

Emotional Side: Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I want. But I’m so worried, I know I’m struggling with all these changes and new ways of being. Living love and living trust is so hard. I’m very afraid.

Critic: That all makes sense. I’m very proud of you already though. And others are too, even if they don’t have the words to say it. This is a beautiful task, just the picking it up, it will mean something to your children.

Emotional Side: I worry it won’t, that I’m lying to myself. That maybe I should be doing something else. Just like the feeling I’m not doing enough. How do I balance self care and care for them?

Critic: You are figuring it out, keep going. This is hard.

Emotional Side: I’m so surprised to see you turned motivator. Is this really the Inner Critic not the Inner Parent?

Critic: I think we might be the same figure. Maybe in different settings. We both want the same thing at least, to keep you safe.

Emotional Side: So I was safe being attacked by you?

Critic: Yes, I thought the environment was not safe for you.

Emotional Side: My parents are not safe?

Critic: They don’t do it to hurt you. But yes, they are not safe. Not until you gain more strength in yourself.

Emotional Side: Is it safe now? (The new space away from them)

Critic: Yes.

Emotional Side: But you still attack me, shame me?

Critic: I am nervous too.

Emotional Side: (laughing) You do sound like a parent.

Critic: I am.

Emotional Side: Well, maybe seeing this side of you will help me handle your rants better. I can recognize you are nervous and doubting as opposed to certain. You aren’t the voice of truth, more a voice of worries about my safety.

Critic: Hopefully we will figure it out. I don’t want to tear you down. Only keep you safe, The beautiful, good, and true.

Emotional Side: But I’m ugly too right?

Critic: Yep, like everyone else.

Emotional Side: But we grow the beauty I guess, enjoy it, seek it out, nourish it, encourage it?

Critic: That makes sense to me. But honestly, I’m not passionate and emotional like you are. That’s all you. I just sit back and enjoy it. You are the beautiful, good, and true.

Interesting Take Aways

I was basing that write up off an inner dialogue I had a few days ago. But as I wrote it up from memory, it started taking a new turn and I went with it. I feel I learned something big here. I have never seen my Inner Critic be so kind. I’m sort of left speechless and unsure. Did the Inner Parent take over or was that really the Critic? Or are they really the same? Maybe the Inner Parent voice I thought of as “new” from this healing journey was really just the “new goal” of the Inner Critic. Maybe the Inner Critic has been learning and growing alongside all the other parts of me this whole time. I’m really not sure. I’ll have to give this time to sink in and reflect. But I definitely felt an inner ally inside, one I’m not used to.

More Reflections Given More Time:

  • I feel when the Inner Critic speaks of “others”, it is referring to my family of origin as opposed to the world at large. Which makes sense if the Inner Critic part was formed in childhood.
  • It would be nice if the Inner Critic praised me more often. It seems to see a good side of the emotional me, but rarely does it ever speak in a proud or supportive way. I need to practice encouraging and supporting myself, and also actually accepting my own encouragement and praise.
  • The more I reflect, with adult eyes, on how my Inner Critic tends to speak the more I see the dynamics of my family growing up through a different lens. I’ve always “sided” with my father. And by that I mean I’ve seen reality through his eyes for most of my life. He was the hero. However, as I am gaining strength and gaining my own perspective, I am starting to see the past actions and words of my father in a new light. Something about the tone and attitude of the Inner Critic strikes me as very similar to how he treated my mother when I was growing up. His past actions and words I used to view as having “protected” me or himself now appear (whether intended to or not) incredibly harmful to our family. They seem inappropriate and disproportionate. It’s a lot to process, and I am in the thick of that now.

Poem – Kahlil Gibran

"Your children are not your children.
     They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
     They come through you but not from you,
     And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

     You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
     For they have their own thoughts.
     You may house their bodies but not their souls,
     For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
     You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
     For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
     You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
     The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
     Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
     For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable."

- Kahlil Gibran 

Where I Am This Week (4/5)

Rapidly Shifting Moods

The days have been difficult recently. What a mix of beliefs and emotions exist within me. I find myself feeling joyful and grateful some days, and a day later I will feel broken and hopeless. My day to day life is very routine, yet the moods do not follow that day to day stability.

Last week I hit such a low emotionally that I decided I need to reach out for outside help from a therapist. At first I felt a sense of embarrassment and defeat in this I think, the desperation and hopelessness of my mood, I’m suppose to be in a better place now after all my growth right? But with a little reflection I see it as truly a good turn of events. I was able to honestly observe where I was, accept it, and seek out help for myself. I am putting in effort to learn how to take good care of myself. I am treating myself as someone I love.

The Automatic Thoughts (Maybe) Influencing the Mood Shifts

In moments I feel sure my feet have found the path to being a good enough mother for my children. A path of continual effort to learn, listen, grow, and be present with love for my children. I feel that my deepest dream, being a loving mother, is happening in reality. I have faith and hope my kids will feel a secure base with me, and that my presence will be a blessing and comfort to them. But how quickly all belief and faith in my being on a good path fall away. And I fluctuate to a certainty that I am my own mother. That this is all how she felt. That I am recreating the past, and my children will certainly feel how I feel/felt. Confused and hurt. Angry. Alone. Afraid of and distant from other people.

This roller coaster ride of beliefs (and the feelings that go with these beliefs) wears me down. I live days of security and joy, where my day to day struggles have purpose and meaning. And then days of insecurity and heartbreak, where my day to day struggles are only bringing about discomfort and inevitable heartbreak to others. Days where my love feels useless at best and harmful at worst, and I feel hopeless in the power and goodness of my love. On these days I’ll wonder, is my love really love at all?

I feel I have grown so much, yet these fears and doubts plague me. And how can I ever prove these fears untrue? How will I ever know that my ways of parenting feel like the security of love to my children? I know I do not feel loved by my parents, I believe in it like some sort of unseen and unfelt phenomenon, but it is not a lived experience. Why do I feel so unsure in their love? What caused/causes that? Was it something they did or didn’t do? I do not know with certainty. Well how then can I know I am not or will not simply repeat it? What makes love a lived experience? Am I overthinking it? My natural state around my idea of myself as a mother tends to be confusion. I have little clarity on how well I am doing.

The Rational Mind vs. The Emotional Mind

I am hopeful my weekly counseling sessions, where we will be focusing on cognitive behavioral therapy, will bring me some clarity and stability moving forward. I sometimes feel my rational mind is at peace and knows I am doing the work to be the best mother I can be for my kids, and that my effort will be enough for them. I believe I am making progress, and see such clear signs of growth and a comfortableness with closeness and affection with them that I didn’t have at first.

It seems it is my emotional mind that is lagging behind a bit. The emotional mind tends to see me as failing, and is desperate for me to make some sort of big changes that will bring a better reality. After some sort of frantic effort my emotional mind tends to turn against me and label me as the “problem”, me as the reason some sort of “harmful” thing is happening to those I love. Without much conscious thought I tend to believe these harsh labels, and then I will be pulled out of the present trying to figure out what is terribly wrong with me and my parenting and what I immediately must do to make amends. Yet I almost never can find anything disastrously and clearly wrong.

What does seem clear to me is this feeling that “there is a problem” or that “I am a problem to others” is actually pulling me away from being present in life with others. This pulling away from the present moment leads me to miss simple time spent with my kids and husband. That is an issue I do see. But that persistent thought and feeling of “something is wrong” I find hard to shake. There is the fear that maybe something is wrong, and by ignoring it, I am allowing something negative to persist.

I feel hopeful with a counsellors help I can help shape my mind to see and accept my new reality, my husband and kids love me and feel close to me. They see already that I love them and am trying my best to live that love. Those other eyes and judgements and expectations of me are in the past and irrelevant now. Those all meant little about me and were more about my parents and their own struggles carried over from their childhoods. My husband and kids see ME. And they love ME. Who I am is not an uncomfortable problem to them, they don’t need or want me to hide. Their desire towards me is my desire towards them- they want me, the real me, to be present. And I want to be present. “So why am I hiding?” my rational mind wonders. It makes no sense. Yet my emotional mind already knows the answer doesn’t it. Because I doubt myself. My words, my touch, my authentic presence, my love makes others pull back in discomfort and fear. I have seen it. But am I seeing it now, again, with my husband and children? Or are my eyes stuck staring at some sort of memory instead of seeing the present day before me.

Fred Rogers – “The Truth Will Make Me Free”

These are the words from the video above:

“The truth is inside of us, and it’s wonderful when we have the courage to tell it.

Singing: What if I were very, very sad
And all I did was smile?
I wonder after a while
What might become of my sadness?
What if I were very, very angry,
And all I did was sit
And never think about it?
What might become of my anger?
Where would they go, and what would they do
If I couldn’t let them out?
Maybe I’d fall, maybe get sick
Or doubt.
But what if I could know the truth
And say just how I feel?
I think I’d learn a lot that’s real
About freedom.
I’m learning to sing a sad song when I’m sad.
I’m learning to say I’m angry when I’m very mad.
I’m learning to shout,
I’m getting it out,
I’m happy, learning
Exactly how I feel inside of me

I’m learning to know the truth
I’m learning to tell the truth
Discovering truth will make me free.

Are you discovering the truth about you? Well I’m still discovering the truth about me. That’s what we do as we keep on growing in life.”

Fred Rogers television show Mister Rogers Neighborhood was intended for children. And he spoke so beautifully to the child’s heart, he was often able to awaken the inner child that still lives within adults. His gentle, compassionate, and understanding presence along with his wisdom has been/is incredibly inspiring and comforting to me in this journey.

Where I Am This Week (12/7)

A Difficult Week

This past week was difficult. It felt as if another floor had fallen out from under me, and many painful feelings arose. I am coming to understand this falling into difficult emotions is part of the process of healing/returning back to my true self. But still the emotions, though freeing me and healing me, are painful. Exactly what floor fell out from under me this week? I’m not sure. But these were some of the thoughts and feelings I observed within me this week.

My Mother

A realization that what I believe saved me/woke me up to live life (which was my love for my children and more generally other people) does not seem to have saved my mother. And not only did it not save her in my childhood, but to this day I feel shut off from her. I feel deeply unwanted for who I am. Something about this relationship pulls me away from the present, pulls me away from my husband and children. I do not want this to happen anymore, I want to live.

As I reflected on this all, this numbed out but I suspect deep hurt I carry around my mother, a metaphor came to my mind. I imagined a heaven, a life after this one where we are all healed. All living our dreams. I saw my father there, my brother, it brought tears to my eyes. The togetherness, the joy.

But I realized I do not see her there. Why not? My heart seems to believe she does not want to be there with us. If I try to include her in this heaven with us the closest I can bring her is to the other side of our heaven’s gate. She stands behind the gate yelling over to us how she “can’t join us”, but the gate door to our side is large and wide open. I try to get her to see the gate is wide open, she needs only to walk in if she wants to join us. But she gets angry and dismissive of me. I am left feeling concerned for her, which morphs into anger within me, and also an uneasy feeling at her bizarre claims. I am confused, and afraid. Do my eyes deceive me? Heaven is ruined.

The World of My Dreams or The World of My Fears

The day after reflecting on this heaven metaphor and letting the hurt of feeling like my mother doesn’t want to be around the real me sink in, another thought arose. This was the realization that I suspect I have lived most of my life behind a haze of my own projections. I was not aware that what I was seeing, what felt so real, was being put there by me. I feel as if I sometimes now catch glimpses of the real world, the world with less projections, the world I assume I was born into and saw briefly as a child.

So what world have I been seeing most of my life? I suspect it was a version of the world I feared to be the case. But to me it looked like “the truth”/”reality”. I feel heartbroken to reflect I have played a part in helping bring more to life and perpetuate that world that is not the world from my dream but the world from my fears. I see how I have so often preemptively pushed others away because I feel they do not want to be around me, they do not care for me. When the truth is the person (my mother) who probably created this belief in me, does care, but fears me. But how many other people have feared me? Yet, it seems clear to me I have been so quick to fear others. It seems the distorted image of my mother (I was not even aware of) was the lens through which I saw and responded to many people. My heart fell into moments of hopelessness and pain as these realizations sunk in and were accepted this week.

I was left feeling like I do not understand anything anymore. So much regret and lack of faith in myself and my vision of reality. Many moments of hopelessness and a general sense of deep confusion. But in this disoriented and hopeless state, there was one thing I realized I remained confident in – and that was my dream. The image of my dream seems to keep me tied tight to this life, keeps me happily striving even through pain, regret, and uncertain odds. I will share what I dream of and what I am beginning to believe I will strive to bring about or maybe just recognize already exists and start to actually feel. I believe my peace rests in knowing that I have done what I can do for the creation of my dream. But it all becomes so complex because others are involved. What are their dreams? But I will share what I dream of.

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“I Love You. I Would Rather Die Than To Hate You”

As I found and shared these images, Martin Luther King Jr.’s words came to my mind “I love you. I would rather die than to hate you”. It is a beautiful motto of life to me. To a life, far from easy, but a life approaching my truth. I am love. Where I step outside of love, I step outside of myself, a part of me dies/loses contact with living life. I want to live as whole, I want to live in harmony. I can try to live as my heart wants to live, I can live as if my dream is already true, and maybe in time I will start to feel it is and experience it.

What I am beginning to see is that I can not live in peace with these feelings of fear and resentment in me, they destroy even the hope of the dream I love. I have so often lived some warped and fearful motto of “I love you. BUT I would rather hate you than to die”. This fearful state told me I must flee others and push others away. It morphed the world before my eyes into the very world I fear, a world where I must be cut off from others and alone. A scary, unsafe world, empty of being lovable and loving. And it did all this in the name of “protecting me”.

No, this warped motto destroys my beautiful dream. I will not willingly play a part in harming this dream of unity and love with others any longer. I fear some people in my life look at my actions and words and feel I do not want the real them around me. But that is the opposite of my dream. There is another side to this too which is I fear others do not want the real me around them. There is a part of me that feels the truth is that I should be left alone to protect others from me. That my real self is a danger to everyone I love and my dream. I seem to fear myself. But I say “Look, look, at my dream. If it is not a dream you want, that is fine. But if you fear it, why? What is the danger in my dream?”

But there is a part of me I am trying to nurture. A peaceful, happy part of me. A hopeful part of me, seeking to harmonize. A dreamer. What that part of me cares about most, longs for, is the dream I shared in those images. If I can have faith, I believe I can be a part of creating/waking up to that beautiful dream. Without faith I have seen fear will reign in me, and I will likely play a part in continuing to create/wake up to the very world I fear.

Where I Am This Week (11/23)

Being There For Myself/Being There For Others

I feel myself stepping more and more into living as myself. I more often have such a peace within and such a peace with my actions and words. However living more as my real self is a change for me, and with changes come challenges.

One of these challenges for me is learning how to interact as my real self with other people and relatedly learning to see those around me for who they truly are. I try to be in touch with my real self, and when I feel I am, I trust that her instincts and intentions are best for myself and those around me. I try to live more freely now.

This past week I attempted to express this idea to my husband, this idea that I am trying to build up a trust in myself and step into living fully as myself. I expressed my confusion and fears about how this could effect our relationship. It was honest, but unsurprisingly seemed to make him feel attacked or threatened and that seemed to send me into a more fearful and negative mental space.

This dynamic confuses me. I feel the urge to reach out, discuss, and share, so I do. But often I share my fears, and my fears often involve me “hurting someone more than I am helping” or someone “holding me back from happiness/living as me” in some way. They are my fears of what reality is or will be. But it seems, as happened during this conversation with my husband, the person I’m speaking to takes it personally. My fears seem to hurt them. If I had thought about this conversation with my husband more before sharing, I would have guessed he would react negatively just as he did. Does that mean I shouldn’t bring these types of fears up with him? Does it mean the way in which I bring them up is not graceful enough?

What Would My Inner Parent Say?

When learning how to better interact with others, I can find it helpful to reflect on how my inner parent interacts with me or would interact with me in a given situation. When I do this exercise, I see how deeply hurtful it would be for my inner child to hear anything that sounds remotely like my inner parent saying they “might have to leave me“. However I do feel slight resistance to this notion that the level of “eternal thereness” for myself should be extended to my husband. I do love my husband though, isn’t that level of “eternal thereness” just what love looks like? I do not know, being there for myself and others is new to me. I am learning.

There is a relationship where this quest for “eternal thereness” feels more smooth and natural to me and that is towards my children. I feel determined to always be there for them, just as my inner parent is for me. I will never leave them. No matter how old they are, or how lost they are, no matter where they are emotionally I will be there for them and if I am not there for them I will be trying with all my strength to get there and let them know I am desperately trying. Would I ever say anything they might hear as “I might have to leave you”? Maybe, but always I would try to make it clear I feel I might have to leave because my strength, and therefore ability to be there for them, is faltering. Always it would be clear the “leaving” is temporary, is in tune with where they are too, and I will return.

Is it true I do not feel this desire for “eternal thereness” for my husband? If it is true, is that something I should strive to change? Is it a lack of extension and expression of my love? It’s a maze to my mind.

What Are My Expectations And Hopes From My Husband?

Maybe I can find some clarity about how I want to/should feel towards him by switching the roles -What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself? I want him to be truly happy. I want him to flourish from within. I want him to find and step right up to the line that is the limit to his freedom to improve the world. But also I want him to have the wisdom to recognize, accept, and make peace with that line that is the true limit of his power. I want him to look back and be able to see the ups and downs, that are life, as his beautiful story. I want him, who he is inside, to be living in every moment.

Though I didn’t clearly answer the question of “What are my expectations and hopes from my husband towards myself?”, maybe I did discover a clarity from not answering the question. I suspect the resistance I have to being “eternally there” for my husband, does not indicate a lack of love for him. It indicates a lack of willingness to self destruct for him. A growing recognition that I am worthy and want to step into my life. The real me is no danger. I will step into my life. I will live my life. I feel this is healthy, and I want the same for him. I want my husband to live, not live for me.

Well, Where Do We Fit Into Each Other’s Lives Then?

I want to be a person my husband wants to be around. A person who emotionally supports him and he wants to support, a person who is interested in him and who he is interested in, who believes in him and he believes in, who brings joy to him and he wants to bring joy to too, etc. and I assume he wants to be that person to me. I believe we both share the fear that we are not that person to the other. I believe this was the fear I communicated this week to him, and me discussing it brought up that shared fear in him too.

And there is truth to that in our past. We have relived and are reliving many aspects of the dynamics from our childhoods with each other. (I suspect my fear that my real self is a danger to his real self and happiness or that he is a danger to my real self and happiness are both strongly rooted from my childhood not our relationship). But how beautiful if somehow we each can bring ourselves to the surface of life, and fully stand before each other in the present. Fearfully at first, but then receive what we have longed for all our lives. To feel seen by someone who wants us, the real us.

I sense a growing of that difficult journey to the surface of life within both of us. There is a part of me, not the fearful part of me, that has faith. That part of me believes my husband and I both lost touch with our real selves in childhood. Yet somehow it was our real selves which chose each other, and which have carried us through our dating and marriage years together. An emotion within me seems to say, “You already see him, and he already sees you. Look to see this truth, and live this truth boldly. Then you will begin to experience it, to feel it!”.

Where I Am This Week

Interacting With Myself (My Inner Child)

For as long as I can remember I ignored, criticized, judged, or rejected my feelings. That was just how I interacted internally with myself. I vaguely recognized it wasn’t healthy, but I didn’t know a different way of being. I assumed everyone else’s inner worlds looked like mine. To me that was just the reality of internal life.

Through this journey of change I am learning to feel my emotions more freely. It can be overwhelming. I feel so much. It also seems as I have been accepting and hearing my emotions more freely my emotional landscape appears different. Anger and frustration have always been common and familiar emotions within me. Maybe shortly before my journey back to self or at the start of it (it’s not clear to me when this whole process started) my anger began morphing into a type of internal chaotic rage. That period of rage was brief but scared me. But anger and frustration seemed to be my constant companions.

I noticed over the last few months however that my familiar emotion of anger has largely faded and a new emotion seems to have taken it’s place – sadness. It feels like progress to feel this sadness, because I suspect it was sadness that was the hidden fuel of the anger. Sadness is the true face behind the mask of anger I wore and saw for so long. Even though sadness has been with me all along, I find it difficult and painful to feel and manage. I am not familiar with accepting and feeling sadness. I notice it tends to make me flee inwards. I have been practicing the habit of sitting with, listening to, comforting, and offering guidance to my sadness.

A New Voice?

When I had moments to myself this week I naturally glided into the habits I have formed to give my sadness time to express itself and be heard and understood by me. I would pick up a self help book or start working on a playlist of music to capture my journey, but something inside of me seemed uninterested. There was a push back within me towards the activity. At first I interpreted this push back to be an attempt by me to resist painful but needed action. It is common for me to fearfully flee what I truly want to approach. But as this new feeling of push back continued to arise over the week, it captured my interest. I started listening more deeply to the feeling and observed it appeared to be saying “Play, let’s have fun!”.

This is a message I have almost never heard from within. It confused me. I have spent the last couple months practicing getting in touch with my heart, my inner self. Hadn’t I found my heart, and inner self to be deeply hurt and sad? I imagined it would be disrespectful to my inner self to listen to and live this playful feeling. I feared it was a compassionless abandoning command to “stop being sad and be happy please”. I worried it would re-inflect on my inner self exactly what wounded me so much as a child. But these were my fears speaking, when I observed past them I saw the situation more clearly.

This new push back feeling wasn’t a new but familiar insensitive and dismissing voice commanding me to just be happy, it was my inner self speaking in a way I had never heard before. It was my inner self feeling and sharing a less familiar emotion – joy and playfulness. It seems by letting myself feel my sadness, by sitting with it, and looking on it with compassion it freed me to start feeling more joy. My inner self now sometimes wants to listen to happy music, be silly with the kids, dance, sit and watching a TV show just for fun. It isn’t insensitive, numbing, or disrespectful to me to feel and live these joyful and playfulness moments, it would be insensitive to me to judge, criticize, or reject them and needlessly push a serious activity on myself.

Joy and Play

I am accepting these joyful and playful feelings when they arise, I am enjoying them. When I get free time now I try to listen to what I want to do right in that moment. Maybe I do want to put in hard work for a long term project, maybe I do want to do some difficult inner work, maybe I am hurting and want to work on expressing and understanding it, maybe there is a chore I want to get done, maybe I just want to have fun. This tuning into how I feel and building up a trust with myself that I will know and respect how I feel in the moment, makes even difficult and boring task more peaceful to me. I notice I have been getting more chores around the house done this week through this listening to when I am ready to do them and not forcing myself. In some ways this all doesn’t make sense to me, but I guess I am learning to respect myself and that alone makes me happier and more efficient.

I believe what I needed as a child, I am learning to give myself now. I am learning to be in touch with and responsive to myself in the moment. I am building the inner strength to love strong enough to go to wherever I am emotionally in the present moment. To sit there, to listen to myself, to comfort myself, to encourage myself, to praise myself, to guide myself. And as this happens more and more a trust and faith builds with myself. A beautiful proclamation arises from the deepest parts of my inner self: “I am never and will never be alone again!”.