A friend from Haven wrote the following in an email.
I think that what I am trying to do is integrate things that people say to me (the good stuff) on a body level. I am trying to believe, in my body, that I am as great a person as some have told me I am. I certainly believe in my body the opposite very easily.
I’m glad that my friend is working at integrating the good stuff that people have said and are continuing to say to her at the body level. Sometimes it takes a long time for these ideas to get through. We so often give ourselves such a hard time.
I disagree with her, that at the body level, what she describes as “the opposite” is true. It is precisely at this level that the good stuff is. I believe it is a matter of awareness and acceptance at the body level. We simply need to get out of our own way.
The “believe” part is your head working. At the body level we simply know. At the head level, we think or believe. If we could only get our heads out of the way — our bodies would do a wonderful job of taking care of us. My friend knows at a body level what a wonderful person she is and how much she has to offer. Her head just needs to believe this to be true.
This is an area that I struggled with for so long. My head did a wonderful job of sending me negative messages. I was no good. I could not get anything right. When I walked into a new situation, I imagined every possible thing that could go wrong. Nobody was ever going to like me. They might put up with me ’cause they liked Wayne but they would never like me. Nobody would think I had anything valuable to say.
I never understood how I was so lucky to find Wayne, and be in relationship with him for so long. (That one still amazes me!) When I told Wayne that — he would say the same thing to me - about being so lucky. I could not understand how he could consider himself lucky cause I did not feel like much of a prize. (That one I am over!)
I imagine that last paragraph sounded quite familiar for you, too. In my struggles with learning more about me in the last few years, I have gained a great acceptance for who I am at the body level. I’ve discovered that this acceptance was there all along. It was my head I had to convince. I was my own worst enemy — bet that sounds familiar too!
Those thoughts keep coming back into my head. The sad part is, I imagine they always will. I don’t think that pattern will ever go away. The difference now is that I can see both sides. When those voices get loud enough in my head for me to notice, I listen for a bit then respond with “wait a minute!!!” I then take time to remember the positive comments that I have heard. That was a big one — learning to hear the positive comments. I also kept a book of proof in my head of the times when I felt good and things worked out for me. That was a difficult book to create. It helped to make some written lists to read over when I needed to. I now can just consult the lists in my head. I’m noticing that I don’t need such a long list anymore. Sometimes I just have to remember that there is a list.
Keep noticing the good things people are saying and keep a list for those times that you need it. Our bodies do know and our work is to “remember” that we do know. Keeping a journal is an excellent way to do this! Keep a special journal of the positive comments you’ve heard and the times when things worked. Make a habit of re-reading this one regularly.
My friend also commented in her email:
I am amazed at how the same stuff still keeps coming up for me. I have been tied to the dock of being abandoned for so long it’s like my whole life is reflecting this. And I want to grow up now. I really want to let go of this dock. And yet it seems that the only way to do this is to reach out to others and risk being abandoned (or rejected). Kind of a catch 22. And I am willing to risk it.
Being abandoned is a “rock” belief for my friend. Wayne wrote about this in his book, Living Life in Growing Orbits. It will be with her for life. These “rock” beliefs are created in our childhood experiences. Abandonment will colour everything in her life. How much she will allow it to do so is up to her. Mine is similar. It is more rejection that I tend toward. My family did not go away. They were just not there for me emotionally and did not seem to care about me. Actually they were just all tied up in their own stuff and I thought it was all about me.
In The NEW Manual for Life, Bennet Wong and Jock McKeen describe life like a voyage on a river. Events in our lives are like docks that we stop and visit on our journey. Some experiences are more significant than others and people often refuse to untie their boats from this dock. When faced with anxiety, they pull on the ropes and return to this dock. These are the docks that my friend is referring to. A dock for her from early childhood is abandonment. It happened once and it was significant for her so she has latched onto that dock and has had some trouble letting go of the rope.
This issue will not go away for her. It will always be there. She is correct (in my opinion) that the only way to get past this is to continually put herself out there and risk being abandoned again and again. And yes, some people will abandon her — at least in her eyes. Like my family though — it will have only to do with what is up for them and really nothing about her. That is her learning in letting go of the rope that connects her to that dock.
We all have our docks, our hooks, our old patterns. The only person that matters in all of this is you. You are a wonderful person and when you accept this about yourself — then everyone else’s opinion goes away, as does the field dependence. Being the person that someone else wants you to be will never work. That’s a game where the rules constantly change and it is set up for you to fail. Rather play the game of being the person you want to be and be content with that.
This is not to say that my friend will not feel resentments when, in her eyes, people abandon her. With people she chooses to be in relationship with, these resentments need to be shared. It is the way that we draw closer to our intimate friends - through the revealing of ourselves. In sharing the resentments, you are revealing how you felt in the situation. If there is something specific that you want from another person - then you job is to ask specifically for what you want. Other people can’t read minds and know what you want - any better than you can. Also - the other person has the freedom to comply with your wishes or not. Their choice in this matter is all about them and has nothing to do with you. The line - If you loved me you will always be there for me - does not work.
I have learned a lot about this in the past couple of years. My hook is rejection. I looked at a situation and followed it to its logical consequence - and if everyone would just see it my way - they would see how much another’s person’s behaviour was a rejection for me. I was totally convinced that everyone would see it my way - ’cause that was the way it was.
Through conversations about my resentments, I learned for the first time in my life that my way of thinking how things are only worked in my world. Given the exact same situation, someone else saw it as completely different. They did not have that rejection dock in their life so they did not perceive the situation as being rejected. I now have that message at a body level for the first time in my life. It has made an incredible difference to my views of life.
All this to say that what I see as rejection will not be seen as rejection by everyone else. What my friend sees as abandonment, will not be perceived that way by everyone else. In sharing my resentments, I opened the pathway for an incredible learning experience.
Take time to examine your “rock” beliefs or your docks in your life. Share your resentments with people you are in relationship with, and remain open to listening to their point of view. Be open to learning more about yourself. And give your head a break and listen to your body!