IDENTIFY IT/WORK WITH IT/LEAVE IT Lists some of the common characteristics of a toxic relationship, shows you how you might work with it, and perhaps determine that it is not a workable relationship, and then leave it.
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"Because of my religious training.....that i could go to hell if i hurt someone......ive had to shut down this "fiery" part of myself, and when it comes up, i really struggle with it. When i was younger, i found myself saying something to a friend, and their reaction made me afraid, so i just stopped expressing myself. Ive had a person in my life say 'sometimes I am afraid of you', and I don't want that kind of feeling in my relationships', said a client.
We all do this at a young age, at a very young age......shut down a part of ourselves or split off into parts....as young as two or three, if the reaction we got from others we depended on for love, acceptance, guidance, care......was one that threatened the possibility of getting our needs met. You see, we are so little and vulnerable in our childhood, and we feel safe and secure when our caregivers, teachers, best friends.....light up when they see us, smile in response to something we said or did, hugged us when we got hurt, guided us when we did something wrong or made a mistake....everything feels ok. It doesn't even occur to you that things could not be ok.
I'd like to draw your attention to the "feels ok" part of the sentence. As children, we are largely "feelers", picking up on the vibes of our environment. Many experiences become body memories. What I mean by this is....the next time we come across a similar experience, our bodies will feel what it felt at the earlier experience.
Let me give you an example.....if we lived near an open field, and that was our playground where we played with neighborhood children.....and that playground was a source of fun, connection, laughter, exploration and wonder....our body experience quite likely will be one of calm, excitement, comfort, happiness, ease. But if that playground was a source of bullying, teasing, criticism, our body memory will feel like contraction, sadness, hurt, fear and so on. If we pay enough attention to our bodies, we will hear what stories they carry.
Now as an adult, should we be looking to buy a new home and we learn there is an open field across the street, our bodies will first feel, and then our heads will interpret. If we are sensitive, it might affect our mood for the whole day, if not, we will feel the memories for shorter periods of time. Either way, our body will inform us what we continue to carry in terms of our cultural, social, generational and experiential programming.
The woman who stated the above wanted a balance between her need to be fully self expressed (she is an artist) and her need to feel safe and secure with others. She believed that SHE was responsible for managing that safety with others. She didn't yet see that their response was an interpretation of their experience of her. "I do A, they get angry, I must stop doing A". THIS IS A CHILD'S CONVERSATION, and understandably so. Our minds are not yet able to process complex formula's around human behavior.
My suggestion to this lovely woman, was to look at what being "fiery" could mean to her.
What she discovered was.....passionate, deep feeling, engaging, juicy, connecting, lively emotion. We talked about how this felt to her and she discovered that this felt good. So the feedback that she sometimes received from friends or lovers was a reaction to their emotional response to her "fiery-ness".
Again........their reaction was in fact not to her fiery-ness, but to their emotional response to her fiery-ness. In other words, they had a reaction, the belief underlying that reaction might have been that fiery-ness is unsafe, or feels overwhelming emotionally, or is attached to an experience of volatility in another, and her fiery-ness pressed the button that triggers their emotional experience from their past.
Another's emotional reaction to who she is.....is not her responsibility....she does not need to be someone else, shut down that expressive part of herself, to protect another from something that is not inherently threatening. Her intention behind her fiery-ness is to engage, connect, live fully, feel fully. In relationship to someone who has historically found this way of being as threatening in some way, just requires her to explain the "intention" behind her way of being, if that relationship matters to her. This also requires that she allow the other to have their reactions, let them come to light, and address them when and if they show up. THS IS AN ADULT CONVERSATION.
In the best of circumstances, she gets the experience of being understood and the other gets a new experience of that way of being, and perhaps a healing of past experiences.
There are so many opportunities for all of us to heal if we stop protecting the other from who we are. When we look at these interactions through the lenses of "healing", "growing up" or "maturation", instead of the lenses of "Will I be abandoned, rejected.......", then our shoulders can drop in relaxation, our minds can calm from its reeling over 'what if's".......we can be ourselves, and correct the other if there is a misinterpretation of our behavior.
This is ultimately the kind of adult relationships we all want. Ones that give us the benefit of the doubt, that are interested in our intentions, that are strong enough to work through mutual triggers. And our power to make these kinds of relationships possible is to take that first step in being ourselves, helping the other align with our intent, and witnessing their ability to respond in such a way that supports the mutual stand to be all that we are.
If you have any questions, about any of this content, or wish to apply this to yourself and relationships, you are most welcome to set up a call by clicking this link, and we can help you create a plan for the kinds of relationships that best support you.
With warmth and love,
"I just have a hard time being assertive".
I heard these words from the client's mouth, while conducting a quality review of my colleague, in a side, grass-roots contract I have maintained after 26 years in this field.
He was discussing his overwhelm with all the support he currently receives from the community. He is juggling between visits to hospital and doctors, and the appointments that bring support people into his home. He stated "I have to drive to an appointment and then rush back home to meet with a professional, then go back out.........”
When I told him that he has the option to tell home visitors that a particular time does not work for him, or to protect a day or two out of the week so that he can complete activities of daily living, such as shopping and banking, the above statement was the hard held belief about himself, allowing for an overwhelming and stressful schedule as he recovers from cancer treatment.
All this to say that boundaries are paramount to our happiness. We must know our limits, our personality, or likes and dislikes, our rhythm - need for downtime and uptime, our optimal time of day for work and rest…….to have a life that supports our needs, our desires, and our true nature.
Displeasing others, fear that others will disappear……that we will find ourselves unsupported and alone, are commonly held fears. They are there to ensure that we do what we need to do…… to be supported and surrounded by caring and loving folk, especially during tough times, such as the above gentleman’s trials with cancer.
However, confidence in your value allows you to approach and express your needs, with the stand that these people will also be flexible and elastic…..at least just enough….. to work out an arrangement that supports you and them. Whether you are dealing with a health issue, creating a relationship on your terms as well as theirs, work/life balance…..whatever your issue, clear boundaries support your well being, your confidence, your self esteem and sense of control over your life.
After offering to this gentleman an easier step in expressing his needs, ie. “Can this date and time work instead?”, he was able to consider a possibility.......to have control over his schedule, tasks and overwhelm. Because he was counter-offering, and doing so in the positive, he felt he was taking action toward making something work for himself and the other. This dod not trigger his background beliefs that he was just being difficult, or demanding, or a pain, and therefore didn't eel he was risking abandonment. It was a small step, and with the results of accommodating professionals, he was able to discover the confidence he never felt he had. With the added feedback of his worthiness, he looks forward to asking for more of what he needs and wants.
When looking to set clear boundaries in our relationships, it not only helps to ask for what we need, but also to do it in such a way that it aligns with our values around relationships. It helps to look for what’s in the background, gripping us from asking for what we need. Is that belief true or real? What smaller steps can we take if its too threatening to take the full leap? What smaller thing can we ask for that will give us the confidence to ask for more?
There is a place and a space for all that you need and want. Desire it and let your truth sit in the drivers seat.
With love and all the support in the world,
,I have already prepared your lunch for you, you have helped me so much, and my life is going to be so much easier because you came into it. You know, when you are retiring, you have to be smart about your money, you have to save here to have that, and save there to have this. Money, luxuries and comforts don’t come as easy in old age and you have to be careful.
I have had the good fortune to walk into and through the worlds of thousands of people, if only for a few sessions or at times, year(s). Every and each one of these people have a story, have a perspective nurtured by their life experience and the lenses they wear through which they filter these experiences. Their culture, spiritual practice, community, family, economic background, to name a few, are responsible for these filters. For some it’s their transiency or stability of geographical location, perhaps they have never left their home town, or are world travelers.
Either way, we have filters that delete some of the information from our experiences, distort some and also lead to grand generalizations about people, events, the world, work, the accumulation of wealth, etc.
The above was what a client told me one recent day, a woman of East Indian descent,whose home always welcomes me with the exotic aromas of Indian cuisine. On this day, she prepared a traditional meal for my travels, as that day was a day of sessions with those who are unable to leave their homes for one reason or another. She shows her gratitude with her exquisite flare for the culinary….. I receive and hold her sentiment of gratitude as I savor the love and care she puts into the meal’s preparations. A lovely loop of give and receive, gratitude and joy.
What I became keenly aware of, was the worlds within the larger world we live in. Her truth was that life is hard, that you have to work hard to live, to make things possible, to have what you want. My thought at the time was “Manifesting your desired old age makes life easy and enjoyable”. When I heard my thought, I became aware of the old adage “what you focus on, grows”.
As I sit outside on my porch from time to time, I notice one family who struggles with relationships in their household, are often found cleaning and beautifying their home, cars, tools, and often find themselves disappointed, disillusioned, raising their voices at one another, and often walking away from old and unfinished arguments.
There is another cheerful and positive family next door who have focused their intention for summer time freedom….both adults of two young children, creating a career and business that allow them to leave for their recently bought cottage…. all summer long.
Lastly, the young 26 year old of Indigenous descent who recently organized a first meeting with her extended native family…..finding her passion, her gift, and her purpose in raising awareness through her research, about what its like to grow up self proclaimed indigenous, but not being accepted or taken seriously by her tribe, because she doesn’t look the part. What once was a missing in her life, is suddenly manifesting because of her desire for it and the actions she is taking.
All of these results are available to us because we focus on them.
How do we shift our focus from that which we don’t want to what we do want? How do we create this as a practice? What’s in the way? What actions are necessary to bring these desires to fruition?
These are the beginning steps, the foundation, to allow you to witness all the information you have filtered out of your experiences, adding pieces to the unfinished puzzle, if you will, that have you complete what is uncompleted, to have the whole picture before you, the missing information that allows you to take the next steps.
This has been a practice in my own life, and is where I take others in my therapy and coaching business. Not one of these clients will tell you that they would have gone to the discomfort that leads to their breatkthrough, on their own. But they will tell you that being gently pushed, supported and guided through the discomfort was the place where they reconnected with their partners, where they discovered their own truth about their sexual orientation, or realized that their fear of being abandoned drove them to lower their bar on acceptance of ill treatment……and subsequently found their value.
Our desires, if remaining desires, will only manifest when we are willing to sit with the discomfort that is blocking their expression, and then follow by taking action.
If you would like a partner in your exploration, click here to set up a half hour strategy call and we can talk about how I can help you shift your desire to your living truth. You are worth it, we are all worth it!!
Listening to a meditation today…..on the Energy of Attraction, I heard some wonderfully meaningful messages, not necessarily new, nor unknown. But sometimes hearing it from someone else, or in a voice that resonates, you feel the power of it in a way you never heard before.
Is there a voice that settles you, that has you feel calm, grounded in your truth, at peace, in love, loved……who is this voice? Who possesses it? Why do the words that roll off their lips, or inscribe their books, vibrate in alignment with your pulsations? Do you feel safe, coddled….in its presence?
Are there sights or memories that have the same effect….
The messages today were…..
And in so many words…….
Frustrated desire leads to disappointment, fatigue, apathy, loss of faith in life, powerlessness, a sense of unworthiness, and so on........
Deepak speaks about how some of us feel guilty for wanting what we want, as though we don’t deserve it, should be ashamed of it, who are we to want this, who are we to think that we can get this, what makes us so special…..and…..what is so threatening?
Many of us shut down quite quickly after the desire arises, be it for a mate, freedom from employment, selling everything and stepping into the unknown and new…..and for reasons that we don’t often take the time to realize.
I have spoken to both men and women in my office about their desires, their dreams and wishes, and tears begin to roll down their faces as they connect to their desires. Often, they will attempt to fluff it off, diminish it into “child’s play”, or begin with a slew of reasons and justifications. This is a much more comfortable place, than it is to sit in desire.
Why do we have such a hard time sitting in desire? Sitting in its passions, hunger, vulnerability, and depth? What are we afraid of?
For some it is the pain of unrealized dreams, for others……the people they will let down in its pursuit, and yet for others it may be the judgment (fear of alienation and abandonment) they project into their worlds and their future. There are other reasons of course…..each of us know what they are if we sit there long enough.
When these men and women trust that they will not lose control over their lives, that they are safe even if only for an hour, to open their inner screen and allow themselves to fully bear witness to their inner truths……they become familiar not only with their desires, but as well, with their conflicting intentions. And with this familiarity comes the deeper knowing of their way, their direction, their answers.
Here is a quick example,
You desire to find your soul mate. The desire runs deep. You visualize the connection, the closeness, the shared vulnerability as you move into an intimacy that cannot be mocked by any other couple. You fantasize the circumstances that bring you together, the revealing discussion, the feeling of his or her physical presence…..
And then the screen rolls up, and the curtains close, and the lights are on. As though this were just a titillating fantasy, a temporary distraction, a moment to step away from a life filled with fears, failed expectations, and hurts that hold you prisoner, until the next time your inner truth calls to pay attention.
What could be the conflicting intentions in this scenario?
The intention to be free, In love (as in the place of love), in the moment, vulnerable, open, in receipt of gratitude, acknowledgement, shared joy, connection, belonging……in dispute with the intention to be in charge, in control, protection, independent, strong, safe, unsusceptible.
And so we repeat, day after day, the same patterns of behaviors, nourished by the same belief systems and intentions, that have us sitting on this never ending Merry Go Round.
What is there to do?
As many but not all of these good men and women take on the courageous and unfamiliar journey, they unravel these intentions, one by one, and learn that “the ways of being” for one set of circumstances are not warranted for another. They learn to feel good about their vulnerability, learn to be rewarded for the same, and gain confidence in an untraditional outfit. They learn flexibility with their “beingness”, one step at a time, gaining trust and confidence in themselves and their ability to discern between “real” threat or danger and “perceived” threat and danger. They discover which risks will have them arrive at the destination of their desires. They also learn how to honor and own their individual process, their new and successful roadmap to life.
What can I do to help you through your own “desires” journey? To connect your outer reality with your inner reality……where your outer world is an expression of your deepest self…..not unlike a canvass that is externally transformed from the inner expressions of an artist?
I invite you to join me in a discussion of your unique journey…..if you are interested in discovering how to make this path yours.
You can email me here, or schedule a call by clicking on this link:
In the meantime, stay true to yourself, to your inner truth, to your deepest desires and self.
Testimonials from Lillian's Clients
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