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Healing Relationships

We often attract people who on some level resonate with us even if our outer personalities appear completely different.

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The more out of touch we are with our true nature, the more likely it is that we’ll attract a partner who is equally unaware of themselves.

One person’s unfinished business erupts to clash with the other’s: unresolved jealousies, anger, or grudges from the past, all emerge to haunt them and create even more problems.

While this applies to all partnerships, it is most prevalent in intimate relationships.

Even more disappointment and disillusionment occurs if we expect the other to fill the empty places within us, to “make me feel happy” or “take away my pain”.

Lasting change occurs as a result of facing our fears and resolving our pain. WE are the only ones who can do this. However facing the potential minefield of our own unexplored emotions can seem a very daunting task. The process of self healing can be greatly accelerated by an experienced therapist who is trained to see areas of vulnerability and to give guidance past the ego’s tricks that try to put both blame and solutions outside of yourself.

Acepting Self and Others

I regularly give talks about Self Acceptance and I use a combination of several therapeutic interventions to help clients transform self rejection into self acceptance:

Developing the Observer / Responding in new ways to challenging life situations
Taking responsibility for our own emotional pain instead of blaming others
Recognising and dumping the core beliefs that feed our self rejection
Discovering new levels of self expression and confidence

I’m not good enough” belief results in life actions that are always trying to compensate; trying to impress, perfectionism, overwork, fear of failure.

Feelings of self rejection come from tiredness, pain and stress. We only attack another when we’re in pain ourselves.

When we’re tired or stressed, these self rejecting thoughts and/or angry feelings, come to prey on us, robbing us of even more energy.

A small trigger from another can cause our denied emotional pain to explode in ways that create much damage in our lives.

These negative thoughts/feelings have their source in beliefs that were programmed into us in our childhood (parents, teachers or peers) and  they do not serve us in any way

Self judgement- self condemnation comes from our unacknowledged /unhealed inner pain. We only judge and condemn others from a deep sense of our own inadequacy and self blame.

The Power Of Self Acceptance

One of the most important tasks in life is to learn how to love and accept ourselves completely. But for most of us this is one of the most difficult challenges we ever face. Why is this? Because our world is out of balance and so often we also are frequently out of balance within ourselves.

We need to balance the masculine and feminine energies within us.

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The Masculine principle is about being outwardly active in the world; creating, achieving, making things happen. Masculine energy corresponds to light, to day.

The Feminine principle is about nurturing, sustaining and being receptive and yielding. It’s an inward state of being. Among many other things, it is the womb energy and it corresponds to night. So – it’s a container that allows integration, rest and regeneration.

We can’t have one without the other. We can’t have the busy activity of day without the restful regeneration of night. We can’t have action without inaction. So they balance each other beautifully.

However we live in a world that’s dominated by Masculine energy. So much of our attention and effort is directed to striving; striving to earn a living, to run a household, to take care of the practical necessities of life.

But if too much attention is directed outwards, what then happens to our inner world, our inner home? This feminine side of our nature (whether we’re a woman or a man), then becomes starved of the very qualities we need so much in order to find balance: rest, nurturance and embracing ourselves in acceptance.

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We can only give to others when first we learn how to receive for ourselves.

But many of us have no early experiences of receiving. Even the period of gestation when we were growing within our mother’s womb may have been traumatic for us if she was fearful or troubled and not in a good relationship with her partner.

So how do we learn this ability to receive? We open the way for this through learning how to accept ourselves “warts and all”. Most of us only ever experience acceptance from outside ourselves – from someone else. We have little or no experience of this acceptance directly, from within ourselves.

We can only truly give from a cornucopia of plenty, so it’s really important to find ways to fill this, our own inner wellspring. Just imagine how rich and fulfilled we could become if we could learn how to love and nurture ourselves in the same way as we nurture and love our children, our family and friends?

It sounds so simple, yet it’s such a challenge for us all. Why is this? What gets in the way of us accepting ourselves as we are?

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Why can’t we extend to ourselves the same tenderness we feel towards others?

Because in order to learn how to receive, we must first embrace that which stops us from receiving – we must first be willing to embrace our own pain.

When we set unrealistically high standards, when we keep holding up expectations: “I should” and “I ought”, we push away, disown and reject what we perceive to be our weaknesses. We allow them no space to just BE – we give ourselves no room to heal. We extend neither understanding nor compassion to ourselves.

We may even disown and deny that we ever had these weaknesses in the first place. Pushing away and disowning our “bad qualities” in this way, we create stress in our mental, emotional and physical bodies. The energy of emotional pain that’s denied expression has to go somewhere – it doesn’t just go away because we don’t want to face it.

In this way, we are all to a greater or lesser extent lost in the illusion of duality. We’re either striving to be “good” or sliding back down into what we perceive as “bad”.

For instance: I may be accepting some aspects of myself, while simultaneously judging and condemning other parts of myself. Or, I may hold deep seated feelings of utter self rejection that only surface in times of crisis, illness and stress. These buried feelings of self rejection may also manifest as a critical, cynical approach to others.

When we are unable to accept ourselves as we are – when we strive to be like someone else, somebody whom we are not, this effort creates so much pain and stress.

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We’re divided against ourselves by beliefs and judgements that have been handed down to us from our parents, our teachers and our peers.

All too often we adopt these beliefs without questioning them, without seeing the limitations inherent within them. We make them ours and then allow them to program our lives from behind the scenes – like an energy draining virus that’s sucking all the vibrancy and colour from our lives. These limiting beliefs do not serve us in any way!

We may end up trying to live up to someone else’s expectations of us, someone else’s agenda. Very often we don’t realise that our own harsh judgements and unrealistic standards are based on these very beliefs and concepts that we absorbed in our formative years. Essentially, we’re trying to be someone that we’re not. We’re trying to dance to someone else’s tune.

Every time we push away the parts of ourselves that are troubled, the parts that are hurting and that we never want to deal with, we become more and more out of touch with the real person that we are within our depths. This is what is called the “wounded inner child” that’s crying out to be healed, to be forgiven, to be accepted.

As children, the only way we knew how to deal with our emotional pain was to either stuff it down and pretend it wasn’t there, or lash out in a temper tantrum. We didn’t have the skills or maturity to deal with these traumas at that stage of our lives. So often this emotional pain remained lodged within us, only to become in later life overlaid by more hurt, more anger and more confusion. Of course these painful feelings don’t just go away; they create energy blockages inside our bodies and our minds. They’re like emotional bruises and of course the bigger and more painful the bruise, the more we react when someone touches it. If we carry large “bruises” it only takes a word, a look or a gesture from another person to set off a whole stream of negative thoughts and reactions within us.

There are times in our lives when we’re tired, in pain, and our energy is low. When the pressures of life are such that we’ve already got too much to do and others seem to be making even more demands on our time. These are the times when we might react harshly to ourselves and others; when our response to the pressures makes us ignore our inner pain and judge ourselves harshly. At times like this we become a severely critical parent to ourselves and the loving mature adult (which is our true nature) is completely absent.

The Solution – Creating Healing Space

Healing Space
So how do we become more conscious of the ways we condemn and criticise ourselves?

As we get older, if we’re willing to grow and mature emotionally, we need to learn different ways to deal with childhood trauma. We need to learn how to become kind parents to ourselves in ways that allow some of these childhood bruises to heal. As this happens, more choices open out for us, we gain greater understanding and mastery over our emotions.

When we take responsibility for what is truly ours, for example “this is my anger/fear/jealousy, and I’m dealing with it”, we learn at the same time to really recognise the negative conditioning we’ve absorbed from others. Our vision clears and we begin to cast off so much useless baggage from the past.

There comes a point in everyone’s life when we’ve just had enough; enough suffering, enough of blaming others and enough of searching outside ourselves for a solution that never arrives. When we turn back towards our own pain and begin to embrace it with compassion, patience and tenderness, we open our hearts, not only to ourselves, but to everyone else in our lives.

There is no easy, quick solution in changing the patterns of a lifetime. The decision to turn self rejection into self acceptance requires a very strong intention and needs to be practised in various ways every day. We need to be willing to take responsibility for our own fear, anger and emotional pain instead of blaming others, lashing out and then beating ourselves up afterwards in regret.

We need to build our observer – the calm detached part of ourselves that doesn’t get swept up in the emotional dramas of life.

Sit with it

How do we do this? By practising our ability to count to 10 and just slow down before we react. By asking ourselves “what’s happening right now?”, “Where is my body tense – can I soften and relax it a little?” “Can I take a few slow deep breaths and quieten my mind? Can I go somewhere and sit quietly for a few minutes? Is there a different way I could respond to this situation?” Asking these questions and responding in this way means that we are bringing more and more of our attention into the present moment – we’re becoming more self aware.

When we become willing again and again to bring our attention back to the present moment, we begin to become consciously aware of these thoughts and beliefs of self rejection. Then we’re in a much more powerful position to stop them tripping us into destructive reactions. This may seem an insurmountable task at the outset, but with some practise and perseverance, this discipline of self observation grows, and with it a wonderful patience.

Self observation is not self analysis – in fact it’s the very opposite – it’s finding ways to quieten the mind and create some calmness and mental space. With practise, our patience and calmness will grow, and we will learn to react in a completely different way to the stress and challenges in our lives. In this way, we not only save our energy, we also stop creating the very dramas and crises that are so destructive. Because we are coming from a place of calmness and composure, we’re not igniting aggression in others and our lives become much more harmonious. Learning how to let things be as they are – we become free to learn and grow.

When we become loving and wise parents towards ourselves it does not mean that we condone our weaknesses and do nothing about them. It means accepting “Yes – these are my fears – this is my emotional pain and now I’m taking responsibility for it” because only then can we become healed and transformed.

Sometimes we just need to acknowledge “I’m scared” or “I’m hurting” rather than trying to “fix it” or push it away.

When a child is sick, a loving parent will sit and hold it – in no way blaming it for being sick – they will simply love and comfort it back to health. In just the same way we need to just “sit with it”, staying present and open to our vulnerabilities, our pain. In this way we can bring so much healing to ourselves.

Have you ever been around someone who completely accepts you as you are “warts and all?” Doesn’t it feel wonderful just to be yourself, not needing to watch what you say and do for fear of being judged, or seen as being “less than”. When we’re with people like that we can be relaxed, sincere, spontaneous and natural. It is then so much easier to be authentic and honest. Imagine how wonderful it would feel if we could extend that acceptance towards ourselves – completely. Imagine how our lives would transform if we cared enough about ourselves to get to know who we truly are, rather than forever straining to be someone else.

When we embrace our own pain and fear, we come home to the unique person we are in the deepest possible sense. We merge the false opposites of black and white and create a whole rainbow of colour – another whole world of possibilities!

Self Acceptance

Know Thyself

The greatest journey we ever make in our entire lives is the journey from the head to the heart. In finding ever deepening levels of acceptance for ourselves, in embracing our own wounded heart in love and tenderness, we open ourselves to the Divine Love that is always unconditional and always waiting to be received.

A very wise sage upon being asked
“what can I do to save the Planet?”
replied: “Realise Yourself”.