But when hasn’t it?
In Schnooville, life on the relationship front was cloudy with a chance of natural disaster up until about two weeks ago. Now it’s foggy, but it’s the kind of deep, peaceful fog that makes me feel like wrapping myself in cashmere and tramping through the heath with a wolfhound by my side.
What happened? First, a HUGE breakthrough in therapy. I had a bit of a collapse in our therapist’s office, and a series of guided tapping motions, combined with deep breathing led to me coming unhinged. Imagine a rusty farmstead fence being pried loose by a tornado and tossed like a sack of kittens into the nearest alfalfa field. That was my soul. What happened next is that the raging bull who lived in the pen raced out into the world, free at last, and now lounges beneath an apple tree sniffing blossoms.
In my life, when something I love becomes impossibly hard and deeply hurtful, I’ve shackled that gate and completely cut myself off, out, and away. I’ve left great jobs and even greater relationships in this state, and I think that I have come to really accept this in myself and embrace this as one of the big life projects that I have to tackle.
For a long time I’ve felt that other people cannot be trusted. That if you allow them to, they will mess with your head and hurt you. I now understand that these things that feel hurtful, deceitful and manipulative are often the bi-products of someone else working on their own big life projects. The negative behavior is the result of one of you being further down the road than the other.
Developing trust isn’t about putting absolute faith in other people. It is about putting absolute faith in your own ability to understand, and honor your own needs and wants in a clear, loving way, especially in the face of upset and hurt. People can’t hurt me when I clearly understand that they cannot give me what they need because of their own limitations.
It is striving to come to that place of acceptance and understanding that will save us all. (Dear readers, I don’t believe this ever applies to abusive situations. Those instances are when you hold your raging bull close and let him guide you straight to safety, where you can hold yourself tight and understand how you happened to get to that dangerous place at all.)
I know I cannot control the needs, wants, realizations, decisions, clarity, and communication style of anyone else around me, but I have complete control over these things in myself. That is where my focus lies now. I’m not running, I’m not afraid, I feel completely open. I have a greater understanding of the love I am being given, and meditating on that love is so much better than agonizing over complexities that I cannot understand.
Last night, I went to a parenting session that focuses on the work of the amazing Gordon Neufeld, Ph.D. He captured my absolute need from a partner or a loved one perfectly when he said “being known and expressing what lies within is the ultimate expression of individuality and intimacy.” It’s an entirely reciprocal sentiment too, I think – a vital exchange of the contents of one’s head and heart that I require to bond with someone and really develop a loving relationship. In the session, Dr. Neufeld also presented his model of the ideal signs of total maturation. This inspired me completely, and these are the things I wish to strive towards in myself:
Interested & Curious
Eager to try new things
Thinks for oneself
Fills solitude with creative endeavors
Values originality and creativity
Self-directed in learning
Assumes responsibility for actions and impact
Sees the options and choices in life
Values uniqueness and differences
Full of vitality
Seeks autonomy & independence
Seeks to be own person
Regards the separateness & boundaries of others
Once again, you hit everything I’ve thought right on the head, and that’s why I love reading your blog, your insights and eloquence in writing are awesome! I can’t really put down these thoughts myself in writing yet, but you’ve really put together what I’ve been struggling with myself. I have my degree in psych, and I’m going through to be a counsellor, and I have definitely come across Neufeld in my readings, and have visited his website many times, and have even posted links to him on my facebook profile…anyways, I’m blabbering here (this is why you have a blog, and I, do not), I agree about everything you’ve typed here in myself, so it’s good to know I’m not alone in my thinking.