4 April 2014 2 Comments

Pearls from Pain, Part 13: Self Discovery, Part 2: Can You Trust Yourself?

Our old personality patterns change without effort on our part in proportion
to the depth of awareness that we bring to them.”
(Understanding the Enneagram, 365)

Of the myriad classes I have taken on techniques for clearing emotional blocks, none have addressed self-observation.

Bringing depth of awareness to self discovery takes courage and dedication.

It can be shocking to discover, through insight and life experience, that we are someone other than we always thought we were. We may find that in some ways we are a different person than the one we took ourselves to be and telegraphed to other people. Newly encountering a well of habitually suppressed anger, for example, can be such an experience. Some shy away from revelation.

We can trust ourselves only to the extent that we truly know ourselves. 

The more we avoid, the less trustable we are to other people too. 

However well-meaning our intentions, when we act without knowing our own hearts, we may betray others unwittingly as our unconscious motivations come into play.

Habitual defenses retain subconscious influence, exerting control over us as if from behind a screen, like the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. Awareness offers freedom of choice. Without awareness we remain habitual–asleep to possibility.

By coming to understand our denial and defenses we become trustworthy, to ourselves and to others. We can act with healthy self-interest and remain truthful about our motivations. 

Underneath the intense emotions of our defenses is a good place to look for what we really long for, deep inside. When we look beneath our defenses with compassion we can see that they guard feelings and longings that are vitally important to us. By knowing our deepest needs and desires we can support them more directly.

We hide things from ourselves not as much because of what the things ARE, but because of how we REACT to them. P1050075

Reactive behavior is almost always defensive. It may hide shame, fear, self-condemnation, or helplessness.

Getting angry with ourselves, for example, can be a way to avoid feeling shame. Shame, however, can function as another defense. It can keep us from actually addressing the conditions and behaviors we feel bad about. Fear of failure may underlie this. If we can relax shame we are very likely to discover a perfectly-natural, vulnerable need which we’ve been afraid to acknowledge.

Blame tends to distract us from taking on what we can change on our own, in order to make ourselves more comfortable.

Self-loathing is a way of acting out, internally, expressing condemnation. It’s like a tar pit. Gently addressing our condemnation itself offers a path out.

“Running” negative emotions (letting them take over your body without self-observing) ramps up distress. Avoiding or denying blocks self awareness.

Accepting, observing, FEELING distress and RELAXING it:

  • Allows compassion in
  • Allows us to feel into what we can do to successfully support ourselves
  • Supports real healing
  • Brings us into the present, where we have real influence and the power of choice
  • Allows us to discover our essential Self–which is NOT a pattern or collection of learned behavior but a vital expression of our unique Being

How do we proceed when the reflex of guarding old wounds keeps reasserting itself?

We contact our own essential nature through positive vulnerability–loving openness to possibility, with a sense of wonder.

When we actively USE despair as a doorway instead of becoming mired in it, we can move THROUGH it by learning to surrender ever more deeply into what is real.

What do you want to hide?

What makes you want to hide it?

What do you feel when your ask yourself to explore it?

What are you afraid will happen if you accept it?

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2 Responses to “Pearls from Pain, Part 13: Self Discovery, Part 2: Can You Trust Yourself?”

  1. Therese 4 April 2014 at 5:26 pm #

    For me, I find I don’t like to feel fatigued. I’ve recently been feeling much more energetic and so, of course, I’ve been doing more. Sometimes, it’s really obvious that I’m tired and need to go to bed. Other times, I am like that kid throwing the tantrum screaming, “I’m not sleepy!” Other times it is more subtle: during these times I find myself in a poopy mood. I’m irritated by everything and since there is normally nothing to be irritated about, I make stuff up. Thankfully, I have come to realize this is yet another symptom of fatigue.

    Fatigue does not always mean I have to take a nap or go to bed early. It often means I need to meditate, or lie down and rest. If I lie down to rest, if I’m not sleepy, I will combine meditation and energy cleansing time with the lying down. I guess I have a hard time just turning it all off. However, connecting closely to my Guides makes me really happy so maybe I am turning it all off by turning it over to them.

    I think it is pretty obvious I would like to have endless, boundless energy. Of course, I don’t really know what that would feel like as I don’t ever remember having that kind of energy. I use to be afraid I’d never have energy. I’m no longer afraid of that. I realized so what if I never had much energy. I didn’t at that time and fighting it certainly wasn’t making me have more energy. So, I eventually tried acceptance and, after many years and lots of work, I am gaining perceptual improvements in what I can do.

    What I’ve figured out is the more I trust the Universe, my Guides, my Inner Voice, release judgment and reactions, and connect with the the amazing abilities we all have available to us, the more I find myself ridiculously happy, improved health and energy, and a depth to my abilities which surprises me. I’m looking forward to discovering other hidden gems as they reveal themselves to me.

    Also, you speak of Awareness. This seems to be quite the challenge for a lot of people. It requires a willingness to accept what I find and do what I need to do for myself even though I may want to do something else. Our Society rewards ignoring our needs in favor of “doing.” I find I really enjoy Awareness now that I’ve learned to relax into being with what is and no longer fighting for it to be different. Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’d like to disconnect from everything for a period of time. I wonder how long I would stay disconnected before I felt a desire to reconnect. It seems like a lovely dream I’d really like to explore at some point. Right now, the appointments of life and work intrude upon the ability to truly disconnect for as long as I might desire.

    Have you ever disconnected from everything? What did you find? How long before you were eager to reconnect? This is on my mind a lot recently. Maybe, if it is something you know about, it is an area we could explore.

    Teresa, it was lovely talking to you today. I don’t know why but it always surprises me to hear from you. I’m sure that is something I need to look into within myself. 🙂

    • Teresa Dietze 18 April 2014 at 10:15 pm #

      Ha! I don’t like feeling fatigued either! Except sometimes when I’m REALLY fatigued I sort of like the alteration of state.

      How we are about energy level is an interesting thing. I’ve had clients who get sick to decrease their energy level because it feels like too much and brings up various issues. Maybe (this is tongue-in-cheek) it’s kind of like straight or curly hair–and whatever we have we wish we had the opposite!)

      I love your observation about making things up when there is nothing to be irritated about.

      One of the things I like best about doing energy work is that it gives me a constructive way to take care of myself when I need to rest and can’t quite let down. There is always something to tweak and tune that improves my quality of experience!

      Also love your comment about doing what you need to do for yourself even though you want to do something else. Sometimes I think I want to do things that do not actually feed me, like messing around on the computer or not eating well. When I am in tune and in touch, I WANT to do the things that make me feel good, and I am happier in them, making the idea of doing something else just head-noise. Other times I have to cajole myself.

      Have I ever disconnected? Yes. I have a strong need to do so now and then, to refresh and reset. Sometimes it’s short, like today, when I went for a walk and messed around looking in some stores. Other times it can be a few days of personal retreat. Sometimes I reconnect too soon and feel ‘brought down’ by connecting. Once I left for ten days in my van and came back rejuvenated. It can be very hard to set up and allow disconnection. When I “disconnect” I find that I connect ‘on the inners,’ often with great focus and clarity. The people I connect with almost always affirm the connection when I resurface.

      I have attended several silent five day retreats during which the entire group disconnects from the world at large, and a yearly ten day retreat that is larger. It holds space for disconnection at the personal level while supporting strong transpersonal group connection, alternating with meditation. It’s intense, but I always come back with something vital and important.

      I like your suggestion to explore this more. I’ll think about that. This is a good time for suggestions. 🙂



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