Category Archives: trust

Giving Space to be Pursued

For many one of the deepest desires is to be wanted, sought after, and pursued.  And this is pretty natural, it feels good to have someone interested in us.  What happens though when you are shadowed by a childhood past of being left/betrayed? The basic concept of needing to give actual space for someone to “miss you” becomes a foreign premise.  It all rationally makes sense, but emotionally the fears of not “right there” are so great that over compensation occurs.

The want to be missed but there is no time or space given to the person you care about to experience those emotions. The fear is just too great that the loved will leave, not show up, or not notice turn into a mode of clinging.  This process pushes away the very person you are afraid will leave. Self fulfilling prophecies are a bitch.  We may not want to recreate the very pattern that harmed us, but until we learn another way, recreation in hopes of something different is the only way the mind naturally knows how to act.

And this is where I hear the sighs across from me in session. Yes yes, we _know_ all this. But no one seems to know how to do it.  So not true, we all know how give space, not chase, and not stranglehold relationships.  That really isn’t the issue.  You don’t smoother with words, feelings, thoughts, and actions. We could pick apart the semantics (a favorite past-time of mine) but the truth is… YOU know how to give space.  Let’s all be honest.

The troubling spot is in  dealing with the feelings of fear, anxiety, and hurt that come to the surface when we do give space.  Having to sit with the very pain that you experienced is almost unthinkable. Why would you do that to yourself? I mean isn’t that the point? You don’t want to feel that… why on earth would you seek it out?

Well, our psychology is tricky that way. We have worked so hard to avoid the fear that we have lost the ability to feel it at all in healthy ways.  Any moment apart, difficult conversations, or non-focus  can feel like impending emotional doom. Hence, the overreaction occurs.  The reality is it is okay to feel some fear about giving space if you come from a background of hurt.  It is natural to be worried about your loved one not loving you back in the way you want and need. Your system should feel this way because it happened.  It is a deeply important step to realize that the fear isn’t going to go away by avoiding it and recreating the past templates.  The fear is there for a reason and you CAN handle it.

It won’t feel good or easy to sit with all those feelings when all you want to do is call, check in, figure things out, look ahead, fixate, or set up situations in hopes of touching base. (Take it from one who knows.) But how else are you going to learn what anxiety and hurt is real versus just the past coming up to haunt you?  If you don’t give yourself the chance to see if you can really handle feeling scared how will you ever change this pattern?

Let us know forget, that the main goal here is being sought after. So it is time to circle back on all this fear…. if you want to be pursued you have to actually allow for the very thing you are terrified of….. space. There has to come a point where you are willing to trust that you can deal with your own fear AND that you trust the one you love to come forward and seek you out.  Trust building exercise at its finest… for you internally and your partner externally.  You are so certain they will leave, then see if it happens.

At the very worst, all this fear and hurt you were afraid of happens but you have taught yourself the signals of what that is really like and not just a ghost. You become more present. Yes, then the person you wanted is gone, but is that the person you really wanted anyway?  I mean if your big fear is going to come true with this person, wouldn’t you rather know ahead of time?  The alternative is to smoother them have them leave… you recreate the pattern, feel like crap, and haven’t taught yourself anything. Seriously… if you are going to have all these feelings shouldnt’ they be based in reality anyway rather than just imagined?

And the best case is that you begin to handle your feelings, note what is real, get more in tune with yourself… oh yeah also you get to see that the person you love is actually there, will take interest, and seek you out. Wow, that might feel amazing. That might be enough to try to risk all this change…. and you get the added bonus of learning to trust yourself and the other person in the relationship. It is a win-win-win (pop culture reference added for emphasis sake) situation!

Go ahead… try something really risky AND rewarding… Isn’t it about time you got something for all this fear, anxiety, and hurt? Yeah, I thought out…. smile!

I have changed, why don’t I feel any different?

We humans are funny! We have this deep desire (and often expectation) that because we become aware of something that change will happen right away. Well, in many ways this is true… often just not in the ways we would prefer.  It is very real that when we make a small step towards change it ripples into all areas of our life. However, what we really want this to mean is… we want to control the areas and time frame of how the change in created. And that part is where we start to freak out a bit … and it also is when we know change is really occurring.

The logical part of us tells us that if we make a change,  things will get better. And the emotional part of us wants to believe that this is a real possibility. We have certain coping mechanisms that keep us safe but not necessarily move us in the directions that we want to go. Hence, we make change. We change our thoughts to something more positive, we stop the actions that keep us stuck… but the emotions.. oh those tricky emotions, they just keep… keeping on.

Why? Why would the emotional part (the main thing we want to change — how we feel about things) stay with us when we have done so well with changing our thoughts and actions? As far as science is concerned, we have yet to figure out how exactly emotions work. To the best of our current understanding, we have control (read: chemical responses we can influence to some degree) over our thoughts and actions. However, we are really unclear on if/how to control emotions.

Sure, we can create situations and invent theories as to why we have emotions and what they mean. But when it comes down to it, we don’t appear thus far to be able to control them. Our actions are the products of our thoughts and our thoughts create a response in us that is what we often call “a feeling.” If all of this is a little confusing, that is totally understandable. It is confusing…. welcome to an emotional response!

Our actions are the chosen physical response to our thoughts and feelings.  They are the manifestation of all combined, so it makes sense that consciously we would be able to look at them most directly and make change. Then there are our thoughts which we do have a ton of influence/control over but we rarely consider this fact. Realize that you can be in a perfectly good state of mind and then you find out something and you begin to get anxious and your mood totally changes within and instant. Is this magic? No not at all, your thoughts matter and they can make a situation more stressful/upsetting/joyous.  This is often why you hear people say “just slow down and be zen-like”. They are saying essentially that you can take in the information, your thoughts, and actions in a way that creates a more peaceful experience.

So great, we have our actions and thoughts working for us… but the emotions are still flying around. What is the point if I am still going to feel crappy? Here is the good news, it is a process for integration to happen. And it is all happening… For some it can appear like it is over night and others it can seem like forever. But that is part of _your_ process. Your psyche is listening on the deepest level to what you are fully able to deal with at any given time. If your emotions are not in sync with your thoughts and actions yet, it is because it is busy working on it. You can put more pressure on yourself to do it all faster, but the truth is… you only change what you change when you change it.

I can assure you from seeing it time and time again, that the process of growth isn’t always pretty in the midst. But the end result is always beautiful.  Without the time needed for all parts of you to fall into place, we would just be dull and move from one thing to another without any place for growth. Hear me out,  I’m not saying you have to be patient…. but what I am saying is… trust yourself and your process. Know that the feelings that are coming up are exactly as they need to be, you will handle them with thoughts and actions in a new way and from that change will naturally occur.

It is all happening… I promise… you are just about to get to the good stuff… don’t stop now!

Learning how to be vulnerable

Let’s face it, we are all scared of being hurt… and in most cases the physical aspects don’t spook us nearly as much as the emotional ones.  It is hard to trust as it is, but then even if you can start to trust after betrayal, how on earth do you actually allow yourself to be in a place that is vulnerable?  Isn’t the whole point of  protecting yourself to NOT be in a position that makes your feel weak? Well…. like most things the answer is yes and no and it depends.

I know that we all want to think that there is someone out there that won’t hurt us, but the truth is that is lie.  Any two people get together and they are bound to cause some pain to one another, this is part of the human condition. Even if we accept that, there is this notion that we want someone who won’t hurt us intentionally… well I hate to burst that bubble too, but reality shows us differently.  We are not always the strongest, healthiest, or at our most kind and with that means there are for sure times we will feel anger and hurt someone else in return. Fight or flight exists on a daily if not minute to minute basis.

So all this doesn’t sound too good for learning how to be vulnerable. Somehow we are supposed to want to open ourselves up to the most intimate parts and share them with someone who will consciously and unconsciously hurt us at some point in our relationship? Yep, that is exactly what I am saying!!!! Let’s not try to pretend that we are all good or all bad when it comes to how we handle our emotions and actions. We do some crappy things to ourselves and others with intention and unintentionally.

With our reality check firmly in place, this is how and why it takes courage to be vulnerable. The strength of character it takes to risk being fragile, raw, and truly authentic  is outstanding. It is in spite of our past, our fears, and the truth of human interaction, that we still move forward with caring for another. It isn’t easy to come to terms with this truth, but it exists none the less.  If you want to really learn how to be raw and exposed to another person … you do it. You push ahead… you feel the fear AND do it anyway.

It is a curious paradox of sorts this whole being open and strong thing. We are taught that if you allow space for feelings that are raw, you are a weak person. But it actually requires so much more strength to risk the possibility of someone rejecting you. Work with me here… if you are truly a weak person then you will just blindly go ahead in any situation without forethought or caution to your self. Yet, when you are stable and strong you look at all the variables, analyze the risk, and move forward with pursuing your desires.

There is no hidden agenda, being vulnerable is hard work, but life in general is a risky proposition. You are bound to get hurt along the way but it is how you deal with that, that matters. You can make choices based on fear (unearned or not) or you can acknowledge possible hurts existence, in even the best of relationships, and create an opportunity for a very different kind of relationship for yourself and others.   It is your choice, but that is the point isn’t it, you are in control, it is your choice, and I would encourage you to be strong enough to choose risking hurt for the potential of something glorious, like the best relationship of your life!