The next time you notice that you’re attacking yourself, caught in a looping storyline about how you’ve failed, how you’ll never get it right, how there is something just fundamentally wrong with you …
When you’ve become lost in a repetitive narrative about how someone has misunderstood you, how you are not being seen in the way you’d like, or when find yourself complaining about your life or another person …
Before you abandon yourself entirely and descend into the unstable territory of rumination, shame, and blame, slow way down. This is no ordinary moment. You are being asked to attend, to listen, to sense and feel the agitated currents moving in your nervous system. This is a moment in which you are being called to care for yourself in a new way, to open and expand your perception with kindness, with compassion – to pause and breathe and encode a new pathway.
Follow your breath into your body, into the ragged sense of irritation and inflammation connected to the undermining thoughts. Shift your awareness out of the overwhelming narrative, for it is no longer safe there. Your body cannot sustain it. Traveling down the conditioned rabbit hole of unworthiness and self-abandonment is not serving you any longer. Blaming others for abandoning you isn’t working either.
These are the leftover beliefs from an earlier time, in relationship to powerful people at a time when you had to compromise your power to survive. Now it is time to re-order what is true, to reorganize your inner experience in the same way you might reorganize an over-stuffed closet or get rid of the stuff under your bed. Empathy, attunement, and embodied presence discerns what stays and what goes, those beliefs that will serve you now and those that are obsolete and expired.
Conserve your precious life energy. Differentiate from that which is no longer working in your best interest, and direct your attention and breath into your belly, your heart, your throat. Inquire into your being and body: what feeling is wanting to be met now? Ask, "In what way am I being asked to care for the vulnerable, the tender, and the shaky within me, to no longer project it outward in the movement of self-abandonment and self-aggression or blame toward others? How am I being asked to tend to myself in a new way?" Courageously touch the erupting, raw, true power that is surging now for recognition and holding. It may be painful, yes. It will not kill you.
Look carefully, with curiosity, patience, kindness, and compassion and see the ways you may be inclined to leave the embodied world of pure feeling, bailing on your vulnerability as you escape back into the conditioned narrative of complaint, resentment, shame, blame, or self-attack. Return home again . . . and again.
While it may seem as though you are longing for something outside you, in these moments you are only longing for your own presence. You need yourself now more than ever. This world needs you now more than ever.