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  • Writer's pictureAnnelisa MacBean

The Known and the Unknown

Healing old wounds of shame and unlovability means I will no longer be able to indulge in the unconscious trances of self-inflation or unworthiness that I tend to run in close personal relationships. I am going to have to curb my narcissistic tendencies, the ones I employ to keep myself safe and seen, the misguided ways I try to garner some mirroring for my inherent goodness. Deep down I know the end to the trance is coming and while I long to awaken, some part of me is just not so sure it’s a good idea. This hesitation, uncertainty and disorientation reveals the contradictory, wild, alive nature of healing and what it is asking of me, which is everything, really. I occasionally imagine engaging in life without these familiar contrasting reference points. Even though wandering in a trance of low self-worth has been interfering with the intimacy and joy that I yearn for, it has provided a well-known, comfortable axis around which I have been orienting in the world. As a result, I haven’t had to feel too much of the groundlessness and tender vulnerability of my overly exposed, very young and wounded nervous system.

It is not possible to imagine, ahead of time, what my life will be like without the old habitual behaviors. Instead, I recognize that it is important to respect those parts of myself that were wired to protect me from harm as a child. I accept that they will be activated because they care, I care, about my well-being. The opportunity now is to soften my attachment to these parts as I turn into the unknowns of my adult life. I have cultivated an increased capacity for self-care and personal security rooted in a deep sense of my worth as an embodied soul. This self-awareness does not depend on the rejection of old ways of being, nor does it depend on self-rejection or rejection of others to be safe.

The prospect of stepping into the open unknown does seem thrilling—a life free of my conditioned history . . . WOW!! Awesome . . . And, the consequences are truly profound. It is an act of personal kindness to address quite a number of contradictory and paradoxical feelings—on the one hand my genuine desire to heal and transform while on the other some real trepidation about the death of my dependency on the old ways!

For now, it’s all about finding a balance between the inclusion and letting go that will be required. Not making the old, known ways bad or wrong, while choosing to expose more of the truth of what I am, risking unknowable responses and reactions from others. It is an ongoing challenge to find new levels of compassion for myself, affirming worth and safety, on this journey toward equanimity.

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