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  • annelisamacbeanphd

The Ultimate Medicine

Coming into relationship with the parts of our inner world that harbor and identify with unworthiness, shame, narcissism, and self-absorption requires the willingness to confront and integrate a certain sort of upheaval in our psychic reality (not to mention our intimate relationships). We sense that we will be asked to reorient in ways that we cannot know beforehand. It can be terrifying in ways we tend to repress.

For example, if we are no longer able to engage in relationship from the ground of our own unworthiness or incapacity - or if we are no longer working in the world from our sense of poverty and fear - who will we be? how will we engage? If our familiar self-referencing points are no longer available in quite the same way, what will we organize around? How will we know ourselves? Our unworthiness and fear have become so basic to our sense of self that we cannot know ahead of time what it will be like to be in the world without their weight and ballast.

There is a certain excitement and thrill in this, a sense of liberation, but it can generate quite a lot of anxiety, trepidation, and disorientation in lived experience. The invitation is to be kind to ourselves during these times of transition and contradiction, honoring the actualities of what it means to encode new circuitry, to choose something different, to re-imagine a new way.

We will never reorganize the patterns of a lifetime by means of self-aggression and self-abandonment, which will only reinforce the realities of early empathic failure and the shame which arose from the deep sense that there is something fundamentally wrong with us.

And while awareness, clarity, and insight are critical and necessary, they are not sufficient. We all “know” what we need to do. At some point it becomes a practice of the heart, where love is revealed to be the ultimate medicine.

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