The power of having a great friendship – with yourself!
Today’s post came as a result of some poems published by Kimberley over at Words4jp’s Blog. She and I follow each other’s blog and each often stirs the other’s emotions. There was a sad post published by her on the 23rd April called within. Part of the comment that I wrote to that post read as follows:
Oh, it pains me to read your post. You are such an open, honest person; well that’s what comes across through your writings. Knowing and loving ourself is the only worthwhile journey of our life. For without being at peace with who we are, we will struggle to be at peace with others.
Kimberley published another post the following day, friend and foe, that again struck me as being sad. Read it and see if you agree with me.
it is said
to keep one’s friends close
to keep one’s enemies closer
could this explain
when i look in the mirror
i am becoming less of a friend
more of an enemy –
After reading both those poems I ‘threatened’ Kimberley that I would write a post on becoming friends with oneself.
Here it is. Adding immediately that I’m drawing heavily on a conversation that Jon Lavin and I had a few months ago; Jon’s background can be looked up over at The People Workshop. Jon is the professional psychotherapist – I am not!
Knowing who we are.
On the 24th January last, I published a post under the title of 20:20 self-awareness. Included in that post was this:
What we hear and what we say are both modified, frequently unconsciously, by past events, experiences and trauma. That being the case, then it is key, critically so, that we achieve the best possible self-awareness. Because it is only through an understanding of our past that we come to learn of our sensitivities and our associated ‘tender spots’ and their potential for ‘pulling our strings’. Here’s a personal story.
In 1956, when I was 12, I experienced a trauma that was interpreted by my consciousness as emotional rejection. By the age of 14 that sensitivity to rejection had descended into my subconscious. For fifty years, that sensitivity remained hidden yet continued to influence my life in many unseen ways, not all of them negatively by a long measure. In 2007 a period of counselling revealed that hidden emotional rejection; brought it to the surface. It changed beyond imagination how I felt, how I behaved, how I was. Nonetheless, that sensitivity to rejection is still there, albeit now visible. Thus when I hear or experience something that tickles that sensitivity I still react. But because I can now see and feel myself reacting, I can sidestep the emotional strings.
OK, but what does better self-awareness not achieve? Knowing better who we are delivers no cleansing of our past, no removal of the capacity of that past to cause pain. Those psychological hooks and impulses are still alive and well!
So what’s the point of knowing better who we are if that greater self-awareness doesn’t remove those hooks and impulses that have the capacity to cause us pain?
The answer to that last question is this.
Greater self-awareness brings about control by the self of the self! We are able to start the slow process of gaining trust in ourselves. Trust; as in emotional trust. Being able to emotionally trust ourself is a central theme in psychotherapy solutions.
When we trust the emotional person that we are then we have achieved a liking for the person that we are. Bringing to mind the truism that you cannot like another if you do not like yourself. Like = Love, of course.
So two things to offer to close the post.
The first is that if you have any suspicion, or know for certain, that you have experienced trauma in your past life, especially in your formative years then the book Waking The Tiger by Peter A. Levine is a valuable resource. You can learn more about the book including reading the first chapter on the Somatic Experiencing website.
The second is to repeat the short film that was included in the 20:20 self-awareness post. This is how it was introduced:
The following is a short, twenty-minute, documentary film about fear. Do watch it. The message that we are so profoundly a product of our past is beautifully presented.
Take good care of yourself!