Life offers a myriad of experiences. Some of these we determine intentionally. Others we do not always understand and even question, “Why me?”. A common stance we take is, why has this occurred to me when I am a good person and care about everyone else? In spiritual circles, and through my daily work, the bigger picture is revealed. It can entail supporting the growth and expansion of your soul and others around you. However, when in the midst of suffering, pain, sadness or loss we don’t want to see the larger story. It can feel like too much. Guess what? I agree with you. Sometimes, it is not the time and this is totally ok.
When I was in my 20s, I had a couple of partners go outside of the relationship. Basically, this meant that they had slept with someone else behind my back, or without it being an agreed parameter in our relationship. While both partners were honest enough to tell me soon afterwards, I felt betrayed, angry and a sense of, “how dare they do this to me?”. As is often the case, I erected some sturdy walls. Being the lover that I am, I would still enter into relationships but I found myself being jealous and untrusting in certain circumstances. This was not good for me, and definitely not fun for the other person involved. I would be flirtatious with others. Not because I wanted to be with them, but it made me feel confident knowing I could have another person if I needed too, if something went wrong. These self-protection mechanisms became armoury against perceived danger. They are not recommended and I do not endorse my behaviour. However, in hindsight I can see how they helped me to feel safe at the time. In essence, my self-protective behaviour meant that I still had relationships and took risks with my heart. I had not yet fallen fully in love with myself and healed some older wounds, namely from being adopted as a baby.
I do not promote my self-protection mechanisms for I can see how these were disrespectful, hurtful and unfair to other partners. They deserved more. But hopefully, you can see how these self protection mechanisms were automatic, and allowed me to function in the world until I became ready to grow and heal further.
I have worked with clients who have erected self-protective measures in their relationships, friendships, careers and parenting. Beneath, their often unconscious choices, lies the inevitable aim to maintain security or immunity. But can we honestly ever keep ourselves completely out of harms way? Not even with psychic gifts can I know all that will unfold in my life. I am not meant to for some events may be unexpected, yet I am meant to live and learn from these, as are you.
Speaking of which, now let’s look at you. What is one self-protective measure you have adopted yet feel that you have outgrown? Perhaps it is something that has become more detrimental to you, your relationships, or even your health. Take a moment to reflect and notice something that you do, or a pattern you have that is holding you back, yet used to keep you feeling safe. As we are doing this exercise here, choose something less significant, for this might require further support!
Next, compassionately witness your behaviour. Please know that self-compassion “is related to an increase in being resilient emotionally and grounding your appraisal of self” (Neff, 2011). It supports us to grow stronger and let go of judgement. Imagine you are sitting on a star, out in space, observing yourself lovingly. Spend a minute or two quietly doing this. What sorts of things are you saying? What is your body language like? What is your tone of voice? Are you in your body when this behaviour occurs as you watch this re-run from a distance? Remember, you view this lovingly and judgment is not permitted in this space.
When ready, verbally answer or journal responses to these two questions:
- What parts of myself need more love or require assurance?
- If this was my child, or a child I love what would I say to this child to acknowledge their wounds or fears?
You are ready now to start constructing your new behaviours:
- Take a moment to repeat lovingly what you said to the child to yourself?
- Visualise, write, or hear the words that you would say and actions you would take next time to upgrade your behaviour. Remember, to apply this increased awareness and compassion towards self. What would you say? What would you do? How would you feel? What would others you are interacting with notice that is different?
- Be quiet for a moment, close your eyes and allow the cells of your emotionally intelligent and wise being integrate this new learning. Feel into them as they tingle. Perhaps you will see light or visual representations, hear what is happening, or just know that this integration is occurring.
Finally, open your eyes again and smile. You have initiated a new program and way of being in the world, minus one self-protective measure because you have outgrown it. You are ready to be this newer version of you, congratulations!
I no longer flirt inappropriately. I have found self-love that is deep and know how to sit with myself to feel into this if insecurity or fear arises. I get to choose. So do you.
I have uploaded a relaxing and reassuring meditation on Insight Timer that supports you to ease into releasing energetic protections that you may have adopted when needing to. The meditation ends on affirmations to reconnect you with your Divinity. I wish you and all sentient beings more love, growth and personal freedom.
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You might also enjoy reading:
It is time to transform relationship terminology
The Hidden Potential of Your Vulnerability.
A Simple Breath Work Technique to Release Tightness in the Chest
Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-compassion, self-esteem, and well-being. Social and personality psychology compass, 5(1), 1-12. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2011-01224-001