Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nurturing Our Fragile Ego

Life can be challenging. Things happen. And sometimes, things happen that trigger our old stuff, such as the upset of a past relationship that didn’t work out, the loss of a loved one, an incident at work, or another dark time in our past. These past experiences surface in invitation for healing. Unfortunately, we’ve learned to stuff those old feelings back down (thus the terminology “old stuff”), but doing so beckons future invitations for the old stuff to resurface, and usually, with greater intensity and often an emotionally crippling effect.

When dealing with old fears, anxieties and heartache, we must recognize that the part of us that makes us human, the Ego, is crying out and needing some attention, much like a child that’s feeling neglected by not getting its needs met. What the Ego wants is comforting, reassurance of security and safety, healing. It needs to know that it’s okay, that it’s not being ignored. But we stuff those icky feelings that surface, like parents telling little children, “Stop your crying! Buck up!” or “Get over it! Stop making it such a big deal," rather than heeding these cries of help from Ego.

When we nurture and love the tender Ego and all its neurosis, we are actually nurturing and loving ourselves. All too often we fall short in loving ourselves, choosing instead self-criticism for being emotional, judging ourselves for not being “over it”, weak and vulnerable. We re-stuff those emotions and profess to all who inquire, “I’m fine,” plowing forward steeled against the world in a new layer of protective walls.

I use to be that person. Since adolescence, I hid behind the many walls of protective layers of “I’m fine” until I learned that it was actually okay to have my feelings, to not be “fine” all the time, to feel emotion, and that it was normal and natural to do so. Thus began my journey of healing, releasing the intense feelings of old stale emotions I’d long stuffed inside with denial, food, television escapism, alcohol, boys, drama, victimization, and shopping. We all have addictions, legal and illegal, that help us avoid and stuff these emotions and shore up walls. Once the walls started coming down, it's gut wrenching and I felt exposed; but a healing process began, and the authentic me came out of the self-imposed prison (which I learned to build from a number of influencers in my life).

Once free, the human Ego feels naked, vulnerable and uncertain of how to “be” or “exist” in this new space, a similar experience when a ward of the prison system is released after years of living a very guarded life on the inside. Upon release, it’s a new world, and for Ego, it consists of learning to trust again, to not instantly recoil in fear at the slightest stumble as life happens. And as you and your Ego begin this new journey of greater self-awareness and understanding, your Ego may reactivate old fears to shift you into familiar patterns of coping, stuffing and hiding behind walls. During this fragile time, you must nurture the Ego as it and you undergo these changes; reassuring yourself and Ego, much like we reassure a frightened child that’s lost in a foreign place that all will be okay, it’s safe, and to choose courage as you move forward, despite the fear.

How we talk to ourselves is very important in this process; loving self-talk that affirms we are capable, we are loved, even if aren’t feeling it from the world. Taking time to support these growth opportunities honors Ego’s willingness to move from simply “dealing” into “healing.” Simple things such as a walk through a flower garden, a bubble bath, reading spiritually-motivating material, journaling, or meditation are but a few ways to help move along the bumpy road of churned up feelings. Once over the humps, celebrate the healing process and nurture Ego with positive affirmations, such as “Yea me, I am worthy of freedom from past hurts” and “God unconditionally loves me, and so I love myself!” Treat yourself with an in-home spa treatment, an evening with a special friend, or fresh cut flowers to celebrate. The key is that the nurturing of Self is healthy and not a flashback to old coping patterns.

Instead of resisting the gunk that arises as you move through life's challenges, give yourself permission to stop the merry-go-round of life, face the choppy waves of emotion to learn, grow, and heal. This is the place where wisdom is gleaned. Then honor yourself for easing the burden you carry from your past. This work of facing past heartache and darkness isn’t easy, it takes a great deal of courage; but with the right support, the right tools with which to process through it, it can be a liberating experience that brings greater joy, love and harmony into your life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, You are good Sister!! Love you!