Have you ever been in a situation that made you very angry or sad, while another person experiencing the same thing wasn’t bothered at all? Sometimes it seems like we, or people around us, end up in the same situation over and over. Like we somehow attract the things we want the least! Most often it has to do with an unconscious fear we have.
In my blog post “Stuck in a loop” I mentioned something that had happened, that made my body freeze and totally pulled the rug under my feet. It was an experience that seemed to repeat itself in my life.
What I’ve learned is that our experiences, especially early in life, create a filter through which we interpret what’s happening. Memories of traumatic events are stored in our bodies, and when our body recognizes an event that resembles the situation where we got hurt in the past, it tries to protect us from experiencing the same pain again. That’s why we get into a state of anger, sadness or whatever the reaction might be. You know…the famous fight, flight or freeze response.
We often dismiss a childhood trauma as a minor incident that didn’t affect us much. But through a little child’s perspective it might have had such a strong impact on us that, in order to shield us from the overwhelming pain, our body stored it in our implicit memory. Especially if we couldn’t express our feelings at the time. When this happens we might remember the incident as adults, yet we don’t remember the pain it caused. When we’re disconnected from our feelings we don’t understand our strong reactions in a situation we encounter. So when this happens, it’s important to ask ourselves if this situation reminds us of something from the past. Because it’s only when we face it and get insights about it that we can heal those wounds and not be thrown off balance when those situations occur.
So the rug was pulled and I fell flat on my face again. I admit that I saw myself as a victim of circumstances. I found myself turning (and returning) to a fake relationship that so many of us turn to when the pain is overwhelming… The toxic relationship with Mr Wine… You know, the kind of relationship that is bad for you, and you know it very well, but you keep going back into those conforting arms because for the moment it soothes and calms you. And yet, at the same time the relationship creates even more turbulence and pain inside. Instead of being empowered to face the pain, work on it and let it go, we get stuck in that vicious loop where we dwell on it over and over.
Most of us have this kind of relationship with something that we turn to when the emotions get too strong. It can be food, alcohol, sugary stuff, drugs, cigarettes, gambling, social media etc…, just to get some relief from what’s going on inside and to try to fill that void. But the thing is…we can never run from ourselves. The things we’ve experienced will sooner or later catch up on us, so why don’t we face it and get it over with sooner rather than later so we can live the rest of our lives feeling free and serene?
In one of my meditations I asked myself why I didn’t take care of myself, and why I was hurting myself that way. What came up from the subconscious part of my mind was very surprising to me. I felt guilt for my sister’s death. It didn’t seem logic to me at all. I wasn’t the one driving that car, I was barely eight years old! But as I dug deeper I could see why. She didn’t get to live her life but I did, and it felt so unfair to me. So in my mind, now I had to live for us both, which of course created a lot of pressure in me!
What more came up during my digging was an incident where my sister and I were arguing and I said to her in anger “I’d laugh if you’d die”. I couldn’t even in my wildest dreams think that only a few months later it would actually occur..! Of course I’ve had unconscious feelings of guilt! It made me see myself as unworthy and not good enough, even though consciously I knew I was. It even got to the point that I sometimes became a doormat in my relationships. That unconscious belief was the root to what happened repeatedly in my life, but I was totally oblivious to it!
So…what came out of all of this..? Well, I realized that what we call heaven and hell is actually already here inside of each one of us. I believe that there is a way to live heaven on earth, but sometimes we need to encounter situations that provoke our reactions to shed a light on what needs to be healed. Then we need to spend some quiet time alone to understand where the reaction came from in order to heal our wounds. If we keep running away from it, with whatever favorite distraction we have, it can sometimes take a lifetime to experience enough of these “unpleasant” situations until we get it! It’s like once we’ve taken the time to understand and heal a wound, and can let go of the fear of it to happen again, these unpleasant situations just seem to magically stop showing up..!
Even though it sucks when they happen, these are the moments where we get the chance to learn. We learn to know ourselves better, we grow, and we find balance in life. That’s how we can get to that serene and joyful place that wise people in the history of human kind have described as Nirvana, Paradise or Heaven on Earth…
Do you recognize this from your own life? If you have a similar story you’d like to share, drop me an email! I’d love to read about it!