Scared of ourselves

One part of me is often very, very scared.

It’s scared of losing people, and it’s willing to do pretty much anything to get people to stay.

It can be obsessive. It can fret over tiny details – what someone else thinks, whether they called or not. It can imagine the worst in an email (she wasn’t loving enough in the sign-off to that email, something must be wrong), or in a silence. It can imagine – and believe – elaborate scenarios in which people who are important to me have withdrawn already because of a slight, or an oversight, or a mistake on my part.

When I think this part is me, I too am afraid. And in my fear I try to drive it away: I do not want to feel the way it feels. I do not want to think the way it thinks. I work hard to push it out of view, out of my thoughts and out of my emotions.

And the fear multiplies in direct response to the abandonment I inflict upon it.

When I understand this part as if it were a whole person with its own coherent thoughts and feelings, I can see how my own fear of it makes it more afraidAnd my abandonment of it gives it the proof it dreads. It knows, from first-hand experience, that it is always at risk of being exiled.

I have been relating to this part in exactly the way it most fears. And it is no wonder that is has continued to haunt me.

As I wrote earlier this week, our own relationship to the parts of us has a profound effect on them, and hence on us. And so more recently, when I feel afraid of losing someone – when I feel the irrational, obsessive, implacable fear start to form – I practice turning towards the afraid part in as appreciative and loving a way as I can. Welcoming it home. Showing that though others may leave, I will not. 

And the fear settles.

By welcoming my own complexity and contradictions rather than turning away from them, I’m finding that I can create the conditions in which the parts of me, sometimes fearful, frequently needy, often longing, can find some peace. And in welcoming myself I am able to bring myself more fully, more generously, and with much less clinging to those I love, and to those with whom I work.

Photo Credit: MrJew via Compfight cc

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