We all know that each of us has different "selves" that show up from time to time. Hopefully we're familiar with the one of us who's at our best, expressing our essence, and living in a way that feels deeply authentic and unique to us. You know, the one of us who's naturally powerful, purposeful, alive, vibrant, sweet, joyful, fierce, or still? We all have a unique combination of flavors that make up our essence. And we recognize the potency of that being when he/she is on the scene. And then, you probably also know the characteristics of the other self. The one who's stuck in outdated behaviors, fears, or survival strategies from the past. This is the fearful, contracted, or defensive one who's lost touch with this moment and is indiscriminately applying our outdated ways of relating to the present. It's the one of us who says or does something that just "doesn't feel like us" and we can't understand it. It's the one of us who can wreak havoc on our relationships. This one is sometimes hiding in the shadows, where we can't quite see that we're not as fully alive as we could be. We may not even know we're doing it, even if we recognize repeating patterns in our relationships.
We all do it. And it's painful.
We all have a deep longing to bring our essential, authentic Self to our most intimate relationships. How wonderful it'd be to be at our best, where we can be seen and celebrated, continue to grow, flourish, and finally live life as the person we know we're meant to be! Surrounded by people who love us! And yet, our closest relationships tend not to happen exclusively this way. Instead, the more intimate the relationship, the more likely it is that our smaller, fearful self will be activated. We get triggered. We shut down. We act out. And sometimes, try as we may, we can't seem to shift.
Why? Because these now-outdated ways of being were first learned in the context of our early relationships with our primary caregivers. The love we experienced then was linked with other anxieties and fears that arose in a complicated mix inside us in relationship to our early experiences. So now our experience of love still carries those early imprints.
So, we should be able to shift these dynamics by simply being aware of them, right? Well, no. That's not my experience, at least. The key is that these different selves, the essential Self and the frozen-in-the past self, are actually held in the physiology of the body. So that means you can talk about your patterns all you want and the imprint can still be present in your muscles, your bones, or your nervous system where they hang out until they're activated yet again by some present-moment experience that seems just a little too close to our old painful experiences.
Now, before we get all doom and gloom, the good news is that our essential, authentic Self also lives in the physiology of our body. We can access it through breath, presence, and other embodiment techniques. And, this Self can be brought as a resource to our contracted self to bring healing and unwind the painful patterns we keep finding ourselves in. We can unwind the old, stuck energies in our tissues and replace those imprints with an anchoring of our most full, alive Self. It's a beautiful process.
So please, as you continue your walk down the path of being more fully yourself, don't forget your body! Also, if you're interested in working in this way, yay for you because I just had some new client slots open up! Contact me to grab one.