By Eva Angvert
How is my behavior? Am I showing up in the world the way I want to?
Remember the saying, “Your actions speak so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying.”?
What are my actions…your actions? Do they fit how we see ourselves?
Here I am teaching about behaviors – how not to get triggered by others, how to stay reaction free and not let other people’s actions affect how I behave…
…and, guess what…I’m doing pretty well…until I’m not!
Recently, a trigger was set off somewhere inside me, a sensation deep in my body. And, when it was ignited, I felt a wave of raw fear. In this wave was a mixture of thoughts that began with, “I…” and filled in with “…am bad”, “…am disposable”, “…will be left behind”, “…don’t belong here…or anywhere”…
An old sensation had been triggered, and off I went with my internal drama.
It’s funny how I need to make sense of my Self. Consequently, I wander back in time to my old story and find a trigger. This trigger takes me back to when I was two years old and left behind by my mother to live with Grandma for a year. I probably developed some abandonment issues, right?
Even now, I can still feel the raw cold panic when I woke up and she wasn’t there…for a year!
Later, when my mother came back, the “glue”, the emotional connection, seemed to have been lost, and I had developed the identity of a loner – lost, confused, scared, and unable to form healthy relationships…or, worse still, I found my Self craving attachment or attention…from anyone I felt could potentially “care” for me, save me.
And let me tell you what I learned from this: Looking for a savior or rock to stand on will, and I do mean “will”, lead us to form unbalanced, often abusive relationships. I have plenty of experience with this.
If you live with similar fears that you developed in your past, you may find that you can connect those fears with behaviors in the present that aren’t getting you where you want to go in life.
As for me, I’ve discovered, when I connect with a person, for whatever reason (maybe s/he smiled with kindness, maybe s/he listened attentively, maybe s/he helped me feel important), I have a strange tolerance for their not-so-respectful behaviors.
I tend to put up with a lot before I let go of a person. Do you think that is connected to my old fear of being left behind? You bet it is!
Others may have reasons for letting go of their connection with me that have nothing to do with me. And, in a regular person’s life, that would be okay. In my life, their moving away from me tends to push that old familiar button that says, “I’m bad; I’m disposable; I’ll be left behind.”
When my husband and friends would tell me to set stronger boundaries and even end a relationship, I would find excuses for staying in touch. Could this go all the way back to being in shock from losing connection with the most important person in my early years – my mother? Yes! And the feeling feels like losing my oxygen supply.
Regardless of how cognitively intelligent we are, our emotional injuries can stunt growth and leave us so scarred that our behaviors are unconsciously controlled by a frightened young child trying not to get hurt…again.
So, we hang in there, for far longer than less injured people would, to avoid any trigger that starts us down the trail of feeling abandoned and “left behind”, “discarded”, and “disposed of”.
I have stopped asking where this fear in me comes from. A few psycho-therapists have given me plenty of reasons, explanations, and theories, none of them truly satisfying and none helpful in resolving my trigger issues.
I mean, truly, no one knows the big “why”. We speculate, and based on our own lenses, structure of interpretation (SOI), and personal perspective, we come up with something that fits well enough so that we feel we can move on.
However, are we really moving on?
We all have layers of somatic connections, sensations that trigger our thoughts and our behaviors. Our need to put meaning to our feelings, to make sense of our experiences, can sometimes be the block itself.
We can then be said to be experiencing analysis paralysis, the somatic block and brain freeze that inhibits any forward movement.
We can even truly want to change and still feel stuck in a doom loop of reactions, sometimes consciously and sometimes not.
What do we do?
What if it were possible to soften our focus on what’s wrong, stop the repetitive cycle, and still the self-flagellating behaviors of shame and guilt?
What if we could find a way to practice audacious self-acceptance?
What if, the moment we catch our Self in a behavior we do not like, we say to our Self, “I love you anyway!”?
“I love you anyway!” Who doesn’t want to hear that? Being loved even though, being loved, dare we say it, because of who we are, just as we are…being loved…unconditionally!
How do we get there?
It starts the moment you can sit with your emotions, be with your sensations, and allow everything that is uncomfortable to BE…just that…uncomfortable; that’s the moment you’re FREE.
Free from reactive behaviors and repetitive unwanted habits, free to choose how you show up in the world…because you know you are loved PERIOD.
For more information about how to become free of your unwanted behaviors, feelings, and thoughts, contact Eva at https://www.evaangvert.com/contact/ or call 510.825.7574.