- TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I contemplated the idea of “recovery”.
Thema Bryant-Davis said “Survivors don’t need to forgive themselves. They need to realize that they are carrying stuff that is not theirs.” If my notes are correct, she calls this “toxic recovery” which (again if my notes are correct) is a projection of recovery.
Bessel van der Kolk said (speaking to practitioners) “don’t get caught up in the trauma story. Put your voyeuristic tendencies on hold” <= This last sentence is in big letters in my notebook with “OMG YES” underlined three times next to it :)
I have also begun the “recovery” stage of a physical hurt and I have a thought about that: I apparently have severe arthritis in my back and hip. I went to the sports medicine doctor this week and as soon as I was told that not only may I exercise as much as I want, I absolutely must…my fear of moving went away as did a good portion of my pain. I think that is interesting and note worthy.
“When someone is going through a storm, your silent presence is more powerful than a million, empty words.” ― Thema Bryant-Davis
“Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth even if they don’t.” ― Thema Bryant-Davis
“May you recognize dysfunction for what it is no matter how familiar It has become.” — Thema Bryant-Davis
Let go of yesterday to receive your present. Release comes before receive. — Thema Bryant-Davis
How do we “recover” well in a dysfunctional society? Won’t it feel a bit off sometimes? I think so. An example of this is how many of us are holding shame that literally isn’t ours. We feel shame for something that someone else did or said to us.
Shame is complex and there are many different kinds of shame. We still have to process whatever shame lands on our plate — I see it kind of like the admin side of “recovery” or healing or waking up — whatever you want to call this thing we’re doing as we become more emotionally and mentally mature :)
One key player in this process is our inner critic. I created a framework to work with my inner critic and since then have discovered that not only am I not alone in how I work with my inner critic, I am in extremely good company :)
The idea is to befriend your inner critic. Wait, wait…we know, we know. Your inner critic is quite the jerk :) But, from their point of view, they are doing their best to help you.
In some ways, how my fear of injuring myself more by moving actually created physical pain in my body (!) so that I would move less — to protect myself (!)
Try this prompt: Get quiet — spend time getting into a quiet meditative or contemplative state (see past newsletters for how to) and then literally tell yourself that you are going to stay relaxed and curious.
Place a distance between your inner critic and the parts of you that are being criticized. (From this point forward, only do this if it feels safe. If you are processing anything that feels “too much” find a helpful qualified therapist or counselor to help you through)
Ask your inner critic “Why do you do what you do?”
Listen :) Your inner critic might (with practice) tell you that they are trying to protect you, they don’t want you to be hurt, they’ll remind you about X,Y, or Z
Stay with your inner critic and try to learn from their point of view why they do what they do.
Keep going with your inner critic work and explain to your inner critic that you understand that they are trying to help but that you have a better way. Ask if your inner critic is wiling to work with you…
Ask if your inner critic is willing to change their role to your “Wise Inner Guide”
And…with time…and lots of compassion and practice…I can say that this method really can work.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
If you have it in you this week, try to see this guy out working in the wild :) Not everyday, but sometimes, I can see the effects of an out of control inner critic in a person I am in relationship with, or simply in the presence of. It can really help with compassion sometimes just knowing that a person who might be causing you a bit of chaos or upset is also trying valiantly to defeat (when they could try befriending) an inner critic.