Sunday, May 25, 2014

4 Powerful Steps to Let Go (Finally!)

"... like a forgotten fire, a childhood can always flare up again within us. " ~ Gaston Bachelard

How many of us married either a slightly different version or the stark opposite of our mothers, fathers, or other primary care giver whom we have unresolved business? How many of us created similar situations in our adult life that existed within our family dynamic? If no one spoke truthfully in our family, does our intimate partnership mirror the same behavior? 

I attracted a relationship that mirrored my unresolved childhood issues. In that relationship, I re-engaged with my 4 year old self, my 8 year old self, my defiant teen (that happened during the separation), and finally, finally, finally grew up my little girl and LET GO of my pain, shame, brokenness and everything else that no longer served me. Taking full responsibility was the first and crucial step.

1.  Acknowledging Our Part - The Silenced Inner Child Finally Speaks
Intimate relationships often provide an elaborate hiding place. We often attract either similar or opposite experiences within our adult relationships that mimic, in some way, our childhood experiences.  If we are afraid of experiencing our feelings, finding an intimate partner who does all of the emoting for us can keep our fear hidden. Perhaps we are afraid of taking care of ourselves financially or emotionally and thus create situations wherein we are always caring for others or are over-caring for our partner who pays the bills. Perhaps we don't believe we deserve love. Finding a physically, verbally or otherwise abusive partner will solve our need to hide from that belief, too. Acknowledging that we have called forth the relationships that we may deem harmful is an empowering act. Taking responsibility empowers us to call forth our deepest desire to heal and engage in our dreams. Healing begins when we begin a dialogue with our silenced inner child and acknowledge his or her pain.

2.  Expanding Our  Stories - Hearing Our Inner Child   
This is the step where most people get stuck because their stories lack fluidity. If we insist on keeping our gaze on the relationship we called forth by replaying the abusive spouse tape or the cheating spouse tape or whatever tape that we play to keep ourselves tethered to one aspect of our story, we fail to see the way our story wants to grow. Our stories can grow beyond a singular painful act by healing the original pain. By listening to the brilliant child who called forth an opportunity for our adult self to see their pain, we finally begin to heal. Our inner child may be begging us to speak up for ourselves, or step into our gifts, or let go of irrational fears, or some other instruction that was not possible for our child to accomplish during the growing up years. Psychotherapist Alice Miller refers to our inner child as our "true self."  When we hear and heed the wisdom of our "true self," the chains of our suffering are broken.  

3.  Embracing Ourselves and the Other - Growing Up Our Inner Child 
Once we grace our stories with an opportunity to grow, we see the perfection of our choices. We see how we called forth an opportunity for healing through our current relationships. The vantage of seeing the greater truth of our choices gives us the space to not only forgive ourselves and the other we called forth, but to celebrate the brilliant way the human psyche fosters healing.

4.  Falling Into Place - Our Inner Child Finds Joy
Until I took ownership of what needed healing within me, I could not find it in my heart to really understand the edifice of my suffering. Blaming the very relationship that I called forth to find healing kept my attention outside of my needs and created its own prison. The emotional house that the broken child needed repaired came into view when I took a deeper look. Finally seeing what was needed gave me the courage to take responsibility for my choices, do the work required to heal my child, and then the miracle―everything fell into place. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "It is a happy talent to know how to play." When my work was done and the child inside of me was happy, healthy and healed, I once again could begin to dream, and with sheer spirited abandon engaged in play.