If you think about it, our great assets of character today are often byproducts of the ways we learned to survive as small children.
We have spent a lifetime honing them, for better or for worse, as an internal and often subconscious message of how and when we deserve love. By adulthood, we have become masters of these survival mechanisms, and they define who we are in relationship with others.
Nerves that fire together, wire together, afterall.
They can show up as the characteristics we get praised for as adults.
"You're so strong!”, or “you’re so generous, always thinking of others before yourself”, or "I love that you always make me laugh!"
The irony is that they are ALSO the very same characteristics that we get criticized for in times of conflict.
“You’re so strong” becomes “You’re so harsh!”, “You’re so generous, always thinking of others” becomes “Stop being a doormat and letting others walk all over you!”, "I love that you make me laugh." becomes, "Why do you always have to deflect?"
In the flip of a (trigger) switch!
Heart to heart connection can get easily derailed when our triggers are activated. We fall privy to reacting through our wounding and protective measures when not feeling seen, heard or understood instead of openly responding to what is in front of us.
And let's face it, we are all just a bunch of toddlers dressed up as adults.
Called our "attachment strategy", the characteristics we mastered at a young age for affection, bonding, and praise with our earliest caregivers—sometimes secure, other times insecure, anxious or avoidant.
The inner work is to look at these characteristics today and ask ourselves, “How's this working for me?”
How can we auto, self and potentially co-regulate so that we may stay present to the natural unfolding within our relationships and find the true connection with others that we crave?
Only when we see ourselves again as small children who were simply looking for love and affection, can we potentially unstick that which keeps us bound in same old, same old.
We walk towards the young person we left behind all those years back. We pick her up, hug her with both arms, and repeat: "I love you. I see you. You've done a great job so far. I'm proud of you. I am listening..."
Ease up, child. Ease up.
Note: I'll be offering a workshop on Attachment Strategies, called Relation-shipping & Connection on June 16th, from 6:00-8:00pm to kick off my Third Thursdays Monthly Virtual Gatherings.
Together we will explore the four attachment strategies and techniques for inner resourcing, active listening, deep breathing, heart-based connecting, and expressing our need for bonding from a place where it can be heard. Register for events on the Facilitator page of my website.
photo of me age four, held by my Grandpa. He had the softest, warmest hands...