further from ourselves
lost in untruths
The ways that we’ve learned to simplify who we are, our needs, our experiences and our identities work to keep us from all that is possible while remaining trapped within systems that refuse to see our humanity.
Either-or thinking sounds like it’s a safe bet to make sure we’re doing the right things to fit in with society. But while the demands of society shift and change and other people always appear to be “doing better than we are,” it never feels like we’ll ever be truly enough. That often leaves us feeling so uneasy in deciding to do what works best for us. A sense of unsafety creeps up in our bodies because we never feel like we can do what we need, and at the same time feel uneasy about the only choices we think we have.
As long as we’re not doing the right things to meet our needs, we’ll never feel a sense of safety within ourselves. Feeling safe in our bodies means starting to develop a relationship with our bodies. Part of developing that relationship means doing what we’ve learned to see as awful…
Sit with the discomfort that comes up in our bodies.
Not ruminate about it.
Not try to avoid it, talk over it, or calm it down right away.
But really sit with that discomfort.
Describe it: the feel of it, the colour, the shape, the size, and how it shifts and changes in your body. Really lean into it as much as you can possibly stay with it for a few moments. Breathe deeply, And eventually, ask ourselves, what it is we need right now?
We’re not used to the idea of being with our discomfort because we’ve learned that it’s a sign that we’re wrong and because of that, we’ll be rejected, excluded, humiliated and punished. But what if we could think of the discomfort as a sign that there’s an unmet need that we have? What if we could start to look at it with curiosity and without all the judgements? What would we learn about our true underlying needs when we did? The ones that we’ve taught ourselves to ignore, disassociate from and avoid in the hopes of finally fitting in and being seen as enough?
What would we discover about what it means for us to be aligned with our humanity instead of aimlessly following expectations that will never see us as human?
Integrating somatic attachment therapy with my narrative therapy practice is helping me and so many people that work with me find out. What have you been doing to develop a stronger mind-body relationship?
This concept of our bodily discomfort as a portal to our needs...what a powerful invitation this is. Thank you for this language. And so curious about the somatic attachment work you're doing, I feel myself headed that way too (including more somatic work).
I think we have some kind of psychic connection because I've been thinking about discomfort soooo much lately. See also: the things we do to make ourselves feel safe.