I’m starting to wonder why I put the word extreme in this challenge. It doesn’t seem like this is an area where I can do anything impressive. Asking for seemingly small things like, “I’m feeling down right now, and my instinct is to go it alone and not be a burden or make a big deal out of something small, but I could really use some presence and perspective right now” can feel overwhelming to me. I’m much more practiced in self-criticism than I am in self-esteem.
Today my big leap of vulnerability was to ask my Mom for support when I was feeling down. And instead of just having a regulating conversation about what was up for me, she actually shed light on some traumatic things that happened to me when I was only four, and helped me drop a story that I was powerless or a failure and embrace that it was something simply outside of my control.
Then I received an IFS support session that was absolutely scrumptious. Going back to a traumatic experience when I was nine that has held me back more than just about anything (it involved writing down my desires and then having them used against me—an experience that resulted in decades of not being specific with my desires and wanting to meet other people’s desires instead). The cool thing about this IFS process was that she kept guiding me to unburden myself from even more, so I shook off layers and layers of programming and old story (“It’s not safe to shine,” “Letting myself desire fully is greedy or ‘too much,'” “I need to care take others to be safe,” etc.) and felt so full of freedom and hope by the end.
I think I’m starting to turn the corner on this whole asking for support thing, where the benefits are starting to outweigh the vulnerability hangovers and I may soon find myself believing that I truly deserve the support I’m desiring. Until then, I’ll continue to dance with “not good enough” and slowly build up my ability to accept that maybe love is not something I need to earn.