WEINGAARDE // UTTERBÄCK
RETREATS // MEDITATION // PSYCHOTHERAPY // SPIRITUALITY // SILENCE
The basic understanding
Dealing with your shadow
Dealing with rejection
The basic understanding
The first thing that has to be clear is that you are completely responsible for your own life. You need to grow the capacity to handle any kind of situation you meet in life - the only reason being that you are faced with it. It certainly doesn’t mean that we all have the same chances in life, it only means that we have the same responsibility towards ourselves in doing our best to live a fulfilled life, no matter what our life circumstances look like at the outset.
Many people waste their life because they don’t see that they are stuck in an idea of not being capable or responsible: They blame life, partners, parents, God, misfortune, genes… whatever… and take that as en excuse to not deal with it. The cells in our body doesn’t ask whose fault it is if injured; it does it’s best to heal the wound.
That’s the first misconception that needs to drop for us to be able to rise from repeating emotional wounds to healing them. A wound is a wound, physical or emotional. It may be life threatening or a small thing. Deal with your emotional wounds the same way as the cells in your body does: You cannot heal yourself if you’re stuck in an idea of being a victim. The victim role is is an avoidance strategy we develop to not have to deal with our pain; it’s an expression of the wound that needs to be healed.
The second thing needed is your willingness to do the work: all the residues of pain from the day you were born and even before, needs to be dealt with. Emotional pain that you could handle as a child, because you were mature enough, not pressured over your limit, or because your environment provided the necessary support for you, doesn't leave residues. But pain from feeling rejected, unworthy, wrong, not loved and cared for, and so on, leaves you all messed up.
All the misunderstandings, distortions and strategies you have developed to deal with that pain needs to be met and straightened out. Trying to be good or being a rebel - or pretend you don’t care - are all strategies to avoid feeling emotional pain. All the ways you’ve learned to not be authentic needs to be dealt with, until you’ve learned to deeply love and respect yourself. Or in other words: until you’ve learned to deeply take full responsibility for yourself. Then the lost innocence, vulnerability and authenticity can return.
One of the biggest obstacles for real change is unconscious resistance. When we have passed the stage of believing that other people, unfavorable circumstances or fate is creating the difficulties we face - and have started to see a repetitive pattern that must originate from within ourselves - real change becomes possible.
There are still obstacles though. We may really want to take responsibility and change from within, because we see - at least partially - that the difficulties we face in life are mostly self-created. (I’m not saying that wars, discrimination, pollution and so on are self-created on an individual level; but on a collective level it is easy to see that for many generations, individuals have co-created a mix of development and destruction that affects all living beings). The only way for real change to happen is to stop the blaming and start cleaning up from inside of ourselves.
If something is reflected outside of you; it is also hidden somewhere inside. Wars are created through a large enough number of individuals collectively unwilling to deal with their own shadow. The real danger is not what we have on the inside - but what we deny that we have on the inside. Because that is what will unconsciously be played out in our lives. On a collective level it might be war. On an individual level it might be relationship conflicts.
The subconscious is directed towards self-preservation. It does not want change. The subconscious is filled with all the pain that was too hard to deal with when we were small and vulnerable. It can even be directly inherited from our parents and grandparents - it doesn’t necessarily have to be our own experiences. Chaotic and distorted fragments of these experiences create subconscious patterns we adopt as survival strategies in order to secure the love and care needed for survival. Innocence and vulnerability is sacrificed. We become charicatyres of ourselves; ”the lone cowboy”, ”the good girl”, ”the martyr”, and so on. We lose contact with our true self. We mistake our survival strategies for who we really are.
These patterns are NOT easily seen through. Especially if the hidden pain is huge enough; then we will do almost anything (unconsciously) to cheat ourselves from seeing how things really are. Because seeing will make the original pain surface again. So when we start the process of ”personal development” our unconscious mind will (at least try to) hijack our good intentions of taking responsibility for our lives and make sure we don’t get the real deal. We cheat ourselves into believing that we are progressing when we are actually just day-dreaming. Typically we will use our survival strategies to try and create the change we need. It doesn’t work. The survival strategies need to be seen through. If trying to do right to get approval (or at least not disapproval) is one of your survival strategies you will do your best to do right all the time. But it is completely wrong!
How can you know if you are day-dreaming instead of actually doing the work? LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. What is reflected back to you? Do you feel mistreated or misunderstood? Are you not in the relationship you wish you were? Is your work not in balance with what you want to give into the world and what you get back? Are you disappointed with people in your life or are others disappointed with you? Are your close relationships nurturing or stressful?
Real change as compared to wishful thinking doesn’t mean that all your ideas about a harmonious life will come true; you simply give up that idea. You find harmony now. In the midst of your challenges. But real change will be reflected back in positive changes at work, in relationships and so on. Some relations may improve - others might fall of. Your change will affect everybody around you; it can become a challenge to those around you who doesn’t want to deal with their own stuff in a sincere way. But you will no longer wonder why things are the way they are. You will see where you are at, knowing that change happens in small steps. Sometimes you take a quantum leap. Sometimes you take a step in the wrong direction. You simply see where you are and take responsibility for yourself, knowing that you are also responsible for your unconscious patterns. You no longer seek approval of others; the reward is truly seeing yourself for the first time.
You know you’re on it when what you see completely knocks you down at first. It can be totally scary to see that self-hatred and self-sabotage is part of your wiring. The feeling of shame can almost drown you when you see how self-important you make yourself and how you demand approval from others. But clearly seeing those unloved parts of you is the journey back to self-love instead of self-pity and self-importance. Then fear and shame give way for love and joy. You taste the freedom in being who you truly are. We need to love ourselves back to wholeness. To do that we must be able to see our brokenness first.
Challenges will always be there in different ways; but it is important to start looking at what is reflected back to you with an innocent mind and a sincere wish to take responsibility for anything that might be of your origin; without judging yourself or anyone else in the process.
You ”got it” if it no longer matters to you if you are right or ”the other” (your partner, child, boss, parent or whatever). If you sincerely just want truth no matter who is right and no matter how painful it feels - then you’re actually dealing with your life. Then people around you will feel relieved (and maybe challenged if they are not sincere themselves) because they sense you listen to them - they will feel that you want to understand rather than want to be right. You listen without explaining to them how things are when they say something about you. It doesn’t mean they are always right; but you sincerely reflect on it; deeply trying to see if what they say is right. You will make sure you dig out the smallest truth in what they say - no matter if it is said with love or from hurt. You are grateful for the gift of other people’s eyes that help you see yourself. You see the hidden treasure they offer you. Because you know that you (as everybody) have unconscious strategies to defend yourself from seeing how things really are - and other people and situations are the gift to you because they mirror that back to you. You invite that from others - but you don’t impose that on them if they don’t sincerely ask for it. Other people have their right to not want to change. But you will re-arrange the people you keep close to your heart to people who are truly nurturing for you - when you are truly nurturing for them.
See through any wishes to do right and avoid wrong. Don’t buy into the idea of yourself as a project that needs to be fixed and then everything will be alright. Don’t buy into the idea of yourself as a victim no matter what has happened in your life - whether you where orphaned, abused, or severely mistreated.
See your life as the glorious possibility it is - no matter what your life circumstances are compared to others. NO comparison. LIFE was given to you, through TWO parents. If they abandoned you. SO WHAT. Life still welcomed you. YOU ARE HERE. Take the responsibility. It may include having to deal withy huge difficulties because of the traumas you carry with you.
Then just deal with it. End of story.
Dealing with your shadow side
The shadow contains all you want to hide from others and even yourself. It is the story of your life, a theme that gets repeated throughout your life in cycles unless you deal with it. You may not want it. But what you want is not going to change how things are. Only your readiness and willingness to take responsibility can change the themes in your life.
Wanting to change your shadow is often a reason to see a therapist or in other ways seek help to feel happy again (or even for the first time). Unless there is real readiness to change nothing of value will happen. The therapist can only in different ways point that out - with the tools he/she has available - until the message is actually transmitted and understood. There is no savior from the outside. You are the one to save yourself. You need to grow everything from the inside of you; the readiness and the willingness and the capacity to take responsibility for everything that appears in your life. Another person can only be with you to guide you through the maze - and help you feel safe while you take those shaky steps to free yourself from your own suffering.
The readiness is there when you fully accept that you create your own life story and your are the one responsible for the content. Then you focus on your part of all situations you encounter; you understand that other people play their given role in your drama like you do in theirs. You are the director and author.
Your life circumstances, especially during early childhood, has given you the building blocks to your story. But you create the story. And recreate it - and recreate it… Until you choose not to do it anymore. Then you can begin to see the themes you have. You might have given yourself the role of helper, victim, or perpetrator. You might have core beliefs like ”people should not treat me bad” instead of just accepting reality as it is: Some will. You better acquire the skill you need to deal with such people and situations - if you value your own joy and want to be happy.
There is one exception and that is children. Children are dependent; they cannot change their parents or support themselves. They are dependent in a true sense. That is one reason why these survival strategies are created in the first place. This dependency gradually lessens; as we grow up it should be replaced by true responsibility. The willingness to take responsibility is the willingness to feel totally responsible for our own story (no matter the life circumstances). It is the willingness to see our own immaturity and weaknesses, and lovingly hold ourselves through the maturation process.
What helps you see the story is following your heart; to do that what makes you feel the deepest joy and passion - that which feels most true for you.
But if you are so numbed that you have no clue - guess and learn by the mistakes you need to find out. What else can you do? At some point your shadow self will surface. It may be mirrored in a relationship or outer circumstance; or it will just surface from deep within without you understanding why.
If you are prepared then you remain quite inside. You don’t act out your pain. You stay with the feeling inside. It is like waking up from a night mare, realizing it is just a dream. The fear might still be there, and the feeling you carry with you from the dream. Then you need to find the inner movement that allows you to hold your own inner child. You don’t speak in words. You definitely don’t judge it. You hug it. You accept it. You let it feel your warmth and unconditional love.
Then real change will happen. Healing the shadow is painful. You re-experience your deepest emotional pain; the experiences you where not able to handle when it happened, and you meet the fear that is still kept in your system.
You need to sit quietly in the midst of this and hold and love yourself like a new born baby. The core belief may be that you don’t deserve love. Then you sit with that pain. You hold yourself through it. Little by little, it will leave space for real love from within yourself. You simply love yourself through it until you understand what is true: You deserve to be loved, fully and unconditionally.
Only then can it dissolve once and for all. You shadow aspects will change shape when you no longer feel ashamed or condemn yourself; when you accept everything you find inside. Little by little shame, sadness, anger, fear…. will leave room for love and peace in you.
That is true responsibility.
You will find out that love is what you are.
Dealing with rejection
Most people are carrying around insecurities around self-worth: Not thinking we are worthy of love is a huge fear deeply embedded in the sub-conscious. It was planted by experiences when we where small, vulnerable and dependent; experiences that were somehow overwhelming to us and we thought love was withheld from us because we didn’t deserve it.
To mature as human beings we must come to see that those old wounds in us are like magnets attracting our experiences; as an opportunity to heal those wounds. That will only happen if we see that the trigger is not the point - a partner that withholds love from you, betrays you or leave you - or is going under your skin not accepting your boundaries, wanting more than you can actually give. Or it could be a family member that resents you and don’t want to speak to you, a colleague that undermines you at work. Or it could be you not seeing how you withhold love from the other by finding faults, by turning the loved one away. The point is to be able to use these experiences to mature and heal ourselves - instead of endlessly repeating different varieties of our sub-conscious drama.
Our sub-conscious strategies for dealing with situations like that will easily overtake us and we suddenly have a very one-sided and distorted view of reality; usually making ourselves the victim and the other the perpetrator; blinding ourselves from seeing our own survival games. And usually the other (or others) involved do the same thing… Both feel like victims and both feel rejected - but in different ways…
That’s when we fall into the trap of trying to change the other instead of ourselves, thinking our own aggression is actually standing up for ourselves, or feeling miserable believing the other is responsible for how I feel.
These survival strategies helped us to cope with life when we were small and vulnerable - but they stop us from having full access to life and our own joy, from seeing reality as it is, from having nourishing relationships without compromising, and so on.
The way out is a deep willingness to take responsibility no matter what the other person does, and realizing deeply that if you were filled to the brim with self-love nothing could ever shake that experience. Then you know it’s about them if they cannot receive you. Then you can lovingly say no to unhealthy demands on you without retracting from love. No experience whatsoever could ever make you believe that you are not loved. Because you are love, and you know it. The reaction would then be very different. You could have compassion and choose to stay, or you could have compassion and choose to go - for the moment or permanently. You will know by listening to your heart, what is best for you - and you will not have problems following the advice. (What is best for you depends on your capacity in that moment) There is no need of the other when you know what you are.
Your first responsibility is always to take care of yourself. With care. With love. With patience.
It means you won’t allow yourself to act out your sub-conscious drama any longer, because you see how you hurt both yourself and the other by doing that - and you have to deal with the mess afterwards. But you don’t blame yourself for your mistakes. You learn. Maybe you lost someone you loved because of it. It gives tremendous determination to not make the same mistake again. But don’t blame the other or yourself for the short-comings you have. Just try again. What the other does or doesn’t do is up to him or her. No more pushing and pulling. If the situation is not good for you action is taken from a place of integrity and self-responsibility, not hurt or blame or trying to change the other.
What you do is you take a deep rest in your heart, holding your vulnerable self in love by being present with what is there. You go to the deepest honesty you can find within you (by doing that it will deepen). And you are very quiet. If there is sadness you feel sadness - without a story running on top of the sadness turning it into self-pity or self-blame. If there is shame, anger, guilt - no difference. It feels different but the outset is the same: You stay quiet, you don’t act it out in thoughts or action. You don’t try to fix it. Your presence burns it like incense. See and feel your brokenness with compassion.
Choose to be true.
Choose to bend.
Choose to be humble.
This is the power of communication.
Lay down pride, compromise, being right.
This stands in the way for intimacy.
If you bow first the other will melt.
For each time you do that there is a little more space in you to love yourself.
Something needs to change on a global scale in the way we connect to each other and ourselves. As a species we need to heal a deep wound in ourselves. Not for the planet to survive - but for us to survive as a species on this planet.
We need to find a deep surrender to be able to undo our own survival strategies and unhook ourselves from survival mode - which is underlying the problems we see on the planet. It causes separation and selfishness; a split between you and me, us and them - even between you and yourself. Your true being is there behind the surface level of identity and labelling of yourself; name, class, gender, profession, ethnicity, the way you and others view you as a person and so on. Finding out who you are beyond all this is the priceless jewel to dig out from within yourself.
Surrender is the tool. The necessary condition is a deep willingness to let go of everything that you are hanging on to for confirmation of your identity and self-worth; everything that is interwoven with your conditioning and your survival strategies. And it hurts. The result is real self-love. In the healing process it replaces self-importance with true self-worth, and self-defense with integrity. Real self-love, self-worth and integrity is not dependent on confirmation from the outside; it’s not connected to any kind of accomplishment or having a partner. It fuels creativity, inspiration, joy, achievement and the fulfillment of your potential. It attracts love; both in the form of love relationships and friendships.
In a practical way it means the end of ever arguing with anyone again - the end of feeling like a victim and the end of having enemies. In the healing process we need to have patience with each other and ourselves; it doesn’t happen overnight. We need to find the deepest possible surrender within ourselves to make it happen at all. The resistance is often huge; it feels like losing everything, but as we find that surrender it deepens and it becomes easier as we experience the result; our relationships start to heal as we learn to look at ourselves and others with love instead of judgment. We begin to se clearly what is going on when we no longer defend ourselves and our views; when we are willing to change instead of wanting to change the other.
So what is surrender? Surrender is the opposite of self-defense and needing to be right. Surrender is the deep willingness to give in; to listen for the slightest truth in any accusation and to see that as a gift; to choose to change that within ourselves that causes disharmony around us without demanding the other(s) to change too, without fighting back. It means wanting what is true rather than wanting to be right or avoid painful feelings. It certainly doesn’t mean surrender to someone’s ego or pleasing - surrendering to what you can see is true only means the willingness to see through your own defense mechanisms that has been distorting reality for you since you where a small child, because you couldn’t understand and handle the reality you where in. For some it was only momentarily - and the defense mechanisms may not be so strong and difficult to see through. For others it was persistent, a matter of psychological survival - and a lot is required then, for you to be able to see through those games. It can feel like your life depends on making others wrong and yourself right, for instance. Because the alternative is that you are wrong and that means you are worthless. Of course that is not the truth - but unconsciously thoughts like that underpins our behavior in everyday life. The underpinning thoughts vary; but the deepest fear in everyone is to be completely abandoned and alone with no one to love you. It’s life threatening. And that fear holds our beliefs of what we need to do and how we need to be to be accepted by others - it’s understandable that the resistance to surrender is high.
As we surrender we will meet up with the fears underpinning our belief system. It takes courage to surrender and to be able to listen deeply enough to be able to stop the automatic defense strategies and meet the pain and the fear instead. So when you are triggered to react in your common way - you choose to surrender. You choose not to argue or blame the other. Instead you stay put with yourself and the cacophony of voices telling you all sorts of things about the situation at hand. You hold yourself like you hold a child who has just woken up from a night mare and not yet understood that it was just a dream. Until you see that it IS a dream. Your reaction pattern was there to protect the vulnerable places in you, to protect you from feeling the deep pain of past experiences that formed those distorted and painful core beliefs about yourself. As you stay put and hold yourself through the feelings instead of acting from that state of pain - it will start healing. (You may need to temporarily walk away from the situation and be alone to be able to do that) When you are through your own reactivity and can speak from a state of surrender - then you can deal with whatever triggered you from self-love and integrity. You don’t accuse anyone because you don’t feel like a victim. You simply choose what is the most loving way to deal with the situation at hand from a place of self-love, integrity and non-judgment.
Letting go is the movement of surrender. It is that which happens when you have decided to surrender your self, and actually hand over - let go of - your ”weapons”; your strategies, belief system, ideas about right and wrong, who you are, what others should do for you or you for others, your wishes and dreams and so on. Stripped naked of your defense system; all you think you know, all you think you are and think you have the right to - then you get to know who you really are and what is really true. Standing naked without leaning on anything you are vulnerable. You are honest. You are you for the first time. And you will begin to see yourself and the world without distortion.
This is terrifying for the psyche. Our subconscious, our defense mechanisms that help us distort the world in order to protect us from psychological pain, will not give in freely. It will attempt to keep the strategies at any cost. It may cause a lot of pain, like anxiety, depression and even suicide - but as long as it is a part of the defense from the original pain, nothing can really be resolved, nothing can really set you free. Then you only relieve the symptoms, but not the cause of the symptoms - if you succeed at all.
That’s why we need to surrender over and over again; until it becomes natural and we have truly understood that this is the only way. Everything else is cheating on yourself; allowing yourself to continue to play the game of self-importance and self-denial. We are all wearing the Emperor’s new clothes, as in the tale of H C Andersen. It’s just a matter of seeing and dealing with it, or denying and defying it. Looking at the state of the world at large it is easy to see that it is built on denying and defying. Enough many individuals choosing differently is necessary for us to change that.
Looking honestly at your own life - surrendering everything in you that is in opposition to how things actually are - will set in motion a lot of reactions inside of you. If you want to set yourself free you say yes to whatever that will lead to. This is how you align with Life.
Someone is not there for you.
You feel inferior.
Something feels unfair.
You don’t feel loved and safe.
You don’t feel appreciated.
You don’t love yourself.
You don’t feel you have enough.
Surrender. Stop trying to control others so they won’t hurt you. If you let go of the issues where you are sensitive you become naturally strong and you learn to deal with those areas where you have had your weak spots. Drop the opposition.
You can deal with the problems outside. But if you have a problem with what others do you have two problems. It’s a waste. The mind is causing unnecessary problems until you drop your resistance to reality; to how things actually are. Then you set your mind free instead of continue to try to make the world please your mind. It won’t happen. And you don’t free yourself by fighting your own mind.
Breath through the pain and let it pass. Give yourself the room you need to be able to release - and it will release of itself. Drop everything that doesn’t serve you - even the wish to change yourself. And let yourself be transformed by the experience of surrender and letting go. Sadness may be there until it is not. But the suffering from being sad - disappears. Shame may be there as you start to see your own games - but as you learn to hold yourself in love it heals. Guilt transforms into being responsible as you deeply feel the pain you inflict on others, and on yourself by judging you for your own shortcomings. This is the return to innocence. You can’t have enemies anymore. Not even yourself.
It’s never a matter of getting something. It is always about getting rid of something.
You raise your mind to another level when you let go of negativity, needs, wants, problems.
You give space for love, creativity and joy, which is the natural state of the mind.