Listening to the Wisdom of Others

Sometimes when people say things, they strike me really hard, and I have to visit them over and over again in my mind to fully understand the implications they may have for huge impact on my personal growth. As I’m learning to listen more and talk less (which has been a dysfunctional need to be desperately heard after lifetime of being silenced) insights into the beauty of others experience has been profoundly impactful.

A coffee date with a new friend yielded this gem: “the best thing my mother ever told me was to bring your whole self into a relationship”. (Not an exact quote, but I think pretty close).

As a person who has always given to the detriment of myself in my career and personal life, this has been a hole in my dealing with others and perhaps I’m on piece 996 of a 1000 piece puzzle as to why my relationships with everyone have been so fractured.

I wanted to save everyone as a means to save myself. I haven’t been bringing my whole self into relationships. I’ve brought my wounded and damaged and emotionally immature self into relationships. It was one that was broken and in fixing the broken of others, my broken would be fixed too. Broken people can’t fix other broken people. I jumped two feet into help others, got overwhelmed, and had to back out completely leaving us both hurt. Many broken people bringing their fractured selves have done this to me as well, leading me to believe I was the damaged one. The truth is, people can’t come together in their damage unless one party is cognizant and clear in their boundaries.

My whole self is going to work on going into relationships. My hurt and wounded self can come too, but my strong, adult identity who knows she has done huge healing to wholeness and exhibits emotional maturity is coming to steer the ship. My hurt little girls inside can be there too as they need to see safe relationships in action, but it is my healthy self that can form relationships, not just a bunch of my damaged being.

No one can fix me. I can’t fix anyone else. I’m learning I can support others in their healing, but with a lot of healthy boundaries in knowing what is mine and what is theirs. I can also invite people to actually love and care about me. I deserve to be cared about beyond what i can just give others.

Some people will call this healing from codependency or people pleasing or exercising healthy boundaries. I’m seeing it as a way for me to form lasting friendships that don’t end in chaos and confusion. As much as I’ve been rejected for being #toomuch, I’ve rejected others for the same reason. Trying to fix others is overwhelming and we get mired in it to the point we have to disappear.

I don’t know if I fully expressed properly the impact of the concept of “bringing your whole self” has brought to me, but I hope anyone who has a pathological tendency to help others will reflect. It’s really been huge as I’ve contemplated it for several days. I also was able to catch myself jumping to save someone once again this week that would have ended in disaster had I not realized my whole self wasn’t operating. I genuinely saved myself a ton of personal distress over this one that I’ll write about another time. I also saved her distress too.

Today and everyday, I’m going to work on bringing my whole self into relationships. All of me can go forth. All of me deserves it.



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