It’s safe to say that very few of us intentionally set out to be unhappy or in pain. We all inherently want to feel happy, to experience meaningful relationships and lead fulfilling lives. And yet so many of us subconsciously sabotage our potential joy without even realising it. As bizarre as it may sound, we may feel pain comforting.
Never is this more apparent than in people who encountered negative emotional experiences or trauma in early life. We very quickly adapt to our environments and our early years provide us with the blueprint of what to expect from life. If our homeplace is a place of consistent love and security, we grow up believing the world to be similar. However, if our care is inconsistent or if we experience trauma, then the expectations and beliefs we develop for the world pain a very different picture. We associate conflict and turmoil as the norm and become accustomed to feeling wary and defensive. We create methods of survival and although they serve a purpose in our youth, they can often be maladaptive in adult life and can seriously impact on our ability to navigate healthy relationships with both ourselves and with others.
Despite our seemingly best efforts to shake off our past, we can be subconsciously drawn to people and situations that re-create it. We wonder why the same patterns repeat, oblivious to the significant role we play in our own demise and the level to which we identify with suffering. And ironically, when we do find ourselves in stable, secure relationships and situations, we unwittingly find excuses for conflict or imagined rejection. Turmoil and pain are like a safety blanket; a familiar place where at least we have no expectations of anything different. Our self-limiting beliefs and emotional dysregulation drive dysfunctional actions, creating and maintaining a micro-chasm of chaos.
Our past however, need not be a life sentence. With the right guidance and healing, we can find acceptance for who we are and create awareness of the coping mechanisms and self-sabotage techniques we have carried with us. We can understand ourselves compassionately and learn new ways in which to interact with the world. We can tackle our perceptions and expectations and change how we view our reality. We cannot erase our history however we can reduce the confinements it places on our innate right to a fulfilling, joyful existence. Healing is a lifelong process however harmonious, purposeful living is entirely possible with the correct level of commitment, attention and intention
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