The people described in this blog are composites of many different clients with whom I have worked. Names and identifying characteristics are fictitious, and any resemblance to a single person is coincidental.

Longing and limits

We are all vulnerable.

We long for so many things.  And often we can do a great deal toward making those things happen, but we do not 100% determine the outcome.  In the end other forces contribute to whether or not the medical test comes back positive, our love is returned, we spill the milk, our eyelids get saggy, the computer crashes, we catch a cold, our boss gives us a raise, our sweet peas flower, or whether we are happy in our new home…   Time, our genetics, the laws of physics, our immune system, the economy, other people, aging, technology, the weather, even our own emotions all play a role.  We are not the boss of all these forces and yet they, and many others, play a role in whether or not we get what we want.

There are limits to our control over the things we want, over the things that matter to us.  We can pretend that is not true and deny our vulnerability.  We can do that by denying our limits to control: overworking, fixing, controlling, “helping”, forcing, pushing, blaming ourselves and others..   Or we can deny our vulnerability by disconnecting from our want, pretending “it doesn’t matter” or “I don’t care”, or numbing ourselves to our deep desires.

Longing and limitsBut the fact of our limits to being able to singlehandedly secure a guaranteed outcome does not change just because we deny it.  Delusions of control do not actually mean we are in control.  Longing and want are a healthy part of us, whether we let ourselves feel it or not.  Desire is connected to our drive, to our motivation for growth.

And that truth feels very uncomfortable in our bodies.  We don’t like what it feels like to not be able to make things be the way we want, to be vulnerable to forces outside our control.  Our sympathetic nervous system gets charged up and we have the urge to avoid what we are feeling.

And that is totally normal.  Our urge to avoid the discomfort of vulnerability is simply wired into us.  It is part of being human.

So many people sacrifice their real selves just so as not to feel the discomfort of their feelings.  When they tune in they feel the quiver of tension and the flutter of agitation and they conclude something bad is happening.  But nothing bad is happening.

If you really want to know yourself you really need to feel.  If you really want to be yourself, you need to be able to tolerate the physical feeling of tension and agitation that is your body’s way of saying you are vulnerable.  If you really want to grow you need to do the hard work of approaching yourself in the discomfort of your vulnerable human limits and love yourself there.

You are so worth it.

Photo Credit:  DeeBee

Dr. Sandra Parker, copyright 2009 - Dr. Sandra Parker. The stories & quotes in this blog are fictional. Creative commons attribution, non-commercial sharing only.
(translation: feel free to quote me in context or use this entry but please always credit me for my work, thanks.)

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