Sunday, November 29, 2009
On vulnerability ... and the "guru" problem
A few posts back, I wrote about strategies people use to avoid their own pain. You can read that article here.
I break a lot of taboos in the dating/coaching industry on a regular basis, and that is very intentional on my part. One of the biggest taboos that I break is revealing my own pain and sticking points, contemporaneously, as I'm working them out.
That's a taboo because most of the industry seems to believe that, to have credibility as a coach or healer, you must present an image of invulnerability. You must show people you have it all figured out.
I don't follow that rule. I don't say, oh yeah, way back when, I had this issue, but now all my problems are solved. The truth is that most of my problems ARE solved because I have unraveled them one by one (how else did I learn what I'm teaching), but it wouldn't be very authentic of me to pretend that they all are.
What I would much rather do is live by example. The way that I solved most of my problems is by going through the exact process that I reveal on this blog day in and day out. Being vulnerable enough to acknowledge my anger and grief, move through the messiness that came up, maybe end up feeling embarrassed and sheepish and surprised (like, "wow, I was not really angry at that person but rather at myself"), and finally come out on the other side to bliss again.
One of the wonderful things about Emotional Freedom Technique is that it allows us to bring all this messiness to the surface in a gentle way and clear it out quickly. But to be good at EFT, we need to be fully accepting of the messiness. We don't judge anger and grief. We allow them to be there until they are fully released. We honor the purpose they served in our life.
This is why, during an EFT session, I am there WITH you. Guiding you and opening your mind and heart, to be sure, but not judging you. Not holding myself above you. I see myself in you because we are all connected at a spiritual level. That's why so many of my clients say that I can feel their feelings and think their thoughts right along with them. Know Thyself, and you will know everyone else, too.
(This is, incidentally, what I look for in men nowadays, too. Is he strong enough to hold all of my emotions without judging me or himself? We all want someone strong enough to help us become our best self.)
Seeing oneself or others as a "guru" is not particularly helpful for this process. If we are acting as if someone else is "perfect," then we expect them to teach us some form of perfection, which is an illusion. How is a "perfect" person going to show us how to love and accept all of ourselves, in all our messiness? How is a "perfect" person going to help us feel comfortable with intimacy? How is a "perfect" person going to do anything other than show us more strategies for avoiding pain? Strategies that don't work long term.
We don't ever need to put anyone above or below us. It's not helpful. We are all equal, even if in the present moment, we recognize that someone has the capacity to teach us something or be our guide for a while on our journey.
Relatedly, here's another way many people are avoiding their own pain: when they hear someone else's pain or issue, they immediately judge that person as "less than" themselves. They attempt to create distance between themselves and their own pain by putting distance between themselves and the other person. They label the other person as "damaged," "needy," "self-absorbed," or "manipulative."
This does not work long-term. If someone has appeared in your life -- and especially if they are PERSISTENTLY appearing -- they are there to teach you something. We criticize in others what we don't like (and don't want to own) in ourselves.
The way this stuff gets healed is to start noticing our reaction. Instead of saying, "that person has so much pain, I am so much farther along than him/her," (hierarchical thinking), we start saying, "yes, now that I look deeper into myself, I can see my own pain or issues reflected in that person."
This is why I no longer subscribe to the "cut negative people out of your life" conventional wisdom. When we heal the negativity in ourselves, one of two things will happen: either the other person will disappear from our lives without us doing anything at all, or -- even more miraculously -- the other person will change before our eyes.
This is all part of doing the Shadow work that I talked about a few days ago.
Turn away if you like. Disown the part of yourself that is standing before your eyes. But you'll only be prolonging your own healing process by doing that.
If we are not brave enough to get messy, we are not going to get healed. If we don't get ourselves healed (and, yes, *everyone* needs healing), then we are not accessing our full power. And I'm here to tell you, the power that we are not yet accessing is ENORMOUS.
Are you going to try to be neat and tidy and perfect today? Are you going to be superior and judge others? Or are you going to revel in your own and others' messiness and gain access to powers you didn't even realize you had? I know which one I'm going to choose ...
So today I am setting an intention to embrace my own and other people's messiness, in all its beauty and glory. Here's to seeing every single brother and sister on this planet as a part of our own holy Self. :)
Here are some testimonials from clients I've coached using this style. If you'd like to sign up for a session, go here.