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Taking Responsibility for Your Healing

Your partner can work hard at earning your trust and helping you feel safe, letting you know your needs are important and can be met, encouraging your authenticity, supporting your autonomy, and giving you a sense of being heard and seen and accepted for who you are.  However, no amount of work on your partner's side can make you take it in and heal the wounds around these core needs.

If you are not doing your part in this, your partner may become hopeless and tired over time having a sense that her or his efforts are in vain.  This reaction in your partner may exacerbate your sense of hurt around particular needs, which becomes a downward spiral for you both.

Your work in taking responsibility for your own healing is to first identify where you need healing.  Let's say you identify the last one in the list above, being seen and heard and accepted for who you are, as a place you need healing.  You were able to identify this because of the type of reactivity and patterns in which you see yourself.  Here are some common patterns you might have identified with wounding around these particular needs:

§       You often think your partner is judging you.

§       You often feel defensive.

§       You frequently argue over the exact details of an event and how you remember it.

§       You seek attentiveness and acceptance through drama (this means often being in crisis, wearing attention getting clothes, or often expressing in a loud emphatic way).

§       You seek attentiveness and acceptance through productivity (this means pushing to achieve at the cost of the rest of your life, criticizing yourself about being perfect, and seeing life as a competition).

Becoming aware of this particular need for healing and the ways it shows up in your life, you can begin to be proactive.  You start by mindfully noticing all the times that your are seen, heard, and accepted for who you are.

Just as a part of you has a habit of looking at the world through your wounding (all the ways you are not seen, heard, and accepted), you engage a part of you who does the opposite.  I'm not talking about positive affirmations.  I'm talking about looking for the actual experiences when these needs are met.  You want to catch others seeing and accepting you for who you are.

Notice exactly how you know the other is offering genuine listening and acceptance.  Is it in someone's tone of voice, a smile, a question about something important going on for you, an invitation to join in, a warm hug, a simple "that's okay" in response to a mistake?

Then you slow down and notice how you take that in or don't.  Where do you block the receiving of this healing.  Maybe you say to yourself, "Yea, but she didn't really mean it. Or He was just being polite." This is your wounding talking.  Name this for what it is and notice how it keeps you stuck in hurt.

For healing, feel exactly what it feels like to have these needs met.  What happens in your body?  Where do you relax and expand?  How does your posture change?  What emotion comes up?  How does your energy shift?

Engage a new voice of healing that names your actual experience, e.g., "You really got me just then.  Or Thanks for seeing me.  Or You really do accept me in this. Or  I am accepted here." Hearing you say these things out loud your partner's need for collaboration is met.  She or he gets to see how you are working at receiving the offering of acceptance.

Let's summarize taking responsibility for your healing in five steps:

1.  Notice where you need healing.  You can usually identify this by looking at these categories:

§       Trust & Safety

§       Support in meeting needs

§       Authenticity:  It's okay to be vulnerable.

§       Autonomy:  You can choose and still be loved.

§       Being Heard/Seen and Accepted:  You don't have to work to be seen and loved.

2.  Notice the exact reactivity that points to a need for healing around meeting specific needs.

3.  Notice when this need is met.

4.  Bring mindful awareness to how you receive the nourishment of a need met and how you block that receiving. v 5.  State the fact of the met need to yourself and others.

Take a moment now to work through all five steps by recalling a recent relevant experience.

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4 Responses

  1. Mar 12, 2011
    Martha McMurry

    Well, that really hit the nail on the head. Thank you very much for having me on your email list.


  2. Mar 13, 2011

    I have a reaction to the comment that there is something needing healing in people who wear "dramatic clothes". I find it subjective, judgemental and therefore lacking in clarity. To me the only thing I could think that would be dramatic clothes would be ones that would indicate that some drama had taken place - eg sporting fresh blood stains. However this seems so unlikely that I cannot imagine that this is what you meant. So to give some specific examples as questions - is a woman wearing brightly coloured ikat-striped cloth turban and dress in Stokholm wearing dramatic clothing? Is a woman wearing long sleeves, headscarf and skirt in a mediterranean resort being dramatic? Is a man who wears bow ties or braces to the office rather than tieless shirts being dramatic? What about a different working uniform - at least one mother locally often turns up to the school gates wearing very high wellingtom boots in dry weather (because she has come straight from work in oyster processing). Its striking, albeit not colourful. Another mother who is a dressmaker often comes wearing her own creations, quite unlike anything available in manufactured goods - eg dresses where the skirt buttons to a drop bodice, or using beautiful painted or decorated fabrics. Is she being dramatic?

    Is wearing dramatic clothing something to do with standing out or being different, or wearing clothes that are too tailored or too bright or too decorative, maybe even too utilitarian? If so, it does not meet my need for respect, celebration, creativity, authenticity, acceptance, beauty, contribution to the enrichment of life and appreciation.

    What if someone only wears "dramatic clothing" where no one else can see - eg when alone, or
    under a bukkha? Does that require healing too?

    Maybe I have misunderstood what you mean, so I would appreciate some clarity.

  3. Mar 14, 2011

    Yea, I wondered about using that phrase so I am glad you asked. It was meant to be a part of a whole set that goes to together in a particular kind of reactivity. Of course it doesn't mean that whatever someone would consider "dramatic cloths" necessarily is a sign of that reactivity. All we observe needs to be considered within a context. Bold bright clothing may just as easily be a celebration of color and aliveness or as you mention a part of a particular culture.

    I hope this helps clarify. Let me know if you have more questions.

  4. Mar 16, 2011
    Laurel Crissman

    I so appreciate your explanation of these specific steps to healing and using a concrete example in doing so.


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