Our survival maps get activated and we feel like we NEED someone else to validate us in order for us to allow ourselves to know what we know and then have permission to act on it. But what happens if we don’t reach out to a healthy tribe?
What if the person we are looking to has a vested interest in the outcome? For example, suppose I was thinking of a career change, but that career change would mean a significant, though hopefully temporary, drop in income. If I go to my partner to discuss the issue, my partner may have some clear biases against my career change because it affects their lifestyle. Now I might spend all of my energy trying to CONVINCE them that I am making the right choice, and I’ll feel miserable until my partner comes around (something that might never happen).
The alternative is to focus on “what are we going to do since I feel I need to do this, and you have concerns”, instead of flip flopping between trying to change their experience/ opinion or ours.
What if the person we are looking to is dangerous in some way? Emotionally or maybe even physically. If we are looking to them to validate our suspicions about them having an affair, or to admit they have a problem drinking or anger issues, or that they are emotionally unavailable, we may be waiting for a long time.
As I mentioned, it makes sense that when we are stressed or facing new challenges, we seek validation from our tribe, but…
What happens when it isn’t from healthy tribe?
- We get “confused“- we get lost in our head, try to to make them “see our point” (convince them). This also makes us question if we are “crazy” and fills us with self-doubt! We often start to really question our own beliefs and try to change our own experience or opinion to fit the other persons’. For those of you who have been here, you know it is exhausting to pretend we believe one thing when everything in us KNOWS something different.
- We feel weak– we pretend we don’t know something we do (unconsciously- but we still feel weaker), and we invest our energy into trying to change someone else’s experience vs focusing on our own. It makes sense that we feel weaker, we are actually pushing our energy AWAY from us and our experience.
- We detach– when we connect to our experience and it is rejected or dismissed, detaching is one of the solutions. It can even be in a situation as seemingly minor as when a parent (or partner) consistently makes excuses when they yell or swear and are called out by their kid (or spouse). It teaches the kid (or spouse) not to trust their experience and that acting on it gets them rejected because the parent (or partner) gets angry. Then the child (or spouse) starts to automatically detach, especially when it comes to that parent/person.
- We self-sabotage– a great way to avoid noticing and acting on what we know we need to do is by messing things up in our own life and beating ourselves up for it. This can be by DOING things we know we are NOT good for us (i.e. over-eating, promiscuity, binge drinking etc) or by NOT DOING the things that are good for us, like getting to bed at a reasonable hour or getting our work done in time. We will often STOP doing things that are good for us even when we have been on a roll when faced with difficult situations where we don’t have the support of our tribe.
- We distract ourselves – this can be with alcohol, sex, drugs, work, shopping, smoking, focusing on things we can’t control or other people’s opinions etc. They are ways we give the power to things outside of us to regulate our emotions and when we are distracting, we are NOT FEELING or CONNECTING to our own experience (Externalizing). Sometimes we combine self sabotage and externalizing by releasing just enough of our frustration or anger out in destructive damaging ways and stuffing the rest.
If the above sounds disturbingly familiar, ask yourself “Who is the boss in this relationship right now? How much of my power (my sense of self worth and confidence) do I have, and how much do they have?”
If you recognized yourself in the descriptions above, AND you don’t like where you are at, there are 3 things you can do…
- Amplify your connection to your strong and healthy self – Do the things that are most energizing for you, this can be anything from listening to music, walking in nature, writing in a journal, or dancing it out!
- Meditate or practice being present – it is much more difficult to ignore our own experience and innate wisdom about what is our healthiest next step when we are present and engaged in our own lives. Remember you can do this even if you are not ready to be present with particular feelings that are coming up too, just be present with the other things, like your physical space (use Grounding for example).
- Use Anchoring– focus on a time you felt really strong and connected to your strong and healthy self and once you feel connected to that experience, ask yourself what your healthiest next step is. Sometimes it helps to use POWER POSING when doing this.
Have a great week!
Also the meditations from this month’s boosters are up on the meditation page- Enjoy!