I recently saw the post below on Facebook. It was written by Melanya Helene from www.thebrooklynbay.org.
Her words are powerful, and speak to why I do this work.
So much uncertainty…
“Sometimes life gives us more uncertainty than we feel we can handle. It takes a lot of confidence to keep going forward with our lives in the face of so much unknown. I used to think of confidence as a knowing-what-to-do. The feeling that you can’t go wrong and things will go your way…
I guess I’d like to feel that way. But more often I don’t know what to do. It’s hard to make decisions. I can see pretty clearly how things could go wrong and the very real possibility that I will not get what I want.
How do I move forward and not get stopped by doubt and fear?
I’ve been contemplating a different definition of confidence. Something like this:
Confidence in my own ability to meet whatever happens. Confidence in keeping my mind open and flexible and creative. Confidence that I can stay with difficult feelings and situations and emerge stronger and wiser.
The problem is that when I’m scared or feel thwarted – I lose this ability to stay open and curious. I get caught in protective mode and can only see a few
options – and they are primal ones – push through, lash out, hide, get away…
When this happens (and it can happen surprisingly often when you start paying attention) you literally lose access to some really important parts of your brain (prefrontal cortex for starts). When fear triggers us, we lose the part of us that is flexible, creative, caring… and your options get very limited.
We live much of our lives trying to avoid situations that scare us. We will do almost anything to stay away from certain feelings of fear and shame – that feeling of no-good-option.
This limits our lives. There are many things we can’t try, directions we can’t explore, risks we can’t take – if we have to stay away from certain intolerable feelings.
There is another way.
When we gently get to know our fear and shame – not to push past it or shove it aside – but really get to know these feelings and care about them, we start to be far less run by them. They become known to us, like old friends, and we can bring them with us as we move forward in our lives.
We all have certain feelings that seem intolerable. And these feelings shape our lives. But what makes them intolerable is not so much the feelings themselves, but the experience of being alone with those feelings.
Because we have always been alone with certain feelings.
When we receive care in these untouchable places… when we have the experience that someone is with us – really there – while we feel what seems intolerable, it gives us an amazing resiliency.
This kind of support leads to a kind of confidence that you will be okay when things don’t go ‘well’.
It lets you take risks and live your life fully.
Pretty powerful stuff.”