Outer strength comes from inner love

Here is a phenomenon I see quite often: people who seem to have it all together, then wither under one critical comment. Despite their success if someone criticizes their work or disagrees with them, they feel threatened and destroyed to the core.

For a long time I was one of them. No one would consider me a wimp! I had successfully reached every goal I set for myself. I had letters after my name. But underneath all that, even the gentlest criticism killed me. And I was scared to ask for what I really wanted.

Constructive criticism wasn’t the problem – we need to see room for improvement so we can change and grow. No. In this case, I was the problem.

At my core, I felt I didn’t deserve anything without earning it the hard way. I assumed sinister motives if someone was good to me just because they liked me or LOVED me.

Brene Brown showed us through her work that you can only love as deeply as you are willing to let yourself be loved.

That’s a hard nut to crack for many of us. We simply haven’t learned how to graciously receive. We start fighting for no good reason, we brush people off, we suspect people’s motives.

Receiving without an agenda makes us feel vulnerable. We think we need to reciprocate or pay it back somehow. It’s very hard to accept a gift without exchanging one in return. Or hear “I love you” without feeling you need to say “I love you too.”

Actually, to receive means you have to let down your shield. You have to stop fighting.

And that is the secret behind why it’s so hard for most of us to simply ‘receive’. Fighting is what allows us the illusion of control! This is what it comes down to: Control. Unconsciously we equal control with safety. Especially if we’re not used to feeling safe, if we never got the message “you are enough, you are wanted, and all is well.”

No wonder our bodies reflect this mindset. We receive a gift, or a suggestion and we are immediately suspicious. Our fighting mind kicks in. And in the body it shows up as constant constipation since childhood, or bladder and kidney issues.

The good news? We grow up and learn we can take care of ourselves. Hopefully we learn to understand and feel what we weren’t able to as a child. Eventually we can stop fighting and take off our armor.

Is it easy? No. Can we talk our way out of it through therapy? I’m not convinced that we can. We learn through first hand experiences. We need to feel it in our heart. We need to know deep inside that we a have a choice. We need to let ourselves be loved, we have to accept love, receive love, in order to heal ourselves and love others.

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  • Stuart

    An appropriate read for me right now – “unconsciously we equate control with safety”.

    Oh so true 🙂

    • Dr. Tiny Jaentsch


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