Time for a Re-Frame

We-may-overcompensateThe feeling that you have no power over your life or your circumstances can be crushing. Doubting your ability to have an impact on the world around you, feeling you’re defeated before you’ve begun or that you are somehow to blame, that some deep part of you is simply unlovable, these are all beliefs that can make it very hard to act on your own behalf. If you grew up in an unsafe environment then this may be part of your wiring. We usually seek the familiar even if what we know is abuse or neglect. If it’s familiar, it feels like home, and we all want to be able to count on something. The devil you know is better than the one you don’t, or something like that. As a result, there are people who’ve known nothing but abuse. Who truly believe the world is an unsafe place and you can’t count on anyone, that people will let you down, or leave, or hurt you when you need them to love you, when you need that with all your heart. You can only know what you know, after all. Your frame of reference is what it is.

The thing is, sometimes the frame is really bent. So bent, the glass has bubbled in places and when you look through those raised parts, everything is blurry. Sometimes the glass has cracked and you see two realities, one right on top of another and it’s hard to figure out which one is the real one. Sometimes the glass has shattered in places and you can get these small glimpses of the truth, tiny portals into other worlds that you can almost feel and want to believe are real.

What I can tell you is that you are worthy of love. You’re made of love, that to me is fairly obvious. We come into this world and we need to be held and dressed and fed and rocked and sung to, even if the person caring for us can’t carry a tune. We need connection and affection and to know that how we feel matters. If you’ve never had any support for those feelings, if the people who were supposed to love you weren’t able to do that due to their own limitations (and perhaps, their own history of abuse), it’s not easy to wrap your head around the simplest ways of taking care of yourself. The idea of caring for yourself might never have crossed your mind. I meet adults all the time who have no idea what makes them happy, what lights them up, what they want to do with their time or energy. Sometimes people are stunned just to find someone is listening to them. Someone is asking questions about who they are and what they want and how they feel. You matter. You, reading this, if there’s any doubt in your mind, you matter. Your thoughts, the way you move through the world, your smile, your tears, your ability to love and to be loved, it all matters.

When you feel small and insignificant and like the world is a cold and dangerous place, it’s perfectly natural to want to order it, to try to make sense out of chaos, but you can’t control other people, nor do you want to try. You can’t manage what another person will do, say, feel or want. You can only keep your own side of the street clean. That’s your power. You can manage how you show up, and what you do or say. There’s a lot of strength in that, and that’s something to hold onto if you’re feeling like you’re somehow invisible. You have as much right to love and respect as anyone else. Rage is an understandable feeling if you were not loved the way you needed to be or deserved to be; there are few things more painful than believing you’re unlovable. That’s enough to make anyone lash out, or try to control — to keep people around by bending over backwards, by putting their needs and wants above your own to an unhealthy degree, to selling yourself and trying to be exactly what other people need, instead of simply, your gorgeous, true self.

The world is a beautiful, complex, often painful place to be, but the other thing that exists here, other than suffering which is part of being human, is the potential to explore your capacity to love. Your frame may be bent or broken. Your glass may be foggy but there are all these methods available for unbending your frame, or building a whole new one from scratch. Eventually, if you do the work to heal and tap into that limitless well of love you have within you, you won’t need a frame at all. Or glass. You’ll just be moving from love, and that opens a whole new world to you.

Sending you love, as always,

Ally Hamilton

3 thoughts on “Time for a Re-Frame”

  1. as rich as ever this article! You always hit the nail on the head. I just turned 47, am trying to get out of a 10 year relationship that now he is saying he didn’t mean to try and end. Something keeps me hanging on to as much as I want out. I believe it is the belief of being unloveable which has woven thru many themes in my life.
    I would love to tips on the methods of unbending the frame or building a new one! please tell me where to go and what to do! I don’t want to turn 48 still reacting and replaying these ond tapes and stories that have held me hostage for most my life!!

    1. I would say the tools you need to unbend your frame are really personal. For me, a consistent yoga practice (6 days a week) and seated meditation, along with journaling and reading books like, “Comfortable with Uncertainty”, and, “When Things Fall Apart”, both by the beautiful Pema Chodron really helped. Hiking, getting out in nature, spending time with good friends…all these things are nurturing and strengthening. A great therapist is also a very good way to go. If you need help with the yoga part, I can give you a free 10-day trial to my online classes. If you need referrals for therapists, I know a few who work online. If you’d like more reading suggestions, let me know. Really, if you focus on healing yourself, the rest will fall into place. You won’t want to participate in relationships that break you when you’re busy making yourself whole. Sending you a huge hug. Ally

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