Are You Supposed To Be Able To Do It All?

Have you ever had the thought that you are supposed to know how to be able to do it all? I know I have, and client I’ve worked with, they have too. One client recently came to me with the acknowledgment that at work they experienced so much pressure to do something, yet not being given the guidance or the instructions on how to go about the task. The pressure in that experience was building up inside that escalates into panic.
When we get activated like that it’s our sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight, can kick in and we can get more easily triggered when that happens. We can become more reactive; take things personally, project onto others that they are being passive aggressive or predatorily aggressive towards us.
We can feel emotionally fragile and not dare to show that, especially at work. What we do is to stuff it down and put on a mask, acting as if everything is okay. Then, when we get alone, we can either rage, or scream, or cry. But only in private, because we have underlying beliefs around how we are supposed to show up, and what we are supposed to be able to do. It’s all the should’s and the have’s and supposed to’s that are running our life, and, it’s not serving us.
So, working with this person, we slowed down time, to come into the heart to notice what were the sensations and emotions that were alive in the body, as they reflected upon their experience. It started out with a little impatience that led to a sense of panic as a memory surfaced of being just a seven-year-old child and being asked to do something that they didn’t know how to do. When they said they didn’t know how to do it, the big person in their life got really frustrated with them and said, “Well, just do it!” That’s not helpful for a seven-year-old child.
So, slowing that experience down even more is so important, to be able to drop in and hear that child self, who said, “I didn’t know what to do. There was no where to turn.” Thus, the shadow beliefs that were created were, “I’m a problem. It’s my fault. I’m inadequate. I’m powerless, and I can’t show how I feel, or I make it worse.” Just slowing down to be with that inner experience and acknowledging how that mapped out in this person’s life as they grew and matured.
They would always try to find a direction. They kept seeking an answer by looking outside of themselves. They wouldn’t ask for help until they would get to the point where they would just give up and simply shut down. This is a learned helplessness. It is not something that happens on purpose it’s something that happens from the shadows.
Bringing in some warmth and some compassionate understanding with resonate language and time-travel to this child self. To sit with her right where she is. We sprinkle some imaginary fairy dust, putting a big bubble around the ‘big one’ and have them move off to the side. Any others that are there, maybe just like the Wizard of Oz, we can use poppies to have everybody fall asleep. This creates a safe container to explore with the child self.
Just taking time to be with her and acknowledge with empathy, “Are you needing some accompaniment? And maybe some acknowledgement what it feels like inside when there is that panic, and no where to turn and no one to talk to? Are you needing warmth and gentleness?” Then sitting right there, with the child, so she can feel, that she’s not alone. This is an experience that the body needs.
Through this process, of taking the time that’s needed, the time the child was never given to begin with, there is a whole new possibility that emerges. The child self learns that the more that they learn, the more they will not know, and that’s okay and normal. We can be okay that it gets messy and it seems as if it’s a mistake, but you know mistakes actually help us learn. We can learn we can move in a different direction, and we can experience what that’s like in the moment. Without judgement. We can stay curious. Curiosity is so important.
When you sit right there with the child self, in those uncomfortable emotions there is something rather magical that happens. With the resonance that builds between the nervous systems, especially when someone is holding that container with warmth and compassionate understanding, really getting that the child makes sense, that’s what emerges. The child self gets to receive their body’s wisdom and the person gets back in touch at a deeper level.
So, a practice, if this resonates with you, that you might explore; is to begin to notice and recognize your own patterns and how they link in with what you tell yourself. Those are your shadow beliefs. Then, take it one more step; notice how that feels in your body.

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