The pressure on us to be fine all the time is unrelenting. If we don’t find a way, in every way, to be fine then all hell might break loose. This is the message that we get from our culture: to be good at everything all the time. Its just easier to be fine and respond to all situations like everything is fine. But is it? And what exactly do we mean by ‘fine’?
Fine can be a response of resignation, meaning ‘don’t worry about me' ‘get the attention off of me’, ‘I can handle all of my own needs’ and ‘I don’t need or want anybody else’s help..and furthermore whenever I do ask for anyone else’s help I feel judged as weak or less than, so I would rather not bother.’
When we tell our child that their passive aggressive attitude towards us is fine, we give them the message that its ok to treat us like we don’t matter. But not only that…because we don’t have a boundary in place for our need to be respected, in our relationship, we bypass all the richness of who we really are. I’m guessing the child would love to know you if only they knew how to get past ‘its fine’.
Stripping off the Armor
We can only have our feelings heard and received when we are being open hearted enough to let in our true experience and stop blocking it with platitudes and compromises. We feel at our worst when our human dignity is violated and we feel our best when we feel valued and supported. Optimally, we have learned how to open up a healthy attachment avenue to take our relationship into a higher more creative form. Love needs space to roam and create. But old patterns and strategies that we have used to protect ourselves are blocking this love to cultivate and circulate.
So when we tell our loved one that something that they have done really doesn’t hurt us by responding with ‘its fine’ we are actually blocking the very opportunity to allow the person to feel what is truly happening for us.
Its kinda like we’ve been taught that if we expose our hurt, we’ll be exposing something as shameful to us as hate. We fear that if we tell the person we love that something they have said or done has impacted us and now we feel hurt from it that we don’t like them anymore or don’t need them anymore. Where did we get this from? How did we come to believe such an extreme perspective? We are usually feeling hurt because this action has triggered passed episodes where we have bypassed our feelings and now we have a wound.
Is There a Way Out?
It certainly isn’t always easy, but there is a fairly simple way to enter into our authentic experience.
First, we need to stop ourselves in our tracks, slow way down, notice our breath and say to ourselves, "what am I truly feeling here?” before we let out the dreaded ‘its fine.’ Once we learn this precise awareness we’re half way there. So many things arise that its difficult to address each time, so start with one a day. Once we have stopped ourselves, remember to have compassion and allow a gentle inquiry into your experience. See what is really there under the surface, what you are hiding, lean into feeling vulnerable. Its new so it takes time. Allow yourself the time. Remain with the feelings without distracting or escaping.
Remember that you are safe even if its painful. When you are ready, address the person with your true feelings and tell them you have felt this way for some time but you were afraid that they might not understand. You may tell them that you feel its healthier for your relationship to share with them what is truly going on for you. The person may be shocked because they have always known you to be someone who wasn’t attentive to their feelings. Allow them the same spaciousness to feel the shock, aggravation or whatever it is that they are feeling. If possible, when you are finished sharing, hug one another and thank each other for allowing such openness to be a part of your relationship.
If you are in a relationship with a narcissist this practice will be quite difficult. Because you are already their target and even with their best acting they won’t be able to stop you from seeing how disinterested they are in truly knowing the real you, not the you they have projected you to be. This is a good thing because it can swiftly expose the game they are engaging you in and you will feel motivated to now do something about it. You may need the right type of support to help you to move forward.
As you continue to bring authentic awareness to your experience each day you will begin to feel empowered about who you truly are and trust me, you won’t be sorry!
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