09 Dec The Meaning Someone Makes About What Happened Is More Meaningful Than The Content Of What Happened
So it’s not about what happened to you – although this can be useful… it’s really about what meaning you made about what happened to you.
Most suffering is a misunderstanding. What we experience, especially as children, happens on a body-conscious level. Our system makes a decision in an instant as an attempt to keep us safe. So the event itself is not as important, it’s the meaning we make of the situation that truly matters.
When I was growing up my mother wasn’t consistently around. Our brain is a meaning-making machine. We are constantly searching for signs of Love, Safety, and Belonging. Our very survival depends on it. As children, we are eager to be the source of the problem, so that we can have hope to be the source of the solution.
So on a body-conscious level, I thought that my mother had abandoned me because there was something wrong with me. See what the brain is doing there…something wrong with me means I can fix it and she’ll be around more. Since caregivers are responsible for our survival our nervous system relaxes when we know that they are around consistently.
Because she wasn’t there, my system made a decision that I was all alone and that my mother didn’t love me. Was that true? No. My mother loved me back then and loves me now. All parents love their children regardless of what the circumstances are in the family. She had a positive intention for not being around that was based on her own inner workings and circumstances. Does it matter that we know it wasn’t true? Nope. It doesn’t matter because that was the meaning that I made out of the situation.
Now if we were to travel with me through time, we’d see me reliving the experience of feeling abandoned or alone. Often you’ll see this show up in different types of relationships. Someone who felt abandoned as a baby or a toddler will likely choose a partner who will abandon them in one form or another. Why? Because they know they can survive this. Learning how to survive the feeling of being abandoned becomes an experience that they create over and over again. This is certainly true for me in a variety of ways. Our brain is pretty clever.
So how do you move through it so we can change the pattern? Well, it’s not enough to just know as an adult that your parent loves you. It’s the inner child that needs to know it. That’s where coaching techniques can come in. Many of us go from denial, then move right into forgiveneess. We skip the feelings part; this is often called spiritual bypassing. Don’t get me wrong, forgiveness is essential. But our body doesn’t forget so we need to go through all the steps otherwise that energy is stored within our body.
We need to go back and find out when they made that decision, not just the why, but the when they made that decision about themselves in the world to create lasting change. If we can get that one, where that imprint first happens, we can do some really deep, profound change work.
One of the reasons why this work is so magical is that we can do change work without needing to know the content of someone’s story. The story isn’t important, the feelings are.
Can you see how understanding this can be helpful in your journey? What pattern do you see repeating?