Befriending Depression

Learning to play all the keys of our heart’s piano

We all have times of feeling low. It helps to understand what these are saying. Since we haven’t listened to and resolved our little depressions, we don’t know how to process our big ones. As we learn to love ourselves more fully, we need to do for ourselves what wasn’t done for us. We are empowered as we come to accept who we really are.

We all know from our own (and others’) depression, that there is no magical ‘quick fix’. Continue reading Befriending Depression

Feel the Fear and Give it Containment

Often we identify with the feelings we have and make them so part of our identity that we can’t separate from them.  We say, for example, ‘I am angry,’ or ‘I am fearful,’ instead of, ‘Sometimes I experience anger or fear.’  We shape our thoughts, and receive them from others, but we are not our thoughts and feelings.  We need to take responsibility for every feeling.  They should not be our masters, but be our servants.

We often associate with having fear negatively.  We see it as something that we need to control and get rid of.  But all our feelings, including fear, are important messengers.  Continue reading Feel the Fear and Give it Containment

Anxiety From Assumptions

We have each developed patterns of behaviour in order to ensure our feeling of belonging.  Rejection is what we fear the most, but we compromise ourselves a lot in order to avoid this.  If we wait for others to validate and define us, we disempower ourselves and lose our sense of who we are.  No one can do for us what we need to do for ourselves, for if we struggle to love ourselves, how can anyone else?

The emotional landscape we experienced as children profoundly affected us.  Continue reading Anxiety From Assumptions

Loneliness or Aloneness

In order to become aware of the inner patterns and guiding images we all carry, we need to stop and look.  This will need times of being alone with ourselves in order to grow in wholeness.  This is essential so that we can also be there for others.  This aloneness is a transformative, ‘pregnant’ waiting.  It is not the same as loneliness, which carries with it feelings of lack, desperation and incompleteness.  We dare not postpone living, waiting for our dream to materialize and for our present life to pass.  This invitation to deepen intimacy with God and ourselves is done reverently, but not without fear.  Indeed, intimacy implies this as ‘in timor’ means ‘into fear.’ Continue reading Loneliness or Aloneness

What are we living for? What are we dying for?

It’s easy to see ourselves as not yet complete while we wait for that special thing or person to appear in our lives. We delay living fully until all the puzzle pieces fit. We so need to open our hearts to see what’s really going on. Have we closed down inside in order to survive? Has our hope of life getting any better died? Are we simply surviving, just daily using our energy only to manage humdrum tasks and solve problems? It’s not that these aren’t necessary, but are they taking first place?
Continue reading What are we living for? What are we dying for?

Dreams We Carry

Negotiating expectations in relationships

Growing up too compliant and obedient can undermine our need to become a separate person. If we’ve had to ‘be this…’ then it means we haven’t become our true selves. This attraction to sameness in order to be accepted is a trap and each of us has to take the risk of becoming our authentic self, trusting that we will still be liked. Like an acorn that has within it the complete blueprint of a massive tree, so too we carry the amazing design God has put in us. We can trust that this picture in us is good and life-giving. Continue reading Dreams We Carry

Carriers of a Dream

Discovering God’s blueprint of who we bring to relationships

Each of us has been designed uniquely by our Creator. As the architect of a house creates a plan, so too, God the Master Architect has a blueprint in His heart for us. Whether we’re married or not, He invites us to trust His wisdom and love to guide us in the hard but worthwhile risk of becoming ourselves. Continue reading Carriers of a Dream

Singleness & Autonomy

All of us have been taught to conform to our social systems, institutions and norms instead of trusting who we are as totally unique and amazing creatures. We have listened far more to the outside voice than to our own inner reality. Our need for acceptance is so strong that we struggle constantly with feeling inadequate.

We need to find true, life-giving, guiding images to help us in our quest to become our whole and authentic selves. It’s very important to do this work, to discover and retrieve the parts of ourselves that have been stolen away. Marriage in our society is often spoken about as “finding our other half.” But in reality, unless we have done our inner work, and are two whole people coming together to make a whole union, it will simply be two half people making half a marriage.

All of us have a hidden, shadow self that we need to come to know, to embrace and accept in order to bring our full selves to the world. We need to come into right relationship with ourselves in order to be able to give our whole selves to another. We can’t put our needs at someone else’s door and expect them to be able to meet them. It’s our job, not theirs. In a fulfilling relationship both people are working on their own transformation. Each has much to share and as life stories are compared, both are enriched. For this to happen, it is crucial that both people are wanting to look.

Let’s now reflect on the dreams we carry for our future. These need to be ‘earthed’ in our present reality so that they give us direction for how to live now. It’s important that hopes for new relationship, marriage and family don’t judge us and distract us. Phrases like, “If only…” and “when I’m…” can be paralysing. If we constantly look ahead then we may miss today’s reality. If we set a manageable relationship ‘horizon’ for ourselves the future is energising.

Authentic inner work can be very life-giving. Like creating a garden, the work is hard, but rewarding and often we have to trust that the secret life will manifest. If there’s been no struggle, we will remain shallow. Our relationship with ourselves will always be our ongoing, long-term relationship.

This reflection is from the Sans Pareil Session on Monday 5 October 2015. For details on upcoming events, click here.

If you have a friend who may benefit from this, feel free to share the URL address with them.

Sign up to our newsletter to receive free weekly reflections from Sergio and Elizabeth and the relating team.

tools for real relationships