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Reclaiming Our Vitality

Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Conscious Living, Relationships & Sex with 0 Comments

Jack Adam Weber | Wake Up World

Our wholeness is our joy, our thriving, our passion, our enjoyment of and creative service to life. Yet, we lose essential aspects of our wholeness in ways that we would least expect. Here I will discuss how denial and hurtful experiences work together to stymie our experience of thriving.

When we are hurt by others, we will often disavow (reject) in ourselves the qualities that hurt us, until we heal that wound. For example, if I have been hurt by another’s anger, I might vow not to be angry and thereby deny anger in myself. But, when I deny my anger, I also deny the ways it can be used to help and to protect myself and others. These life-affirming “ways” I call the vital qualities embedded in an emotion or experience.

The vital qualities associated with anger include assertiveness, courage, appropriate control of one’s world, an ability to establish healthy “boundaries,” to say “no,” to speak up for ourselves, the ability to effect change, as well fight against injustice in the world. When we deny anger in ourselves, we often will also deny these positive, life-giving, vital qualities that the collective energy of anger embraces. In other words, we throw the vitality-rich “babies” out with the hurtful “bathwater” of anger.

When I deny anger, its power becomes part of my shadow self, and remains unusable. When I have shunned anger, not only do I miss out on anger’s assets, but this denied anger will often act out unconsciously and violently, hurting others and myself, and diminish love in the world. When I reclaim and work through anger’s shadow and reclaim its vital qualities I increase my capacity to feel love and, unexpectedly, to act kindly.

Repressed anger also can squash our creativity and inspiration, leading to depression. Healing the disavowed aspects of our psyche, such as anger, is to claim the vitality and life-enhancing aspects of that quality and employ these vital qualities towards good.

Consider some other examples:

1) If I was overly controlled as a child, I might reject boundaries and assertiveness in my adult life, which can leave me less satisfied, less protected and cared for, and less productive and powerful. When I can work through the pain of having been controlled, I can heal my issues with control and use control to my and others’ benefit.

2) If I was denied attention and admiration as child and simultaneously experienced my parents to be more concerned with material wealth, I might shun the power and the many positive and sustainable benefits of making money, business acumen, competition, and developing a career. I might also lack assertiveness when focus, dedication, follow-through, and goal orientation are appropriate—all of which can leave me less satisfied, less healthy, and less fulfilled.

3) If I received less emotional nourishment than I needed and perceived my parents and other primary influences as intellectuals or “in their head” too much, I might come to reject intellectual pursuits, logic, planning, rationality, and critical thinking in unilateral favor of intuition, feelings, non-commitment, and “love.” Yet, love requires us to use our good minds in support of our hearts. By denying the boons of the mind, ironically, we deny our hearts.

4) If I my parents were not protective enough of me and gave me too much freedom, and this created difficulties and pain for me, I might “hate freedom.” I might grow up to shun freedom and overly control myself and others. I might find myself unable to set boundaries and be appropriately controlling of my children. I might justify this with all kinds of spiritual jargon, when in fact, children developmentally want and need to be appropriately controlled by their parents, as this is how they learn what is safe and what is not. Children rely on healthy, psychically balanced adults to help them find their way happily into adulthood.

One way to discover the vital qualities we have denied is to notice what qualities we find uncomfortable or intolerable in others. Do I have difficulty receiving another’s anger towards me, even when responsibly expressed by them and in proportion to the injury I caused? Is it difficult for me to be present to another’s grief? Am I unable to bear witness and feel compassion for another’s feelings of helplessness, despair, and fear? If so, this might mean that I am denying my own experience of these emotions. Do I cringe and find judgment in others’ freedom, responsibly expressed? Am I jealous of my girlfriend’s good relations with her family? If so, I might use these uncomfortable feelings as guideposts for how to grow a better life for myself.

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