What is true is already so.
Owning up to it doesn't make it worse.
Not being open about it doesn't make it go away.
And because it's true, it is what is there
to be interacted with.
~ Eugene Gendlin
Frequently humans act like ostriches, sticking their heads in the sand to not see, think or feel something difficult or unpleasant. In the moment, this may seem to be a good option (often made at an unconscious or sub-conscious level) as it may be extremely daunting or painful to face an external situation or an inner conflict.
You may successfully avoid dealing with something for a while, but eventually it will have to be faced one way or another. It will eventually have to be confronted, felt, dealt with and processed. Even if you don't make a conscious decision to do so, in the end, it will find a way to get your attention, often by disrupting your life in a way you can no longer ignore.
A common coping mechanism for not dealing with things that feel like they will be too much is to compartmentalize them. This means that you literally put this situation, memory or relationship and accompanying feelings in an internal compartment; you lock it securely in the hopes that it can be safely left there and will no longer threaten to cause you suffering.
However, since this compartment is within you and not an actual safe deposit box, its contents are under pressure and will leak out or burst through, triggered by a situation, thought, or feeling. This often happens at a highly inconvenient time, and is usually more painful or has more consequences than if you had faced it in the first place!
So I encourage you to find the courage to face whatever is troubling you, or whatever situation you find yourself in. As Gendlin says above, owning up to it won't make it worse and not facing it doesn't make it go away. It is something to be worked with and processed. The only way out is through.
Call me for a free phone consultation
if you would like some help facing what is true
When we are loved we
are afraid love will vanish.
When we are alone we are
afraid love will never return.
~ Audre Lorde
Love is a precious feeling and experience. It is (in the best of cases) the first thing you experienced as a baby with, from and for your caregivers, a feeling that helped you, in your state of total dependence, to feel safe in the world. Yet throughout childhood, you inevitably felt some degree of loves loss, in ways big and/or small. There are smaller ways like not being seen or your needs not being met well at times. And there are large ways: neglect, abuse and abandonment. Yet they all have an impact on what you came to expect from a relationship.
These childhood experiences give you a unique idea and felt sense of what love is, and what it has ( or doesn't have) to offer. Childhood experiences also inform your ability to love and value yourself, your sense of being lovable and of deserving ( or not) love from yourself and others.
Love often feels elusive, and like a thing that you have to "find," "get," "discover," "search for," "deserve" or "keep." The apps and dating sites look like catalogs of people, hopefully containing one who will love you and who you will love.
Many people spend a lot of time being anxious about love: If you are single, wondering when and how it will appear, afraid you will never meet anyone you could truly love or who will love you. And if you are in relationship, there is often the fear that they will leave you in any number of ways. Fear related to childhood experiences of the fickleness and fragility of love, may lurk just below the surface, often infusing your life with worry, doubt and fear.
You may ask yourself if you will ever have that mythical love that is in so many songs, movies and other forms of popular culture, that love that is free from fear, doubt, anguish and worry? What would have to change within you to allow yourself to be open and have an easier time with the unknown, to learn to love yourself and feel that you deserve to be loved? What seismic shift within would allow you to breathe freely whether you are alone or in relationship?
If you would like to explore your relationship to love,
call me for a free phone consultation.
Peggy Handler, MFT, is a psychotherapist in San Francisco's Noe Valley