The Gift Within
I can think back on certain experiences in my life, the ones that seemed so hard to go through at the time, and see the gifts that were contained inside them. Surely, though, as I was meeting those challenges, I couldn’t see any gifts at all. In fact, I’m quite sure it was more like: “What was I thinking when I signed up for this?!” (Anyone relate?)
Just in the past five years, there were several. Case in point, when I got into my first polyamorous relationship and experienced jealousy, I was kind of blown away by the intensity of it. Previously, I hadn’t known I had a jealous bone in my body. In high school, a close friend of mine started dating my ex-boyfriend just hours after we broke up, and I was never the least bit upset or jealous about it. When I was married, I was not jealous but happy when my husband went out to the strip club. I was THAT woman. And then suddenly, I felt like I was being torn apart by my own insecurities and jealousy when my poly partner started having other relationships.
What I’ve come to understand is that there are layers of things buried inside us. Being monogamous, for example, wasn’t enough to really trigger me the way being poly did. I was able to “get away with” being monogamous without ever really knowing about parts of myself. In this case, it was the part of me that had abandonment issues since the time I was a little girl. And you know what? I can honestly say I am SO GLAD I became poly. And I am SO GLAD my first partner was someone who would be attracted to lots of other partners, so that I could be SO deeply and painfully triggered, so that I could heal that core wound inside me.
I went on to be able to be polyamorous and have no more than momentary, mild feelings of envy or jealousy. And that feels so good.
Now, I find myself in another situation in which I’m being triggered, yet this time it’s in the career zone instead of the love zone. And there’s another layer of an old wound coming up to be healed. I’ve been doing my private practice for over a decade now. There was an adjustment period for me, for sure. I was stepping it up a notch from being a social worker/therapist working for a human service agency, to being a therapist/life coach working for myself. And each time I would choose to create more for myself within that practice, each time I would raise the bar, ripples of that “imposter syndrome me” would come up.
Over the past year, I have raised the bar to a new level. I have ventured out even more, challenged myself in new ways, and reached new heights of joy and abundance. And, I was feeling more confident than ever about the work I’d been doing…
Until I did something to “mess it up”- again. I’m (kind of) being facetious in saying that. I took a part-time job that is proving to be one that is digging down into yet another unhealed layer of insecurity and pain that I didn’t know really existed anymore. Now, I had a perfectly good reason for taking this other job- to gain an income that is not dependent on my being in any geographical place while I’m doing it- which fits well with my lifestyle and what I am projecting my life will be like in the future. And, I can say with (almost) 100% certainty that one day I’ll look back and say: “Wow, I’m really glad that job triggered the fuck out of me.” I believe I will persevere, and succeed in healing what is calling out to be healed now. AND, it feels really fucking hard at the moment.
So hard that I asked myself, in the past few days, about the alternative: staying with the status quo. Keeping everything in my life the same. No longer dreaming. No longer aspiring to greater things. Just getting on a comfortable plateau and staying there. What if I just did that?
Doesn’t seem like much of an alternative, does it? No, I didn’t think so either.
And so, I will keep on keeping on. I will keep on growing, even when it hurts. I will keep on challenging myself, even when it terrifies me. I will keep on digging deep, finding the gifts within, even when they seem like booby prizes. I know they’re not. I’ve been here before.