When Help Doesn't Help: How to Love Yourself Forward After Guidance Gone Bad

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We all seek validation from time to time. This personal growth stuff is deep and hard. Sometimes we need someone who’s maybe a little taller or wider or deeper to help us see what’s ahead, help us locate in the forest or find ourselves in the galaxy. Definitely it helps if they’re calmer. Nowadays they also should make me laugh and offer chocolate.

The subject of seeking readings, intuitive guidance, chakra-this and aura-thats, could fill an entire post. I’ll tackle it another time. But some of us do, and some of us seek validation and guidance from more conventional sources. Whatever the form, what do you do when the guidance or help is anything but?

A particular situation stands out for me as something I used as a catalyst for my own growth, because I’m stubborn, determined and obsessed. But you don’t have to be any of those (How about committed to yourself?) in order to learn how to take a difficult consultation and Love Yourself Forward to use it for your own benefit.

I had taken someone up on an offer for a free chakra reading over the phone, which I’d found through a web portal of people offering such things. It was a marketing ploy to get people to join their programs or to sign on as a client. I understood that. But I thought it would be fun to see what someone else saw in my chakras.

The reading devastated me. I felt like I’d been punched in the gut and made wrong. We spent over an hour on the phone, to my horror (Uh-oh! I’m one of those people, I thought. I’ll bet she never intended to spend an hour with me. I’m so needy.) In the end I admitted that, yes, I had money issues and no, I wasn’t ready to spend anything on her programs.

None of what she said matched how I saw myself. Instead of feeling validated, I felt traumatized. I hated the vision of myself that I saw through her eyes. Hated that I’d opened my energy field up to her seeing me at all. I felt violated.

Then, I felt angry. In the days that followed, I went through all the stages of grief: devastation, disappointment, anger. (Those are my stages.)  I ruminated and obsessed on that reading and her delivery. I remembered her snide-sounding, superior tone and I railed. I raved and I ranted. (More of my stages of grief.)

Eventually, however, I felt galvanized. In my desire to prove her wrong, I set about learning as much as I could from the experience. The first place I had to look was inside.

The first step in the Love Yourself Forward process is called Love Yourself Real. When you’ve had a bad experience of any kind, and you feel the urge to do something, first choose something that’s loving and affirming to you, not directed outward. At least not yet. In other words, pivot your attention from them to you. Loving Yourself Forward is just that. It’s turning the energy generated by any life experience toward your own healing.

I took every one of her points and examined them. I discovered something that really caught my attention: On some level, there was a kernel of truth in everything the reader had said. Great. But what I really wanted to know was, how had I gotten into a situation where, in the process of seeking validation and strengthening myself, I’d opened myself to hurt at the hands of an unskilled other?

This second step, Love Yourself Whole, is about seeing the 360 degree wholeness of yourself, mind, body and spirit. What are my values? What were my intentions? How were they rooted in something that was potentially unhealthy?

I decided to double down on my program of strengthening my intuition and guidance systems. Essentially, this amounted to a decision to validate myself. I began listening intently to my intuition to better discern random thoughts from actual intuitive guidance. I followed everything (as only an obsessive-compulsive, perfectionist, recovering addict can do). If a little voice said to bring an umbrella, I turned around and went back into the house and got an umbrella. If a thought crossed my mind to wear the brown shoes, I wore the brown shoes. Then I checked out my impressions with my experience in everyday reality and learned from there.

I also revisited my personal boundaries, because obviously, I was able to open myself to being violated, so something in my guidance system and boundaries needed healing.

While I had always been basically okay with my boundaries, I now started to see how much fear I carried that someone might invade my space or energetically take from me. I saw that I sometimes used up a lot of energy just protecting myself. Then, I would get tired of being so vigilant and abruptly let it all down and open myself up to whatever energies were hanging around.

I chose to suspend judgment about those threatening others and just let them be, because no amount of judging or self righteousness was going to change other people’s energies. I chose to reframe other people not as enemies or potential threats, (or potential saviors!) but as fellow mortals. Some of their energies happened to feel uncomfortable to me, much like certain music grates on me, or certain smells feel noxious, and some felt good, like hot chocolate or silk.

I had always respected my “gut” with other people. If the gut said steer clear, I steered clear. But I discovered that a lot times I simply didn’t bother communicating why with the other person. Instead of being direct, I had developed the strategy of avoiding confrontation. I now started to articulate and accurately represent those gut feelings and my personal needs. I practiced verbally staking out and defending my boundaries. I took the time to figure out what was true for me and to say it out loud. 

Instead of copping to being “busy,” which is a joke, because I deliberately am not busy, because I don’t believe it’s more virtuous or more productive to be busy, I now took pains to express the actual truths under my no’s, at the very least, to myself. What was the reason? Doesn’t fit my priorities or focus, will interfere with a certain task or project, doesn’t work for me today, not taking on anything new, don’t like that restaurant, whatever.

In choosing to be more direct and actually saying in words what was true for me, I learned how much more energy it takes to avoid things than to handle them. I discovered that knowing what was true and putting into words my own reality, so that I could feel it, have it, be aware of it and own it more fully, was healing.

And that’s where the Love Yourself Forward process came full circle, as I naturally began to take actions to express myself at a fuller, realer level than before. The upshot of that is that now, when I’m seeking outside validation I can dissect it a little before taking an impulsive action that may open me up to energies that aren’t helpful.

I ask, what do I need, really? Then I try to give it to myself. Often, if I’m in an insecure or anxious place there’s nothing anyone can say that will change it. I need to nurture myself, reviewing my list of basic self care tasks, or I need to get out and move my body and connect with nature. If I’ve done all that, then I need a new and interesting experience, or I need to pick up a drum, a guitar or a couple of chopsticks and make some music. And if I really need to hear from someone else’s mouth that I’m okay, or what they think about where I’m at, I turn to a trusted source and ask for what I need.

Somehow, it always turns out better when I’ve Loved Myself Forward as far as I can, before expecting someone or something else to do it for me.

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All of the above, in one form or another will be in my forthcoming book, Love Yourself Forward, which I am working on as you read these words. I’m excited to have you read it, and I’m leaking out slurps and slices as I go. 

So thank you for reading and enjoying, for commenting and encouraging me, and for sharing your journey with me.

If you’d like to be among the first to order the book, become a beta reader, and be informed of my other offerings, such as workshops and guided masterminds, or Access Bars sessions, please sign here to be added to my mailing list. And if it’s okay with you, I’ll also go ahead and send you a free Soul Message reading in your inbox every week. Read more about Soul Messages, my second book, here. My poetry book, To Whom It May Concern, Prayers Without the G-Word, can be found here.

With gratitude and love,

PhyllisSig

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