While there is a part of us that very genuinely wishes to heal, awaken, and transform, there is a lesser known part that has an unconscious investment in maintaining things the way they are. We wonder why after years and even decades of working on ourselves, meditating, praying, surrendering, doing yoga, and going to therapy it can seem like nothing is changing.
Learning to contact and provide safe passage for those parts that are terrified of healing is an act of profound kindness and mercy. In ways that are paradoxical and bewildering to the mind seeking control and the maintenance of the status quo, this radical act of befriending all parts of ourselves is what makes true healing possible.
Our avoidant strategies—those historically configured ways of organizing our experience and staying out of too much vulnerability and the nakedness of unguarded immediacy—arose to serve a very specific function, to protect us from overwhelming anxiety that threatened the survival of a ripening little brain and nervous system.
While in a moment of activation it can seem so personal, like we have failed, forgotten some sort of “secret,” or that something is fundamentally wrong with us, to remember the neurobiological realities of a young, empathy-seeking infant can wash away the shame of fantasized failure.