An Open Letter to Family

An Open Letter to Family

Hello Family.
I thought I would take a moment and share some of my thoughts with you. This open format makes the contents available for others and follows my intention of openness, honesty, and grace. You see, I have some changes if my own to share with you that can benefit others as well.
I think my changes have been confusing for you. Over the last 10 years my philosophy of life and our place in it has grown. I have understood more about myself, where I’ve come from, where my interests lie. It’s ironic that I have actually been getting to know myself more and more. Not the self I had built to please others or construct an impenetrably successful life, but my REAL life.
The time I have taken has been well spent. Uncovering, healing, celebrating who I really am. Without the should’s, musts, or have-to’s. The best mental health is when the outside of a person matches the inside, and vice versa. Really.
I am not sure you knew I used to hate myself. I was petrified with self-hatred. Obviously, something was out of sync in my life.
I really like who I am. Really. Who I really am.
In some ways exposing myself to who you reflect back to me, as me, is too different and therefore replicates remnants of that place I used to be. I also do not think you are available for who I am. I have tried earlier-on.
I am a Highly Sensitive Person. I hear the messages and feel the covert-or, meta-messages. And, with my career I practice and hone these skills every day.
The thing is, I do not want to expose myself to who you think I am. That was for the first half of my time on the planet.
I need genuine interest, no judgement, compassion, and grace. That is all. Oh, one more thing, presence and attunement. (Thank you, Dr. Dan Siegel, Dr Alan Schore, and colleagues.
Swiss Cheese Childhoods

Swiss Cheese Childhoods

Hello Readers, In order to explain better the concept of less-than-nurturing childhood experience and preparation for adulthood, last week I used the metaphor of a block of Swiss cheese. Consider that a person in their adult years stands on a block of Swiss cheese as they navigate the present life of being a grown-up.

A healthy adult stands on their two foot by two foot Swiss cheese block with few holes in it. There are some holes, but these holds provide variety and flavor. They make life interesting and unique. This person enjoys the benefits of resiliency, flexibility, and belief in themselves.

Now let’s look at the cheese block of a person not as prepared. As they are standing on their block of Swiss cheese, the amount of holes in their cheese represents lack of guidance, direction, maybe life preparation deficits that person may not possess. Now consider the blasts through the block of Swiss cheese that made various holes from trauma, neglect, relational difficulties, or bullying and the like. These make for more holes in the cheese.

For their entire life, they have been balancing on this block of cheese. Only, when they were earlier in the adult years they used their physical will, sheer determination, and/or avoidance tactics (addiction or  escapism of some kind) to move forward despite their lack. By the time they are in their mid-adulthood they cannot withstand the pace. They struggle. They fall. They experience suicidal thoughts, break-ups of relationships, anxiety they never used to have.

They end up in my office. Oh, they have accomplished much! Successful jobs, military careers, families, success in many forms. Only now their bodies are bearing the toll. And they cannot understand what went wrong. Hence, the Swiss cheese analogy.
You are not bad or wrong. You were less optimally prepared. You are here now, and I respect your recently discovered difficulties.
Together, we can be together in a safe, therapeutic environment/relationship that encourages you to be “with” yourself.
Oh, you can do it yourself. There is just something sacred about a non-judgmental, unconditional positive regard, relationship.