The Function of Dysfunction
How many times have I said to myself you need to let that go? I have told myself, actually berated myself is probably the more accurate description, and demanded I stop obsessing over a situation, and I really wish I wouldn't do this again. I hate knowing I am doing something that isn't serving my best interest but continue to do it anyway. And let me tell you I am the self-help queen, I have done therapy, spent hours analyzing and processing, chanted, meditated, journaled, done beautiful spiritual and energetic work around the object of my obsession, been to self-help groups, worked steps, given it up, taken it back and given it up again only to find myself faced with the same obsession and a whole lot of shame around the fact that nothing I do is ridding myself of the compulsive behavior. That was until I started working with people who had been through similar traumas, or even things I had never experienced but I held space with them, they touched my lives and not once did I think to say "don't you think you should let that go now and move on? I mean really that's quite enough, truly your time with that is expired." No, apparently I save that self-righteous abuse for myself. Everyone else I look at it through the eyes of compassion and with the curiosity of what I like to call functionality and neutrality. It comes down to a couple simple questions, how is this serving you? why is it here? They are simple but not so easy. The point of the questions is to get to know it before we start telling it to get the hell out because like it or not there is a reason behind everything and if we look at that reason without judgment it is easier to come to resolution. This sounds simple- it is-however, it is not easy. Trying to remove judgment from a behavior or characteristic we don’t like about ourselves is incredibly difficult. Shame is typically the culprit that prevents any investigation, and shame is a huge block, it has been in my life. To combat shame I need compassion. Compassion is not something all flowery where we look down lovingly and kindly at everything that has passed. Compassion, especially self-compassion, is created when we look at a behavior and say I get why I did it I can understand why I do that, it makes sense, and we can stand with ourselves a moment and ask what else can I do to help myself in that situation. This is the building block of change. The threat the defense does not have a chance to engage because understanding is employed. In this way shame can be disarmed and change can begin.
There is a function to everything, getting curious has gotten me better and continues to be essential to my Recovery. It serves me with every person I work with helping to create a safe space because it releases judgment, grows and strengthens self-compassion. The best tool I found