What Happens When We Can’t See Ourselves?
Eric Grace

For some of us, we live lives of quiet desperation. For others, we live lives full of chaos and drama. The latter being an unconscious need to feel alive expressed through stress and disorder. For others, we live as false versions of ourselves thinking that is who we really are while chasing goals of success, financial independence, romance, happiness, or enlightenment trying to embody a self-image that is built on shifting sand.

I have had the good fortune of living into all of these scenarios and experiencing the intense pain and disappointment that comes along with all the effort and challenge such situations require before experiencing a core wellness and soulfulness emerging into and as my life. My dead-ending in these life orientations came with the help of a great mentor who supported my attempts to make due with life as it was, who I thought I was and what I could make of my life. Then, they helped me find a new ground to come from to relate with myself and the world.

I say that I had the good fortune because it was only in playing out these scenarios to their natural conclusions that I was then able to find a way to turn out of these life cul-de-sacs, to show up to myself and unearth a way forward into a new essence of experiencing myself and life.

I have written in previous posts about how as children we need to feel felt as the norm from our primary caregivers for us to adequately allow our emotive soulfulness to emerge, stabilize and express in our adult lives and in the absence of that, which is pretty much most of us, myself included, we operate out of a mixed bag of unconscious protective aspects and makeshift personality art infused with a muddled soul so that it comes out into in all sorts of unexpected kaleidoscopic ways. Some of it is beautiful. Regardless of how beautiful it can be at times, a great deal of suffering occurs. Our own and that of others.

I have also written about the different kinds of love-based noble protective aspects we can have in our daily life and how they can impact our relationships as we cycle in addictive behaviors, attitudes, beliefs, life configurations and energies while inhibiting our ability to receive love, truth and goodness in our lives. We also can be at the receiving end of the impacts of the protective aspects of those around us. The willingness to really take stock of how we are impacting others and how they are impacting us gives us insight into how we might uncover new acreage of our emotive soulful nature. Sometimes these awarenesses can be life changing. Other times, it is just the beginning of the journey towards soul wholeness in a human life.

For those of us that live those lives of quiet desperation, we can forget that there are some deep-seated issues and pain that we try not to think of while making the best of our days, loving and providing for our loved ones, going to work and contributing to society as best as we can. We can feel like something essential is missing while telling ourselves we just need to keep carrying on and it will resolve somehow.

For those of us just struggling to get by while going from one crisis to the next, we strive to get out of the hole we feel that we are in or the big chaotic mess of our lives. We are just looking for a break from it all, some saving grace, something that will make our lives better, our world better and for the opportunity for a rest. Paycheck to paycheck living is only the tip of that iceberg and real structural change is hard. In those instances, changing on the inside can be difficult to conceive of.

For those of us who are poised to achieve great things, whether they be financial, romantic, spiritual, vocational, athletic, artistic, musical or the colloquial myth of happiness, such passions and goals can bring joy and pain in the ascent to their accomplishment but often these goals are driven by secret forces inside us that we rarely come to terms with. A self-image that we are trying to fit into that we never call into question. The happiness carrot that is at the end of the stick doesn’t always find its way in our mouth and if/when it does, it is not necessarily as nourishing as we thought it would be. Sometimes, it can be downright suffocating.

These are some of the fruits of not being able to see ourselves. When we can feel ourselves as we truly are, the unconscious motivations that drive these less real orientations to life become clearer. We see the messages we learned early on in life about life, about how to be a person, what root values were important and why, if they are actually healthy for us and how we got sculpted into who we were to try to receive love and approval as well as to experience some form of meaning to life from the options of meaning that were available to us in the environments we grew up in at the time.

We can look at the human experience and see how history has unfolded playing out so many different stories, collective and individual ones, along these lines. We keep on seeking novel ways to find and live the answer to the questions of who we are, what we are and why we are.

If we are not given a proper heart mirror to feel ourselves as we really are as children (and as adults if that childhood didn’t exist) we become a more fragmented, darker, conflicted and more confused version of ourselves looking for salvation, respite, success or an assortment of bandaids for our experience.

Meanwhile, our deeper nature eludes us and we get lost in relationship dynamics, paradigms and values that support distracting and soulsucking lifestyle cul-de-sacs. Such is the tragedy of human consciousness on its path of evolution. It’s messy.  

The good thing about this is eventually we run the course of these life orientations so that we can discover them as the dead-ends that they are for us. It can take weeks, years or whole lifetimes to come to that awareness though. When we do discover these perspectives and values don’t really serve our being, our deeper longings and suffering in the ways we hoped for we can begin to call for a healthy self-love based paradigm, values and a heartful support system into our life so we can take steps inside and out to reveal the greater truths and mysteries of our soul. There really is so much to who we are. Just imagine if there is just as much to explore inside of you as there is in the universe outside of you.

If we are lucky, we find friends, good mentors and a wisdom tradition to help us discover and take those new steps towards a soulful life. Or we have a life crisis that shakes us to our core and out of the trance we were in. In such circumstances we were so ensconced in a life orientation that was motivated by unconscious wounding that we couldn’t help but keep cycling in it and only a shock to the system would buck us into a new life track opportunity. Those kinds of moments really suck but they serve a purpose.  

At other times, we need to tough it out through years of grit while trying to apply an archaic way of conditioned being in a new time. Here we eventually feel our intra and interpsychic gears grind to a halt and it sucks out the vitality of our lifeforce. We can see this very dynamic in tribes, many of our collective groups of people, societies, political parties, institutions and governments and the individual people that inhabit them as we step into this new age. It’s a real shitshow.  

The question then becomes, what do you choose for this precious life of yours? Is it time you found a good soul mirror?

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