"I'm struggling to find a sense of belonging in the world"
Thank you so much for all your help in the past. I am happy to see you are offering those of us who have benefited from your time and attention an opportunity to return the gift with a donation. In the last few months I have been blessed with more joy and hope than I have felt in many years. However I do have a couple of concerns I'm hoping you can help me understand and work through.
1) One of my struggles has been finding a sense of belonging and community in the world. It seems as though I don't "fit in" anywhere. This pattern seems to have begun with my own family. I love my family dearly but I often feel as though I don't understand them. Our spiritual paths and ways of interacting with the world are sometimes so different it's a struggle to communicate and relate. Do you have any insights that would help me understand why I chose this family, what lessons I need to learn, and how to help me heal the family more generally?
2) Several months ago I was interviewed for a job in California that I think would be perfect for me. There have been several delays even though I am still in the running for the job. Do you have any insights on what might be blocking this opportunity from coming into my life? Is there anything I can do to ensure that this situation works out to the highest good of all concerned.
OK. Let's see what's up. Glad to hear, by the way, that things are looking up for you!
Question number 1: Well, very often those of us who are born into a family where we feel we don't fit it come to play the rle of catalyst for that family. We agreed at some point to play this role in our family - we act as the one who presents different ideas and different ways of thinking and believing . Like a golden flower in a field of blue - it's a needed contrast that perhaps in some way eventually gives others an opportunity to face something in themselves - whether it's an opportunity to learn acceptance of differences, or maybe even to someday be gifted with what that person who is the catalyst has learned.
The lesson for you, however, in coming into a family where you feel you don't fit in is to undo any belief YOU have that you will be criticized. When we feel different, that can be a belief that somehow we deserve to be or will be criticized. You can check in to see if you carry such a belief - if you expect to be criticized or blamed. The feeling of being anxious, a deep anxiety goes along with this. If you carry a feeling of anxiety, then feeling different from others in your family is a good way to play that out, yes?
As you release the energy of feeling anxious, I think you will not feel so much that you don't fit in - instead, you may find yourself just able to see others for who they are and to simply be more able to appreciate what they each give to the family and who they are. You will, in other words, relate from unconditional loving - seeing their beauty and seeing what you can give to them in the way of love and appreciation instead of focusing on what doesn't feel right. Moving from FEAR to LOVE, in other words.
You yourself may have incarnated to this family to learn not to criticize or judge. Maybe that is an issue you and your family have come in to mirror for one another and to learn about together. The issue of acceptance works both ways and is a great one to come in to work out. Remember, your family is a mirror of yourself and your own issues - so, the issue to heal for you would be to see that they reflect any place where YOU don't accept yourself, or others. How surprised would you be that when you fully accept yourself, and love yourself, and appreciate who you uniquely are and what you came here to do, your role/feeling within the family will profoundly shift as well?
Question 2: What seems to be blocking the way for you to get the job in California is your need to complete something in your personal development. It has to do with the love of and awakening to beauty - feeling that awakening in your heart space - which, if you look at it, has to do with what we were just talking about in question 1: the awakening to the beauty within yourself and in others - that is: acceptance. Time, also, to release any beliefs you have that say you will be disappointed. The need here is for you to be able to be more honest and open in relating to others ( which means getting rid of the fear that you will be criticized and/or not accepted). As you clear this in yourself, the way will open for you in many other ways as well. I suggest you work with stating a strong intention with regards to releasing any belief in criticism/judgment and allowing a belief in loving acceptance to come in instead.
Wow, such a quick response, thank you. This is a real stickler for me, so please indulge my long response.
Well, I agree that criticism and judgment is a major problem in my family. As a child, both of my parents were incredibly loving AND controlling, domineering, and critical (my father told me at one point he thought his primary job as a father was to criticize because that would some how make us "better" people). I have been and continue to be criticized and scrutinized. (I have been criticized for my weight, my housekeeping, my hair, my make-up, the quality of my complexion, my clothes, my life decisions, my behavior, my friends etc.). Not to boast, but I'm an attractive, intelligent, accomplished woman, so I find their criticisms weird, they are just so far from my truth. It has gotten a little better in the last few years, but only because I have taken a stand and made it clear that it is not acceptable or appropriate to hurl criticisms at me all the time. However, they're still extremely negative and critical of each other and everything else in the world. Being around that for long tends to drain my energy.
My relationship with my brothers is another story. Both of my brothers are chronically unemployed substance abusers. They can also be emotionally abusive to me and members of my family. My nephews unfortunately are beginning to follow in their footsteps. They even stole things from me when I was last home. I understand that some of the impetus for their troubles stems from the circumstances of our childhood. I also believe that they need to be active participants in their own healing, yet despite numerous outreach efforts on my part as well as other members of my family, they have gotten progressively worse.
I guess all of this is to say that I am having difficulty understanding how I can affect this through my beliefs. Aren't these their issues to be worked on? I have recited affirmations, prayed, and released to my heart's content. I am not completely "judgment-free", but I generally accept people as they are. I have expressed my love and acceptance of my family to the best of my ability. I have offered spiritual, psychological, and financial support, yet I've discerned little change in the dynamics of my family and I still find it difficult to be around them at times. I find that I share very little of myself with them because I feel as though I have to expend a lot of energy maintaining healthy boundaries and dodging the negativity, scrutiny, and criticism. I feel like I need to take care of myself first or I'll drown in the drama.
As you can see this is a major issue for me but I will honestly try to be open to any other suggestions you have
Thank you for sharing so deeply. Well, the question to always ask is: "What is the Brilliance and Purpose of my soul having created this?" OK. You created having a dysfunctional family that is steeped in negativity and that apparently has not found its spiritual center at all yet. Substance abuse, or abuse of any kind, verbal, emotional, physical, means that that person abusing has not found out yet that they have any spiritual center or power or connection, and so they are terrified, feeling they have nothing to hold them up. So, they turn to externals, hoping to find safety there. The more powerless they feel, the more they abuse, and the more they don't find safety or peace, the more they are in fear.
Yet, here YOU are, on a spiritual path in the midst of this turmoil. What is the Brilliance and Purpose of that? My guess would be that you have set up a pretty good mirror for yourself of what it's like not to have a spiritual center. You can see what happens when that is the case, and that awareness has enabled you and propelled you to go a different route and do what it takes to find and develop your center. You have also seen what happens when someone is in such fear and anxiety that they try to control everything around them through criticism and negativity. And you also choose to go a different route from that.
When someone is in such deep, deep fear that everything seems to be a threat to their sense of self then what happens, if they are not taking internal responsibility for their fear, such as your father, is that they desperately try to control what's around them to try to be safe and to avoid, they think, being attacked. The attack, however, comes from inside oneself. What your father is actually doing is projecting his shame, his own sense or belief that he is not good enough, which terrifies him - onto you. He is so afraid of being attacked, that someone or something will jump out at him and tell him he's a worthless nothing - that fear of being seen as worthless is so great, that he goes external, instead of internal, where the issue really is, and tries to control you and make you into something that can't "shame" him, or that he can be attacked for.
It's a very distorted thing - it's actually his own shame which he puts out on you, which, if he had the strength to face and see where it got created, he could overcome it. But, as you said, your family does not, at this point in their evolution, have the inner strength and spiritual evolution to do that. They live instead in continual fear and shame and anxiety. This can be very painful to see, and it is always a desire at some stage of development on the part of those who love people in this situation, to want to fix it for them.
The deepest reason, however, and this is CRUCIAL to your healing and understanding, that we want to heal someone else in a situation like this, is because seeing them like that, in fear and anxiety, triggers our OWN fear and anxiety, and then WE go into control mode. WE go into external mode - if they only won't be fearful and anxious, then we won't have to feel that fear and anxiety either, and we think we will feel safer because it won't be around us "causing us" to feel fearful. Somehow, we think if they fix it and don't have it, then we won't have it either, and we'll be safe. We think that THEY can fix it for us.
Here's the sucker hole though. They can't make us feel fear and anxiety unless we have that energy still within us. It's STILL a mirror of our own inner fear and anxiety. Even if you "fixed" them and they no longer were in fear (which you can't do anyway), you would STILL have your own fear. It would just be mirrored and show up somewhere else. When you no longer have any fear that things are not ok as they are - when you can be so centered even in the midst of others around you being in extreme fear (which your family is) - when you can keep your center and your trust and know that everything is all right even when others are desperate and caught up in their deep fear - or, when, if you do get triggered, you can go inside and see what the issue is for you and heal it - when you know that, when you have developed your center to that point, then you won't go into control mode either, trying to change it because you get afraid. You'll just be able to smile at them lovingly and know that they are on their own journey and that at some point, when they are ready, they will evolve and find peace. Until then, you will create them being a mirror for whatever anxiety and fear you still carry.
When you can disentangle from that fear, and you are no longer triggered by what they are needing to go through or what they are still caught in, then you will be able to relate to them from loving non-attachment, and let go of them. There is a family I know of, who live in constant turmoil and dysfunction. For a long, long time, I was very upset with their issues and all the craziness their lives revolved around, which I could see very clearly. Being around them felt just awful to me. I judged them very harshly and had a very hard time with the whole situation. It wasn't until I finally realized that it was my own anxiety I saw reflected in them - my own fears of life being too much and out of control, my own fears and issues of feeling like a little kid trying desperately to raise a family and not feeling I had any idea of how to do it, that I began to be able to disentangle from it.
When I recognized myself in their situation, and I realized how difficult that phase of life is, when one feels so frightened and one doesn't yet have the inner power or foundation it takes to deal with life, then I was finally able to move into compassion and trust and just allow them to have their journey without my being caught up in it. For, just as I grew into more power and ability, so too, they will, I realized, when they are ready to do so, at some point in their evolution. I realized it was all ok - they are ok, and I am ok.
So, that's your challenge. To keep on developing the strength of your center and your knowledge that all is ok - that you are safe - that the God in you knows what it is doing - that you are on this journey of growth and discovery, that it is God's play to learn and to grow, and that you are always safe - and then you will be able to look at others and see the same thing, even if they are at a different level of development from you.