With confidence, we have so much power to deal with situations - without it we become overwhelmed and ineffective much more easily. Life rarely goes according to our plans and confidence helps us re-evaluate and redirect our energy and efforts. If we have been seriously overwhelmed in the past, we can lose our flexibility and creativity. The overwhelm of our resources can occur through a significant loss, such as bereavement, divorce, redundancy, or a business downturn. Overwhelm can also be rooted in childhood experiences that leave our self-confidence fragile. Bullying is a common cause of lost confidence. It is often the more subtle forms of childhood bullying that leave the biggest mark on our soul. These embodied patterns can be resolved to release energy for making a better life today and beyond.
Bullying may take the form of 'mind games' or emotional torment. An older sibling may put pressure on their younger brother or sister in a way that manipulates the whole family. For example, the older child may insist they are desperate for a drink, food or the toilet when the younger one is taking time to enjoy watching the animals at the zoo or choosing a new toy in the local department store. The harassed parents may give in to this pressure and go. Once everyone is firmly on the road home, the eldest reveals they are actually fine to 'hold on' now, throwing the little one into protests of unfairness that create an upset for the whole family. Mind games like these can also be played out by a parent, with deeper consequences for the children. Either way, the victim must find a way to cope or adapt. Coping strategies may include withdrawal, passivity, stubbornness, rigidity, outbursts of rage, a need to control things in the environment, perfectionism or trying to fix everyone's problems. Over time an unhealthy pattern can become ingrained, such as the need to be needed. In this adaptation, we need people to depend heavily on us and to look exclusively to us for their advice, practical help or emotional support. We unconsciously believe that if they don't need our help then they won't want to be with us or pay any attention to us. This can create a terrifying insecurity and stop us making progress towards real maturity and fulfilment.
Our healthy needs in relationship are for respect, appreciation, caring, being valued and being loved. We need to focus our mind on these qualities, consciously appreciating the beautiful and satisfying things in any moment. We need to build up these qualities in our way of relating to others. We need to find the support of helpful, caring, joyful people as often as possible. As our healthy needs are met, we will find the strength to let go - by crying, sleeping, shouting, singing, dancing, de-cluttering or having a therapy or training session. The old pattern will dissolve and renewed softness return to our shoulders, neck and face. As we focus on the things we appreciate right now, we will discover what really matters to us. We can shed the old defenses that are no longer needed and reveal more of the flowing, sparkling, bubbling, confident new person that was really there all the time.
Corrina Kennedy, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire UK. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @pathwaybalance. Facebook: Pathway Balancing Kinesiology Training.