I fell into a deep, dark hole this week. One moment I was happy and at peace, the next I was angst-ridden and sad. And all because I suddenly felt “wrong” about something.
On top of that, I’d been rather publically wrong. And the feeling of being wrong, and the feeling of being over-exposed plunged me into a triggered state. I desperately tried to rethink things in my head: where I had I gone wrong? what had happened? surely I can’t be wrong about this part? what about that part?
My man knew I was sad and asked me what was going on, but in talking about it, I fell further into the hole, and triggered him too, so that I felt abandoned by him in the conversation.
Later I left the house without saying goodbye, in a sad tit-for-tat. “If you’re going to abandon me and make me feel more wrong, then I’ll abandon you too!”
A part of me was shocked at seeing how thrown I was, so instantaneously, in feeling wrong. Surely, I can handle feeling wrong? Surely it’s not that bad?!
But I felt “wrong” in a discussion that runs through some of my core wounding. And it came out of left-field, activated from a totally unexpected source. Both these things seemed to amplify my triggered state.
As I was witnessing myself the next day, still stuck in the hole, I understood that this is a really old patterning. It’s what was modelled to me as a child. I learned that I needed to be right or I’d get yelled at or hit. It’s what I model to my children in my less evolved moments, frustrated when they’re not learning something quick enough or when they do something I don’t agree with.
I also saw how I’m often judgmental of others as a protective measure. I decide other people are wrong, to a greater or lesser extent, so I can feel right, because I prefer that to feeling wrong! With a surprising degree of intensity, I have discovered!
If other people aren’t wrong, if I can’t project wrongness onto them, then there’s nowhere else to go with my pain other than to feel it. And this rawness can be searing…
But in wrestling with whether I can give others enough space to not be “wrong,” I realised I also had to wrestle with whether I could likewise offer myself that same spacious non-judgement.
Right then, feeling stuck down the hole, could I allow that this whole experience wasn’t “wrong?” Could I believe that I hadn’t made any mistakes? Could I trust that this was simply me in process, learning what I need to learn in this lifetime?
It was like light slowly filtering down into the darkness, the realisation that I can trust the uniqueness of my own process and my trajectory towards growth. That I can loosen my attachments to the processes and experiences of others. And that I can continue to act on and advocate for my needs, without needing to convince others that my needs are “right.”
In this slow dawning, I came back to a place where I was able to hold myself in my process. My resourced adult, back on the scene, pulled my wounded child out of the hole, and gently brushed the dirt from her clothes.
“There are no mistakes. You are journeying perfectly towards wholeness.” I turned this radical idea over and over in my head, allowing it to settle into me. It was a concept that felt new and full of potential. I felt relieved and heartened.
I’m still digesting the whole experience. I can feel myself making micro-adjustments in how I think about and interact with myself and others. And I can feel the lightness in my heart, at not feeling compelled to carry such (self-)judgement, the heavy load that caused me to fall into the hole in the first place.
In the end, I feel grateful for having fallen, so far and so deeply. Because I’ve emerged from the darkness with brand new insights that feel like gold. Gold nuggets of healing in the pocket of my heart, mined in the darkness from the seam of my pain.
(image from here)