“…If you can stand fully in your own unbelonging and become friendly with the terrors of loneliness and exclusion, you can no longer be governed by your avoidance of them. In other words, you are on your way home…” ~ Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home
I’ve been reading ‘Belonging’ and I can see myself in its pages. It’s complicated, the layers that make up human and spirit. As a intuitive creature I have learned to choose people to be around who will not drain me. As an empath and sensative I need to recharge alone at times; in general I need to pay attention to energy first and then behave according to intuition. But under that, there is another energy at work, one that was created in childhood, and is so nuanced it will take some time to untangle some of the threads.
I can see how I can disappear from those who get close to me because I can’t fully trust they will love all of my layers in the way I need them to. If I keep them at arms length, then they can’t get close enough to betray me. ‘Betray’ seems like deeply dramatic word, and yet it feels potent. What bigger betrayal is trusting you will be loved without condition, and then finding you are not worthy enough for another person?
The most healing thing ever said to me was ‘You’re not perfect. I love you anyway.” It was simple. I didn’t need to get it right. I stopped worrying I would be betrayed and began to engage with my whole self. This person is one of my biggest teachers, and I feel honored to have such a friend.
Closing my eyes, and sinking into how I have had relationship with others, I can see I only have a handful of people I drop my shields for (which is more than I could do ten years ago). I’m not a shy person, but I am selective. I can hold space for others, but I don’t trust them to hold space for me. I have been a lone wolf a very long time, and I’m only now learning to connect and be in community. I’ve come a long way in letting people in, and yet I can see through this book, I have a longer journey to go.
I am a good listener because I want that from others. I am a keeper of secrets because I want others to keep mine; but I haven’t always given space for others to do so. And in holding back I never give others a chance to be there when I need them. Up until recently my relationships have been entirely one sided. People shared with me, but I didn’t open to them. I didn’t call on them in distress, or if I needed help with something. I didn’t even tell people I missed them. I dealt with my emotions on my own. It was lonely without community.
Through Turners’s book, I can see how I have made choices to guard my feelings and my tender open heart. And how this protective energy came about only because I desperately wanted to be worthy and included, yet some how felt ‘other’ and excluded.
The deepest longing of my heart is to be accepted, not for what someones wants me to be, but for who I am. And I would wager that we all have that inside of us as people. The ‘I’m not enough’ comes up often in circles. It is often at the heart of every choice we make or don’t make in life. That particular wounding of un-belonging runs deep in our collective as we go about trying to prove our worth by being and doing more.
But as each of us does our inner work, thoroughly, we begin to return home to to ourselves. We enter the depths of the loving heart we are born with and come to see that our unbelonging was just a lie we chose to buy into.
I’m lovable because I say I am. I belong because I say I do. I can connect if I want to, and your response doesn’t make me any less or more.