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Stepping Out of the Shadows/[Re]Connecting With
Your Life's Journey

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Healing Your Wounds

By Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.

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Give to Ourselves What We Gladly Give To Others

Compassion for myself is the most powerful healer of them all.
-Theodore Isaac Rubin

Healing will envelop our soul as we embrace the belief “I deserve”.

“Why do I keep putting myself in these situations? It seems like I’m always setting myself up for a big fall! Every time I think that there’s the slightest glimmer of hope, the slightest reason to believe that I’m changing things around for myself, boom, I fall right back into it.”

Mikey and I were taking our Sunday walk along the lakefront, talking about the ways we manage to trip over ourselves. 

“Mikey, what happened?” I asked.

“I really thought I was better able to see it coming this time. I thought I understood all I needed to understand so that it wouldn’t happen again.”

“Understand what, Mikey?” I asked, still not understanding anything.

“I thought by figuring it out, I wouldn’t step back into it, you know what I mean?”

“No, I don’t know what you mean,” I told Mikey.

"I thought I had fixed me, but I still keep falling back.

“Wouldn’t you think that just once, I would be with someone who cared about me for me. But noooo, I always set things up so that I find someone who needs me, but doesn’t have a clue about how to care about me.

          “Sure, I know all the signs, but time after time, I find myself right back in the circle. I know I feel safest when I’m needed. I know I believe the only reason anyone would want anything to do with me is because I’m like a loyal St. Bernard, always coming to the rescue. I know I should believe that someone could actually value me for me but noooo, have you ever seen me try that tact before?”

I was running out of ways to get Mikey to explain to me what happened, so I just went along with his soliloquy.

“No, Mikey, I’ve never seen you try that tact before.”

“And do you know why that is?”

“No, Mikey, why?”

“Because, I can’t picture myself being with someone without all the chaos, without all the noise that goes with being needed. I know my part in that drama real well.

“But I would be lost in any other play. I think I would be second-guessing myself a lot, you know questioning myself. You know why that is, don’t you?”

“No, Mikey, why?

“Cause I just can’t get past these feelings that I don’t deserve it any other way. These feelings that it can’t possibly be any other way, that I can’t be any other way.”

“Mikey, come on man, what the hell’s this all about?”

"As long as I’m pouring all of my attention and energy into my partner, it’s draining and it’s lonely. But you know what, the truth of the matter is, it’s safe as hell. I don’t have to risk very much. Well, at least, risk having to show myself to anyone else.

“You know what the real truth is, Steve?”

"Mikey, I lost sight of that ten minutes ago.”

“The truth is I don’t know how to let someone care about me. I think I would crawl right out of my skin. Answer me this--just how do you let someone care about you when you don’t believe you deserve it, when you feel like everything in this world carries a price tag, that things are bought and paid for but never simply offered and received?”

“Mikey, I don’t know how to answer that, but you know man, I care about you.”

“Yea, yea. I know and I appreciate that, I really do. But you know what, I don’t always feel right about that either. There were times that I just didn’t feel like I deserved it. Man, it’s hard to explain. But to be honest with you, that’s why I used to disappear so much. I just couldn’t let it in for too long, still can’t really.

“I always knew how hard it was for you, that’s why I would back off, as well. But, we got past that.”

          “Yea, but I can’t get past that with the women in my life. I feel so trapped. On one hand, I keep setting myself up to take care of the world and then when the world doesn’t give me anything back, I become angry and resentful. On the other hand, I don’t dare try to do it any differently because I’m afraid of letting anyone be there for me.

“I’m afraid that I’ll be a disappointment to them, that they’ll be put off by who I am. Even if they get through that maze, I just don’t feel like I deserve to be cared about.”

Mikey is a prisoner of his emotional needs and how he chooses to get them met. The thing that Mikey is unable to tap into is a sense of entitlement. But you know one of the most profound shifts that I witness most people go through is precipitated by letting into their lives two little words, I deserve. When those two words become a part of our heart and soul, we can move mountains.  

Those two simple words can set us free from the messages we feed ourselves. The messages that ooze from the toxins that infect the wounds we have inflicted upon ourselves. The messages that limit our opportunities to grow and become who we’re most capable of being.

I never cease to be amazed at the power that these two words hold for us once we embrace them with all of our being. Think about it for a moment.

Do you embrace with all of your being the fact that you’re deserving of a life that’s an expression of who you are?

Do you embrace with all of your being that you’re deserving of a life that fills you with an abundance of love and support?

Do you embrace with all of your being that you’re deserving of a life that reflects who you are rather than what you’re afraid of being?

Do you embrace with all of your being that you’re deserving of having people in your life who support rather than undermine your well-being?

Can you see how the process of healing is developing an unabiding belief--a belief that we’re deserving of the things we dare to dream about? Can you see how believing we’re deserving will bring an end to the tyranny of worthlessness that we’ve imposed upon ourselves?

Let’s take this a step further.

Do you recognize what your own self-imposed limits are?

Do you recognize the areas of your life that cause you pain because you deny that you deserve it to be any different?

Do you recognize how your life’s a perpetual conflict between what you want and what you allow yourself to have?

Do you recognize how not believing you deserve to become who you were meant to be keeps you hidden in the shadows?

Has any of this struck a chord with you? If so, it helps to do more than make a passing nod at the questions. Putting things down on paper makes things more concrete, more difficult to ignore. Do yourself the favor of learning something about how you deny yourself, how you deny your very destiny.

Write down how your life is affected by not maintaining the belief I deserve.

Now it’s time to create a vision. A very special vision. A vision that deserves your special consideration. A vision of what your life would be like if you sprinkled your life with those two simple yet powerful words, I deserve.

Is there a solution to all that we have denied ourselves?  The same simple act I mentioned in the last chapter. The act? It’s so fundamental to our growth, it bears being mentioned again and again and again. Forgiveness! Forgiveness! Forgiveness! There’s no getting away from it.

Are you starting to see the link between forgiving ourselves and believing we deserve all those things our journey offers us. Don’t be fooled by this simple step. Many of us will push it away. Many of us will fight its impact upon our lives. Many of us will even question the necessity of taking this step.

I watch how people discard this simple step for something that is more palatable or more profound in its complexity. But rarely have I seen a person who fought the idea of forgiving themselves, not eventually come around to seeing the wisdom of forgiving themselves.

And the truth of the matter is, it will likely happen exactly that way for you as well.



Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at drfrisch@aliveandwellnews.com  or at
(847) 604-3290.

Recover from chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. Recovery book series.


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