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Guest post by Jamie Catto
I’ve had a little break over the past weeks from posting as I’ve been enjoying some adventures on the island of Elba, off the coast of Tuscany with my partner, sailing the seas and then whizzing around on a moped, living la dolce vita…
I’m sharing this reflection today from my collaborator Jamie with whom I’m offering our workshop Bitches & Bastards in Brighton, UK the weekend after next.
The topic of intimate relating is one that we have bonded over during the years of our friendship, often lending a much needed compassionate listening ear and words of wisdom to each other. We’ve offered this workshop a number of times of the last years and it feels sweet to acknowledge the ways in which we’ve both grown since then, going from a fair amount of drama and heartache to both being in happy and grounded relationships now. Not that we’re immune to challenges in any way… but I do feel proud of the journey we’ve been on!
Although the possibility to be in a mature and loving relationship requires “inner work,” I believe that so much growth and healing comes from the medicines of humour and connection, as we becomes ruthlessly honest and aware, transparently sharing our failures and flops and learning to lovingly laugh at our imperfections.
“Everything starts healing by itself when I discard my mind’s first interpretation of what just hurt or worried me and catch myself (just in time!) to refrain from assuming the negative version that my mind just offered is ’the truth’.
The framing of what just happened is everything. My pessimistic or victim-led thinking, leaping in as a kind of immature and panicked self-protection, has sold itself as ‘real’ for so long I never used to question it, but I’ve learnt that on closer inspection, it’s the ‘meanings’ I add to ‘what just happened’, not so much the thing itself, that really hurts me, and nearly ALL of the time I am misinterpreting others’ intentions.
“That means they don’t love me.”
“That means they don’t respect me.”
“That means they don’t care about my feelings.”
“That means I’m worthless or a failure.”
“That means I’m unwelcome.”
None of it means that. You hear me?
When I stay present and awake in those moments and notice my body reactions and negative thinking trying to seduce me, I am less quick to get sucked in. I remember that I can also choose to consider giving them or the catastrophic version the benefit of the doubt, suspend judgement, even dare an optimistic attitude for once? A least a more balanced view – even when the reactive churning is taking place.
Do they really have no respect for your feelings? Or might they have just been tired or distracted that day with their own melodrama?
Let’s let each other, and ourselves, off the hook! I’m calling an amnesty for all knee jerk pessimism and overreaction, startingggggggggggg….
- Jamie Catto