Who knew Chinese Medicine could completely change how you see the world? I work with Chinese Medicine and have been using Classical Chinese Medicine to help people improve their internal dialogue and transform their daily interactions. They are the bravest people I know. Sometimes, to change your outlook on life, you have to face your darkest fear.
I know – you don’t have a dark fear. Your life is good. You feel sorry for those people who have these dark fears and realize they must have come from a very troubled house.
To be afraid of something can be a healthy response. In fact, celebrated when the response keeps you safe. What happens when fear isn’t a response to something that can harm you but is a reaction to a current event? What happens when fear is the internal emotional turbulence which affects your interactions with others and not your physical safety?
It made me think of how we communicate. I thought about the verbal and physical body language. When I started working with Classical Chinese Medicine to bring your internal dialogue back into harmony, I became captivated with communication.
You have a family where you were taught behaviors, emotions, community, and more. These experiences and learnings you applied outside your family and found friends and relationships based on what you learned growing up.
I worked in large Corporations. I moved and traveled a lot. Finally, travel became exhausting. At first, it had been an exciting experience of different social and cultural norms, different ways of communication, different expectations. After years, I found it draining and stressful. When I made my last move, I remember looking for a location with people who had similar values to where I grew up without the snow.
When my husband and I finally met, I was tired of the dating scene, the bar scene, and the lack of connection. The lack of connection was probably the biggest concern. If you can’t connect, how can you be understood? If you can’t connect, how can you recognize somebody?
The whole world is based on interactions. Everything is this noisy box of you reaching out to connect and reacting to your interpretation of the feedback. You change behaviors or environments to attain the most emotionally pleasing response. And you rinse and repeat.
These experiences taught me communication was more than words and body language. Part of the conversation was discounted. Part of what happens in communication was social norms, shared experiences, social conduct, and cultural expectations. Yet, when I was looking for something familiar, what I was really looking for was the ability to connect. I was looking for a connection based on prior experience. And all my previous experiences created my internal dialogue.
So, the most emotionally pleasing response was not necessarily a good one.
I had a client who had to give presentations. He had thought he was horrible at giving presentations, and he wasn’t valuable enough to speak to other people. This would cause him nervous anxiety. He would sweat and shake, and it would take over his mind. Though what he was thinking was not reflected from the outside world, he couldn’t see that. His prior experiences had created an internal perception of himself that he could not give up. And then his mind started taking over. The brain does that. If the lesson was you are not valuable enough, but your outside environment is not reflecting back that information, there is disbelief. The disbelief encourages the internal chatter to increase until you overcome or succumb.
Most times we succumb and continue to live a life we don’t want to live.
I think the people I work with are the bravest people I know. When you want to change, you have to face these internal demons or acknowledge they exist. This chatter that you learned from your youth insidiously plays in your head. The chatter is background noise that keeps playing over and over. It’s your self-judgment and self-criticism. It says things like I can’t do that. I’m not worth that. I’m not that. The talk is so entrenched in your psyche that you don’t even hear it anymore. Still, every one of your interactions is tuned in and ensures you stay in the role created in your head.
By seeking what is familiar, you are guaranteed to play out the role you are playing in your head.
I had another client who finally left a horrible relationship and found a fantastic partner. Not an easy thing to do. But, even with a great partner, the internal dialogue played its insidious tune in the back of their mind, “You are not worth this relationship. They will leave you. It’s not safe…” It was scary to be so vulnerable. It was scary to find yourself in a position that actually challenged your internal dialogue. It was frightening to go after a connection you really wanted because if that failed, would it prove all your worse inner beliefs about yourself?
These thoughts are life-threatening because you can’t get away from yourself. So, they can destroy your life.
When faced with something life-threatening, you get busy. Busy, busy, busy, so you don’t have to hear that little voice in the back of your mind scaring you. You work really hard to stop hearing that voice. And the endless activity is part of the destructive sequence of finally succumbing to your past and seeking something familiar.
Why this ultimately becomes destructive is by being busy you are avoiding the “problem.” You are trying to repress the fear. Fear is uncomfortable, so who wouldn’t want to suppress that? In Chinese Medicine, when you try to avoid examining an emotion, it causes energy to block in your body. The energy is blocked, but the feeling doesn’t go away. Instead, it gets bigger and bigger. Like a river flowing to a dam, the water doesn’t stop, and the dam creates a pond, then a lake, then an ocean. Finally, it breaks the barrier and causes massive flooding downstream.
When your dam breaks, you retreat from the thing that is causing you the discomfort and seek more familiar shores. Every time you reach for what you really want, you are challenging what you were taught to believe about yourself. You are stepping out of your safety zone of what is known and entering into a free fall. Can you trust yourself enough to know you will survive?
Dams are managed because without letting water out in controlled spills, the water will destroy the dam.
For you to change your world and obtain a bigger and better life, you have to face your internal fears in controlled bursts. Fear is the problem. The fear may be a belief that acknowledging what your inner dialogue is saying about you will make it true. That is not what happens. By avoiding your internal dialogue, you create the energetic back-up, which will ultimately destroy your dam and your chance of changing. By hearing your inner talk, you allow the tremendous internal sadness that has attached to each one of those self-judgments and criticisms to be released from you. You allow yourself the opportunity to be present in the current moment instead of the past.
One of the beauties of Chinese Medicine is its ability to identify the blocks and help open the gates allowing the stream of emotions to come through in a safe environment. You can see these emotions in their raw presentation, without fear, and they become understandable and lose their power to control you.
Other things help you face your fear. Meditation can allow your mind to release the fear. Writing will enable you to free form and find a way to your own answers. Friends, counseling, music, positive affirmations.
Fear that has no basis in our physical well-being has a basis in our mental well-being. My inner dialogue is my opportunity to change my world. Every day is an opportunity to face my fears. Finding what the fear is hiding is the puzzle. As soon as you can find what fear was hiding and acknowledge it, you release it.
Good-luck on your journey.