I was having a 1:1 session with a talented young woman recently. We’ve been working for a number of years now. She knows what the inner work can do. After all, it helped her through her A-levels and admission to medical school.
But this last session was intense. A lot of pain and raw emotion was surfacing. She’s incredibly brave so she was staying with the process. Yet I could ‘hear’ some resistance coming up in the background. Why go through this pain? Why not just shut down? It’s all too much.
And here’s why not. When you shut down uncomfortable emotions, they don’t disappear. They settle in your body biding their time. Every time a similar situation arises, those same feelings resurface. Except with each time they get stronger. Have you experienced a situation where you exploded over something seemingly minor? Well, that’s probably because you haven’t had the opportunity to express your feelings in the moment many times before. So, it does come out eventually, and normally, it’s not pretty.
The first reason why you may avoid exploring your inner landscape is because it can be intense and painful.
Instead, you may resort to shutting down. There’s nothing wrong with shutting down, by the way. Humans are incredibly resourceful. If you couldn’t shut down at some points in our life, you wouldn’t be able to function in this world. But there comes a point when you are strong enough and can look at your ‘stuff’, because carrying it becomes more unbearable than the prospect of feeling it.
A second reason why you may resist turning within is because you have to re-experience something which you’d rather you hadn’t experienced in the first place.
I was working with someone recently who said, ‘I feel like I’m acting like a 7 year old.’ Interestingly, something similar had happened when she was 7. The circumstances were different of course, but the feeling was the same. When you are young and difficult things happen in your life, you often don’t have the vocabulary, capacity or the right support to process it. The best you can do at that time is to stuff the feeling down, pretend all is well and march through life like nothing bad had happened. Except, the feeling gets stirred up from time to time reminding you that there’s some unfinished business that requires your attention. (Un)Fortunately, until you feel and consciously release that pain, it’s not going to ‘just’ disappear.
A third reason why you may struggle with the inner work is because it’s often involves those near and dear to us.
Most of your patterns form when you are very little. Guess who are the people involved in those situations? Your mum and dad, brother(s) and sister(s), favourite teachers and close friends. Discomfort in feeling ‘negative’ feelings can be palpable: it’s as if you are being disloyal or disrespectful towards them. I remember working with another young woman who connected with the younger version of herself who hated her mother. The shock and discomfort in her voice was tangible.
But here’s the thing: your loved ones did their very best with the resources that they had at their disposal at that time. The point of healing old wounds is not to judge them, but rather to feel whatever you felt towards them in that moment. Whatever your feelings, it’s not the whole truth. The fact that you hated them at a certain point doesn’t mean that you didn’t love them wholeheartedly as well. Here’s the paradox of the work I do: if you allow yourself to feel those old feelings, you can set yourself free, along with your loved ones.
Finally, you may evade inner work because you fear to open up the floodgates.
I certainly had that resistance myself. My story was that I had so much stored anger that if I opened up, it’d overwhelm me and I won’t be able to function. It was never a good time.
In my experience of healing and helping others, stuff comes up in proportions that we can handle right now. If something is coming up, you are strong enough to face it.
One final observation: resistance is to be celebrated. It comes up when there’s something worthwhile to look at. It’s not to be feared or judged.
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P.S. After I wrote this post, I realised that you may have no idea what I do and why I do it. So here’s a brief summary of what I do and who I help:
- Are you trying to finish a book or a project which is not moving forward as fast as you’d like? Perhaps you procrastinate a lot? Or get stuck from time to time?
- Or perhaps you are a published author, but despite all your efforts at marketing, you can’t sell many books?
- Maybe you feel like you can’t be fully ‘you’ in your job and relationship?
- While you love being creative, you are constantly plagued with
– What if no one cares what I’ve got to say?
– What if they reject me?
– What if my writing is not literary enough?
– What if I fail?
– What if I succeed?
It’s not easy to express yourself clearly without self-censorship, when your self-doubts and fear of rejection get in the way. Not only they stifle your creativity, but they also stop you from approaching the best agent or publisher, because deep down you believe your writing is not good enough. You miss on opportunities and may settle for whatever you can get.
I can help you to release your what if’s and fears so that the world can hear your stories.
My biggest passion is to help women to be heard and seen. I can help you to release your fears of judgment, rejection or criticism so that you can put your writing out into the world and connect with as many readers as you meant to. It’s a deeply healing work, and once you learn the techniques, you can do them anywhere anytime.
Why do I do this?
I come from a small town in Azerbaijan where women had to be invisible to survive. Women’s voices and what they had to say didn’t count. I witnessed women around me playing small. On top of that cultural layer, the Soviet ideology taught people not to stick out.
So at some point in my life, I decided to speak up on behalf of people who may never be heard otherwise. I did a PhD in law championing the rights of minorities. I figured that was the least I could do to help the marginalised. Ten+ years on, I realise how ineffective and even patronising it is to speak up on behalf of others.
This is why I’m working with women, helping them to get out of their own way. You can speak up for yourself, in the way only you can. If you are struggling to be more visible, I can help.
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