In order to be able to open ourselves up totally we need to feel safe and we can only feel safe in a climate of acceptance and love. I do believe it is this open non judgemental acceptance which can free us and often it is given the name presence. Being present with someone, totally with no agenda is such a gift. It is about the best gift we can give to anyone who is struggling and has locked up things inside. People who are suffering don’t need to be told what to do.. they JUST NEED TO BE HEARD AND VALIDATED!!
For so many of us it wasn’t safe to fully express ourselves growing up. I know I suffered doubly from being at a Catholic School where it was soooo repressed. As kids we learned just to suck it up but I was listening to part of a radio play in which a young boy was sharing what a preacher had told him from the bible and saying how it was all about being bad and needing to be made not so bad, the inherent idea of original sin was a toxic poison so many of us imbibed with the rancid morning tea milk we were forced to drink that had become tarnished from being left outside too long in the sun. I know I used to gag on mine.
Its a very long journey to learn to be present to ourselves and not totally possessed by the voice of a voracious inner critic we internalised composed of all the things we were told about our badness or need for correction. And yes sometimes we do need to monitor behaviour but what we most categorically don’t need is blockage against knowing who we are and what we truly feel. And this can only begin to emerge in a climate of empathy and open presence. Being present for our own self and offering understanding compassion and love is in my experience the thing that most soothes my anxiety. Soothing comes from the love we give, increased anxiety comes from speaking to ourselves or others badly or in a critical or unloving way. We are all human and do it but we can all become more mindful of it too, we don’t have to be perfect just a bit more aware.