“I love you, I’m sorry…”

by Annie Kaszina on October 1, 2009

“I love you, I’m sorry…”

 

 

Today I revisited one of those dark places of the soul. 

 

I sit here with brilliant sunlight streaming in through my window as I write this and think back to what my coach once said to me about those dark places that we – I – fall back into. 

 

She said: “The more you move on, the more the Universe likes to test you.  It’s as if the Universe is saying: ‘Okay! You’ve learned how to cope at that level.  But what happens when we up the ante?  What happens if we throw you a curve ball when you are least expecting it?’”

 

Because personal growth is all about learning how to deal more and more effectively with ‘stuff’. 

 

It’s about learning to deal better, and faster, with the things that ‘Life’ throws at us, and get back on track feeling good about yourself and your life.

 

Just as an abusive relationship creates a downward spiral into despair and self-loathing; recovery and personal growth require that we create an upwards spiral into self-worth and faith.

 

Faith in ourselves, obviously.  (Not the kind of crazy, disempowered faith we once placed in an abusive man, because we had too little love for ourselves ever to truly believe that we held anything good inside ourselves.)

 

So today another challenge landed at my door, a slow travelling product of old, negative patterns and beliefs. (These old patterns and beliefs lumber slowly through space to ‘re-attach’ themselves to us when we hesitate momentarily in our onward movement; and, sometimes, even when we do not.)   

 

After wrestling with this challenge for a while, I finally got it; I understood another piece of the puzzle of consistently creating joy and happiness in life.

 

I don’t know if you have heard of Ho’oponopono, as described in Dr Joe Vitale’s book: “Zero Limits”.  Ho’oponopono is described as: “The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More”.

 

This System consists, essentially, of repeating just four phrases:

 

 

“I love you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Please forgive me.”

“Thank you.”

 

Now, I won’t go into the way the book develops its thesis, only how I connected with those phrases today. 

 

Working with abused women, and working with myself, I could hardly fail to notice how good we are at ‘stacking misery’. We stack misery when we pile one strongly felt state on top of another; the result is a very intensely felt emotion. 

 

In case you are in any doubt about how this works, let me explain it to you.  Something upsetting happens.  Within a fairly short time (it may be hours, minutes, or even seconds) you think of another time when something else upsetting happened, and another, and another.  In other words, you pile one upset on another, on another, until you end up feeling utterly helpless and powerless. 

 

So, in concrete terms, you start from the trigger: something upsetting in the here and now.  An element of shame may come into it; you may ask yourself: “how could I let that happen to me?”  (Because shame is never far from an abused woman’s consciousness.)  And then you start to explain it to yourself: “I did X, because I felt awful, and I felt awful because this had happened to me, and …”

 

Before you know it, you have listed upsets from last month, last year, and ten years (or more) ago, to justify your initial response to the upset.

 

And how do you feel?

 

Terrible.

 

That’s exactly what I was doing today. 

 

And then I finally got it. 

 

I was still punishing myself. 

 

Over recent months a family member has behaved less than well.  I’ve revisited that person’s behaviour rather often.  (I was upset.)

 

And I was punishing myself.

 

What happens, happens.  Period.  It has nothing to do with ‘being our fault’ or ‘not being our fault’.  It just happens.

 

We don’t have to punish ourselves.

 

It serves no useful purpose.

 

And yet we do.

 

Doing so keeps us stuck in the same loop: stacking misery, feeling powerless, staying stuck.

 

I decided it was time to clean up my dialogue with myself.  I can’t change what’s happened, and I certainly can’t change other people. 

 

But I can choose whether or not I want to remain stuck in pointless shame and pain. I can choose whether I want to sink, or swim.

 

And so I apologised to myself for keeping myself stuck like that, for ‘stacking misery’:

 

“I love you; I’m sorry.” 

 

I finally got it: it’s not about the other person, or the event, it’s about us.  It's about whether we create misery or happiness for ourselves.

 

What is the point of using a trigger to punish ourselves? And how will we ever know if we have punished ourselves enough?

 

What happens when we let go?

 

“I love you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Please forgive me.”

“Thank you.”

 

When will you give yourself a break?

 

 “I love you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Please forgive me.”

“Thank you.”

 

 

 

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