Cyndy is a gestalt therapist living in Bellingham, WA and a member of the Bellingham Meet-up. She’s the author of two books that I know of!
ON TELLING OURSELVES OUR TRUTH….
“When you live in complete acceptance of what is, that’s the end of all drama in your life.” Eckhart Tolle
MANY ARE AFRAID, that, if they tell themselves the truth, they may have to quit their job, get a divorce, become homeless, etc.
There’s another way of looking at this. I don’t have to do anything right now. Instead I might want to live with my truth for some time, even if it’s troublesome to me.
Maybe it will change by itself. Sometimes just acknowledging my truth allows for something new to emerge in my being. Often it’s unexpected and a surprise.
Telling myself my truth in the moment refers to self-talk: I feel mad; I feel anxious in my solar plexus; I feel tearful; I feel nothing right now.
This is not about telling an objective truth about what happened in Syria today, or what the US president says is true. It’s a statement about my inner awareness of my feelings & sensations in this moment.
There’s a word some therapists use a lot, which is CONGRUENT. When we’re congruent, our thoughts, feelings and behavior are in alignment.
When we’re INCONGRUENT, one part of us is saying one thing; another saying something else. For example, a mother harshly yelling at her young son says “Of course I love you.” Clearly the mother is incongruent, and thus the child will be confused.
When we tell ourselves our truth (in the Now) we’re probably congruent, even if we don’t like the truth we’ve stated. When we don’t tell ourselves our truth, we become irritable, despondent, anxious, etc. We’re fighting ourselves: We don’t want to be where we are right now. So we feel the tension between now and where we want to be.
I’ve seen so many move from one of these states when they tell the truth to themselves to being relieved and in alignment if just for the moment. And then something new might emerge, often something unexpected.
Lying to ourselves can become a self-defeating pattern many seem to have. People say they care about one another, when they might not in the moment.
It goes like this:
Some who are attracted to spiritual and psychological practices take them on as a new set of SHOULDS. I should meditate, I should raise my consciousness, etc. I should love everybody.
We take these new SHOULDS in and swallow them whole rather than taking the time to try them on, taste them, see if they’re right for us. When we SWALLOW WHOLE, things often don’t digest well and they become a prescription from the outside instead of a desire from the inside.
Many work very hard to be perfect people and often don’t know what to do when they observe parts of themselves that aren’t so perfect.
For example they might suddenly feel judgmental towards someone or want to pull away from them. They aren’t able to accept their own judgmental qualities (in the moment). So they aren’t aligned with themselves as part of them is saying one thing and another part is saying something else and then on top of that they’re then feeling self critical, anxious, or confused.
THE PARADOXICAL THEORY OF CHANGE, an important concept in Gestalt Therapy, invites us to acknowledge and accept our truth in the moment without labeling it as good or bad or positive or negative. It just is.
Doing so allows us to be congruent with ourselves. Then something new can emerge in the next moment, or the next… If I do start to disagree with my truth rather then accept it I’m then expending energy fighting myself, which usually ends up with my becoming anxious or distracted.
It’s normal to go through a lot of experiences, thoughts and feelings every day. The more we can accept these in the moment the more aligned and congruent we are. Accepting what’s true in the moment doesn’t mean I have to like it. It means I’m accepting moments about myself that I don’t like. And that’s fine. I’m not fighting myself.
AN EXPERIMENT TO TRY: Say a number of sentences (to yourself) starting with “At this moment my truth is … I am sad,” or “I am upset”, or whatever. Make it a short sentence. The more you do this, without programming yourself to do what you think is the right thing, the more you’ll eventually accept more of yourself. And that’s the paradox! We change from moment to moment. We’re in motion all of the time, even while asleep—as even our breathing moves us.
Cyndy is a Gestalt therapist and teacher, currently living in Bellingham WA