For a several years, I’ve been aware of a young blond girl who inhabits my subconscious. She came to be once when I was consumed by fear and anxiety. Meditating on that fear, I saw this girl, 6 or 7 years old, with long, straight blonde hair, who rocked in the corner of a room, trembling in fear and crying. Eventually, I was able to go to her and take her into my arms, comforting her. I’m aware of her as my little Fear Girl, the one who’s communicating with me when I feel deathly afraid, insecure, or anxious. She’s shown up to me many times, once when I was overcome by despair, sitting on the edge of my bed. Suddenly I felt a presence there, a young girl, who came to me and hugged me, in a moment of my supreme loneliness and fear. She doesn’t have a name, or I haven’t heard it. But I know she’s there.
Recently, discussing a new dating situation with a friend of mine, I described my feelings of anxiety and agitation by saying that the situation was triggering all my ‘Little Girl with a Rejecting Daddy’ stuff. It’s the same little girl. She’s sensitive. She’s exuberant. She just wants to be loved and to give love. But she’s so afraid and confused by her loneliness and by peoples’ reactions to her, that she sometimes hides in a corner to cry.
One of my first memories is of being in a high chair in the house of family friends where my family stayed as my parents looked for a house in the area to buy. My father, at least in my memory (I don’ t know if this really happened this way) is laughing at me as I cry, desperately, because my mother has just left the house. I want her back. The feeling is of desperate loneliness and of not being taken seriously. I cry and cry. And all I get is laughter and mockery. And I can’t leave because I’m trapped in the high chair.
I saw a counselor once who helped me revisit this scene. He helped me visualize my older self coming into the room, taking the girl out of the high chair, and out the door, over to the park that was – in real life – across the street from the house. In my new vision, we play in the park. There’s a dog. The sun is shining. We throw a ball and the girl’s white-blond hair is limned with sunlight.
Getting to know this little girl has helped me understand so much of what’s driving my emotional responses, especially the ones that feel difficult and desperate. When I’m anxious or afraid and I can remember to be this self-aware, I will go visit her and take her in my arms again. I tell her she’s going to be okay, and that I will protect her. I feel her relax in my arms. I feel myself relax.
Most of us have one or two deep, soul-shaking issues that we carry with is on our life journeys. For whatever reason, they are imprinted on us; they are the patterns that we revisit over and over in our lives, trying to come to some resolution. Wherever these patterns come from, one way to understand them deeply is to personify them, to envision the characteristics they would have if they were a sentient being. What age are they? What gender? Are they even human, or do they take a different form? What do they look like? What are their characteristics? Often, when we personify our deepseated issues in the form of a being in this way, we can have more empathy for them, we can separate ourselves from them to a certain extent, and we can work on how we relate to them, so we can give them — and ourselves — what they (and we) need.
My little blond girl needs to feel safe, protected, and loved. As do most children, she looked for this from other people but didn’t receive what she needed. Now she’s extremely sensitive to rejection or abandonment, even if only perceived. It sends her into paroxysms of confusion and despair, often way more than the situation dictates. The role I can play is to acknowledge her when she makes her fear known, and go to her with a hug and comforting words. I can be the adult who actually IS there for her.
How about you? Have you characterized any of your emotional experiences in this way? How do you use this image to help yourself when you experience difficult emotions?
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As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.— Eckhart Tolle
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