In this Healing Chronic Illness blog series, author, Gupta Program Coach and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome survivor Jen Evans shares insights from the recovery journey
I have spent a lifetime looking for someone else to recognise the light within me and to nourish it for me, to save me, praise me and support my every need. I have pleased, appeased, achieved, helped, played the victim, played the victor, and lost myself in endless fantasies that fulfilled the need to be SEEN, HEARD and VALUED.
Have I been a selfish, arrogant, misguided, bad, narcissistic person?
Have I been unlucky - attracting hurtful, critical, belittling people who think they deserve more time and space than me?
Have all these experiences just proved that I am not good enough, not worthy of living a full and empowered life?
These are questions and assumptions I was stuck beneath for so much of my life. Hitting rock bottom in illness led me to observe what was going on internally, and then made space to learn why these things were actually happening.
Let’s rewind back to childhood.
I didn’t have support for my true self when I was young - my emotions, my reactions, my thoughts and desires, my interests. This was hurtful, it was felt as a threat to my actual existence. It was a constant source of trauma. So I developed multiple complex ego strategies to get saved, praised and supported. It’s a black hole of need though. And it’s all a projection of that original need that never got met - I needed my parents and family to recognise my unique self and to nourish and support it. They didn’t, in fact, they actively squashed it and humiliated it (I attach no blame to them now, I can see that they were only repeating what happened to them. How awful for them and all those who came before them in this ancestral line of pain).
Therefore I shut that unique light away so deeply that even I forgot about it. And if it ever tried to surface - if I felt the pull towards desire, to delight, to flow and fulfillment - crushing fear and panic would set in. Or illness. My subconscious had learnt to protect me from being my true self, it feels unsafe, actually, truly treacherous to be myself.
And so I have spent a life sending that light back into exile. That’s where depression and alcohol dependency really came in as strategies to numb and escape the deep existential pain of living a half life, a life divorced from my energetic centre. A life riddled with physical and mental illness.
My true authentic self is my energetic centre. I was taught to hate, hide and ignore all messages from this authentic self. I was taught to do things that prevented rage and humiliation. That was the life I went on to live in adulthood - one of constantly dodging pain and hurt. It in no way involved engaging with joy, groundedness, flow or passion. I lived a thin echo of a life. It was in no way aligned to my skills, interests or joys. Anything that brought me close to these created panic and breakdown in my system, so I pushed them away even more.
Gut instincts were ignored and numbed, passions were cast as a waste of time, and resources and energy were a finite resource I could never get enough of because I was broken somehow, probably genetically lacking and therefore disposed to illness, tiredness and difficult emotions.
Of course this was all a lie, beliefs passed down the generations to keep that authentic self locked away. Now I can see it from afar, it’s like looking at a gardener who craves growing a beautiful rose in the centre of their garden, but cuts back or stamps on the emergent bud as it breaks through the Earth towards sunlight. But the gardener is convinced that the bud is a weed and a danger to their plans. They had a vision of what the rose should look like as it breaks into life, so they keep smashing back the new bud over and over and then raging over the lack of a rose in their garden.
They could not recognise the beauty as it grew. They thought it should look or behave differently so they killed it off. They never tended to the bud or let it be exactly as it is, naturally doing it’s own thing and when it’s ready, blooming into the most beautiful expression of its potential. But that gardener will never see that, because they are crushed by negative beliefs and expectations. They fear truth and nature. They feel they must control the outcome to get what they want. They must control the outcome to stay safe.
The only thing they get though is more pain, more disappointment, more negativity.
When you realise that the light inside you has been locked away behind walls of fear and shame, all you need to do to start with is nourish that light, let it grow and glow, tend to it gently and with care and compassion, encouragement and a beaming smile. Because that is what the light always needed - a guide, a parent, a gardener, someone so in love with it that it gets fed and watered and cared for it to let it grow to its full natural potential. It does not need editing or pruning or training to fit with anyone or anything else. It is the seed that needs nourishment to self actualise and bloom into the uniqueness it holds within.
Notice the fear that comes up when starting to do this. Just recognise it and thank that part of us in protection mode, but show it the truth now, all you have learnt: it is safer and greater to be your true self than to keep it small and hidden in the dark.
So first, nourish that light. Tend to it. Make no plans to do anything with it (ie outcomes), only make plans to do things with it and for it. Love it like it always needed. Feed it. Tend to it. Comfort and care for it. Let it grow and glow.
Then it will become your energy source. Your previous energy drain was due to the light being shut away and ignored, untended and malnourished.
We must become the parents, the family, the community that we never had growing up. We must redo what has been done, rewrite beliefs and behaviours, to return to our true vital self. If we try to rely on the old ways, the ‘normal’ ways, the easy ways, then we will not change and we can not heal.
We have to action change to actually change. And the change, in my experience, is always to love oneself in the way that we always needed but never got from our caregivers. It’s recognising what they taught us, and how we have been using those teachings subconsciously to live our lives ever since. We have continually fed our shame and defeat, our victimhood and our desperation to be seen and heard and understood. But they never got us what we truly wanted and needed. If it did, we would not be suffering now and looking for answers, looking for a different way, looking for a cure for all this pain and dis-ease.
The antidote to all of this is - listen to that inner child who suffered and is alone in their suffering. Listen listen listen some more. Then ask her, what do you need? How can we work together to find that now? What nourishment can I give you to release your desperate search for love and acceptance? Maybe that nourishment is in the question - I can give you love and acceptance. I can give you what you never had but have been searching for with every strategy, addiction, action, failure and illness. Here, here it is. Can you accept it?
For guidance and practice to develop a connection to true self and nourishing your deepest needs using the Gupta Program tools, join me for a one-off 75 minute taster coaching session on 3rd March 2022, book your space here!