I am revisiting topics here.
And although I have the thought that I should write on “new” topics I see the value of revisiting. It feels fresh and new to me even if I know I have written about it before. Each time, I am likely to do it from slightly different angles. I may discover something new for myself. And with about 10,000 articles here, it doesn’t hurt to put topics back on top of the list of articles.
So here is an old one going back to my teens: Good friends don’t buy into our stressful stories.
Of course, if we wish to hold onto our stressful stories, then good friends are those who tend to support them. They show their sympathy by listening to and agreeing with our stressful stories.
But if we wish to be more aligned with reality and find freedom from our stressful stories, then good friends are those who don’t buy into them. They still listen and are present with us. They still show sympathy since they know the pain of stressful stories. But they don’t buy into the stories in themselves.
They know, from own experience, that stressful stories mask pain and hurt, and that this pain and hurt wants to feel heard, met, listened to, and allowed. They may know that stressful stories hold no absolute or final truth, and the liberation of clearly seeing this for any specific story that’s here and finding specific examples of the validity in the reversals.
So how to be a good friend to others, especially when they are interested in finding healing for these parts of themselves? Listen. Listen for the fear and pain that often is behind the stressful stories. Ask what they would like from you, and what would be most helpful. After a while, perhaps suggest that this can be explored later on.
In some situations, we may have the experience and skills to guide this exploration, and they may ask us for it. Or we may mention that we are available now or later if they wish to explore it.
We can do this exploring in a range of ways.
It could be asking the triggered part what I want us to know. How it is experiencing the situation. Have a dialog with it. Thank it for (wishing to) protect us. Help it to see what it really wishes for us. Help it to see what happens when it comes up as it tends to do. Invite it to explore different ways of coming up that may be more helpful to us, and more aligned with what it really wants for us (usually, a good life).
We can do it by inviting in a noticing and allowing of what’s here – the sensations, words, and mental images. Notice. Allow. Notice it’s already allowed (by life, space, awakeness, the mind). Rest with what’s here. Notice, allow, and rest with the sensations. Notice and allow the fears that may come up when we initially do this.
We can do it by identifying and investigating the stressful beliefs, for instance through The Work.
Also, after they have expressed what they wish to express, and had some time to rest with it, we could offer a simple mix of these according to what seems most helpful. Invite in noticing and allowing what’s here and rest with it for a while. Invite in noticing and resting with the sensation component. Invite in a noticing that this part of us that’s triggered is here to protect us. Invite in different and potentially liberating perspectives.
Often, it won’t be quite as systematic or formal as described here. But some of this may happen spontaneously according to what seems appropriate and helpful in the situation. And we may notice that something in us is triggered by what they share, do some of this for ourselves, and perhaps mention it.
If we are on a path of discovery, healing, and aligning ourselves more closely with reality, it’s helpful to find friends who are doing the same. They can help us shift out of stressful stories, and perhaps even help us explore them. And we can do the same for them, and for ourselves. We can be a good friend to ourselves in this way. And in each of these three ways, we create a new culture within ourselves as individuals and among ourselves as groups of people with this shared orientation.