Ever since I was young, family was everything.
From the moment I was born, the first others I felt and saw were my family. I was the first-born child on both my mother’s and father’s side – and there was much celebration and many photo shoots, family gatherings and doting, just about me. From the very beginning, I was deeply loved and cared for. From my Mum and Dad, aunties and uncles to the grandparents, I took centre stage. Every move was watched, every word spoken and heard. I was the golden child with everything laid at my feet. With all of this attention, there was nothing I could do that was wrong.
With all the fussing came something underlying. I felt exalted, not just from being me, but for what it was I could do. I was the one others could tell their friends about and boast to their neighbours about. I was the ultimate distraction for many from their own lives. In all this, the expectations were enormous. The first-born baby and a son, too. What would become of me? Would I become a builder like my grandfathers? Maybe an engineer? Maybe I was so intelligent that I could become a doctor or lawyer? This would make everyone proud, to see the first-born son become something great.
I soon learned that if I acted in a certain way, more attention came my way. If I smiled on cue, did things that made people laugh and did all the things that pleased them, there was much in it for me. I could get my needs met at the drop of a hat and all the attention I wanted.
This was all rosy, with it all going my way; I had it made, or so I thought. But next came something that really rocked my little bubble – along came some brothers and then sisters and I was no longer ‘the one.’ Now there were others that were smaller and cuter and who got all the attention. How could I compete with this?
There was no amount of looking brighter or being better that could compete with what I was up against, so by trial and error I found what worked for me was going into my shell. In the withdrawal, the attention came again; not in the form previously, but nevertheless it was there and at this stage of the game I would take whatever I could get. My family would say “What’s wrong with you? Why are you so sad? Would you like this or that to cheer you up?” Again, the game was on.
With this way, I learned that I could manage life quite well. I could get all the attention I needed by not engaging with life, by disconnecting from the world and waiting for others to connect with me. My move was strategically planned and fail-safe, or so I thought.
As I got older, into my teenage years, I discovered that not everyone wanted to be around someone so withdrawn. I often felt isolated and alone. For a long time I lived like this, knowing all along that there must be more. Things didn’t add up. Surely there must be more to life than the constant merry-go-round of seeking recognition from others in this way.
It took going through a family breakup and the support of Universal Medicine practitioners for me to realise that the way I had set things up was causing the problem.
From there, what I started to feel was my own connection within. The more I allowed myself to feel this connection, the less I felt I needed approval and recognition from others. For the first time in a long time, I was feeling what I knew deep down to be me. It had been there all along – I just chose to not connect within to my own essence.
Bit by bit I realised that with this connection with myself, I could also connect with others in a different way than I was used to. I felt I could let go of trying to be a certain way and be me, without the concern of what others might think. I’m finding now the more connected I am with me, the less something can come in and rock me, as the foundation of my connection strengthens.
When I start to feel rejected, I don’t need to withdraw any more as there is the connection with myself that has a steadiness and where I feel truly held and cared for. This connection is always there to connect to when I choose.
This beautiful relationship I am developing with myself is one that doesn’t stand still; it asks nothing of me but to be just who I am.
By Chris Vale, Mechanical Fitter/Welder, Bunbury, Western Australia
Packaging and Opening Us Up
Returning to our essence
Chris this is a very interesting blog to read as I could not imagine what it must have been like to be the center of attention within a family. And from this blog I can feel that we are given many lessons in life. If we can look at the lessons to see what we can draw from them to assists us to deepen our awareness of ourselves and of life then we will be walking the footsteps back to our soul which we separated from aeons ago to indulge in the false paradise we call life.
“it asks nothing of me but to be just who I am” The art of true parenting of others and ourselves.
Finding our True connection and living in a way that continually supports our essences is so simple and takes all the trying to be something that we are not, out of the equation, as you have shared Chris.
Our inner connection is our steady truth that holds us regardless of the circumstances.
I am discovering that we set things up in life to go wrong then we can blame life, someone else or God; we seem to avoid taking any responsibility for our own mess. And this is what I got from your blog Chris that you knew exactly what you were doing being manipulative to get your own way and when it didn’t work you withdrew from life. So this is another brilliant blog to discuss the how and why we do this to the detriment of our own health and wellbeing.
“This connection is always there to connect to when I choose.” So true, stopping to come back to ourselves when we lose it makes such a massive difference. This should be known by everyone and taught in schools…
“The more I allowed myself to feel this connection, the less I felt I needed approval and recognition from other.” Beautifully expressed Chris. When we feel settled and content within it matters not what others say or do – still on a learning curve with this one tho…
Connection with our innermost, our essence, does help with our steadiness, ‘I’m finding now the more connected I am with me, the less something can come in and rock me, as the foundation of my connection strengthens.’
Lorraine I agree with you because of a recent experience after Sacred movement. I can now feel such a strong sense of settlement in my body it feels like an anchor keeping my feet on the ground. I feel a bond with the universe that I haven’t felt for lifetimes.
As parents, we need to understand that there is a lot going on for a child when a sibling comes along. When my eldest met her sibling for the first time I saw a change in her that was to be played out for years to come. Although they were very close as children there was jealousy on both accounts.
“Ever since I was young, family was everything” – yes, I can say that was the same for me as well Chris and equally that it remains the case today, though today my family is simply anyone in my life who lives the joy of love to make my current family much larger than it ever was when born into my nuclear one consisting of two parents and siblings. Love swells the numbers on everything.
This is so simple but I have found makes all of the difference and allows a freedom and joy to be felt; ‘I felt I could let go of trying to be a certain way and be me, without the concern of what others might think.’
Chris, I love your honesty in this article, thank you for sharing. This makes sense and is really helpful; ‘I’m finding now the more connected I am with me, the less something can come in and rock me, as the foundation of my connection strengthens.’
Yes, the honesty and responsibility is lovely to feel, and needed as part of our healing, ‘It took going through a family breakup and the support of Universal Medicine practitioners for me to realise that the way I had set things up was causing the problem.’
It is beautiful to come back to this Chris and feel how powerful our connection to our essence is in guiding us to live the truth of who we are, the love we are which is everything that is needed in this world today.
Its so revealing to come to understand that it is our own disconnection from ourselves and what we know to be true that is what causes us to withdraw and feel alone and isolated from others. Nobody makes us do this, it is something we make a choice to do ourselves.
So true Sandra. Our choices have consequences. If we are open to seeing them then we can make different choices – and of course different outcomes occur as a result.
Re-developing our inner connection is a forever deepening process. I can ‘think’ there is conscious presence with my body and then my body exposes just how erroneous thought is!
I was not so aware how harm-full it is to withdraw from life / me / others. The more you commit to life and yourself the more you understand that you are creating a great force of separation between everyone.
It seems to me Rik that the more we become aware and commit to life the more there is a force that comes at us and drip feeds the separation because that’s the last thing it wants – someone committed to life – to be committed to life is to commit to everyone. Hence this constant pull to keep everyone in separation.
The beauty of this is that indeed the growth never stands still — as our love doesn’t. How enormous is that ?
More and more these days, when I feel hurt or slighted by what is going on around me, I take it as an opportunity to give a moment to my relationship with myself, knowing that if this is strong then I am not at the mercy of life’s challenges.
I love this blog Chris as there is such humbleness and healing in being honest and admitting our true feelings.
Simply put any type of ill mental health is because we have lost that inner connection.
Lose our inner connection and its like taking a life line away to sanity.
Ahh the games we play – from recognition to withdrawal and all the ways in between that we try to gather up something else to fill the emptiness inside. I’ve tried a few, but interestingly the one that has always been missing is and I refuse to give a constant attention to is to just be myself. To allow myself to fill from the inside. So ridiculously simple, and always there on offer!
Thank you Chris. I love the truth and simplicity you present for us to be who we are – nothing to strive for or attain – just to be!
“This beautiful relationship I am developing with myself is one that doesn’t stand still; it asks nothing of me but to be just who I am”.
When we feel rejected we are in reaction, great to clock this and come back to the bigger picture to understand what’s going on, and then drop the reaction and appreciate what is actually unfolding and allow ourselves to grow from the experience…..coming back to the love that we are and expressing from that place.
Really what ever we go through in life there is an inner connection always there to connect to when and if we choose.
This is gorgeous Chris. A relationship without self judgement, criticism, self beratment, condemnation and instead one of understanding, love, holding, deep appreciation and absolute surrender is indeed a healthy one.
This is a great example of how parents and other adults can have such a huge affect on how a child grows up, but we can’t blame the adults as they are only living how they were raised, and their parents before them. As you show so clearly, a young child is, in most cases, honoured for what they do and not who they are so it is not surprising they begin to lose the connection to their inner true essence. But it is never too late to reconnect back to that beautiful and innocent child and to begin to live life once again from this joy-filled place.
If we are honest we could all make a list of the things we did as a child to get attention and found that they either worked due to negative attention or positive but either way, it’s all the same thing and the list is endless.
I agree when we are not met for all that we are then we look outside for some sort of recognition but being recognised is not anywhere near the same as being met for the all that we are. And so many people go through their life not being met and so live in that unsettlement that no distraction, recognition can ever make up for it is a temporary filling at best.
“This beautiful relationship I am developing with myself is one that doesn’t stand still; it asks nothing of me but to be just who I am.”
This is gorgeous – it is absolutely everything to have that deep honest relationship with oneself, for if we don’t we lose out on what is truly important in life.
Thank you for being so honest about the way you developed the attention games through your childhood. It makes absolute sense to me and brings great understanding into the way we end up as contorted versions of ourselves.
So important to recognise all the cues we are giving our kids – they don’t tend to listen much to the words, but they are clocking every move we make and that is the example they take with them, that educates them. So if its all about what we recognise in them, or judgement, etc… or we allow them to be themselves and to grow up with that just getting bigger and bigger. Nothing better than that.
Beautiful Chris – if we feel ourselves feeling rejected and looking to withdraw it’s not the time to give up but stop and understand that we have simply lost our connection with our brilliance within.
The truth is we are all the One! and when we do not feel this or our not connected to the truth within that is when we look outside of ourselves for others to fill a void or gap we are feeling (to make us feel better about ourselves and life), so I am wondering if your family was content, connected and deeply appreciated who they were maybe you would then not feel any expectations of what you had to do or be to make them laugh or smile. We have so much to learn when it comes to relationships particularly the one with ourselves.
Very true Elizabeth, living in harmony with ourselves sets a foundation with which to live our lives. Master living the harmony within and then we live in harmony with everyone and everything.
When I am living in a way that is true to me, I am content and nothing can get in to throw me off track. By having the awareness of what is being said or any movement that does not come from love, supports me to hold steady knowing where it has come from and the purpose behind it. Every moment is an offering to appreciate and deepen the love for myself.