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Soul Connections

By Marcia Wolff

“You are not a troubled guest on this earth, you are not an accident amidst other accidents. You were invited from another and greater night than the one from which you have just emerged.”

David Whyte, The House of Belonging

Sometimes we think that if we have problems in relationship, in our work life, that we are messed up and unworthy. It’s important not to pathologize ourselves if we do not fit into the cultural mold presented by the media. Solving problems is part of life. It’s important to clear beliefs that were born from our conditioning and false conclusions we have made about ourselves.

For example, imagine you are a very sensitive male who loves nature, can draw anything he sees, can listen to classical music and be brought to tears. Yet, your father cannot tolerate what he considers unacceptable behavior for a male. He’s triggered by your sensitivity.

Or imagine you are a spunky little girl who speaks up about everything. “Hey, when are we going to arrive, who’s in charge here, why can’t you argue more peacefully.” Her parents try to shut her down, but she is strong-willed, and unless she is abused, she expresses her truthful observations

Families socialize children to fit in: girls need to speak gently; boys need to be aggressive, not to cry, not to be weak. And yet, each of these children has a temperament that is stamped on them before they were born. Some are quiet; others, angry; some are perky, others, sensitive. We are like an acorn that knows how to become an oak tree. But, if lightning hits the tree, it may be bent and not grow fully. The sensitive boy who would be an artist may only work for an artist, and the young girl who could become a judge may just become a legal assistant. Our culture can override this natural temperament. The culture can say to train for a career. Why study art history, music, literature, or philosophy? The child loses the capacity to wonder, to think, and create.

So, if part of a person’s essential character gets buried, a feeling of unworthiness can occur. Self-esteem is genuine self-respect for who we really are. How do we care for our well-being and others, how do we set boundaries, stand up for ourselves, as well as supporting others? Once the belief that boys can’t be sensitive and girls shouldn’t express real observations is shed, the adult man and the adult woman can bring these qualities into the world. It is a gift to be honored, not a pathology, a gift from that greater night.

Marcia Wolff, MA earned a Master Degree in Counseling Psychology and was licensed in Santa Fe, New Mexico.


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