Nurturing Peace


Over my more than six decades living and four decades practicing psychotherapy I’ve noticed that most folks close down on their aliveness. This happens incrementally over years with disappointments, abuse, loss of support, and periods of feeling overwhelmed. Hurt seems too big when we feel small. We don’t know what else to do. We can’t influence others to change so we change in the only way we can. We diminish ourselves in hopes of diminishing our pain. Later we find intellectual words to rationalize our choice but initially we’re just using our best childhood judgment.


Cutting off our (explosive) joy or our (unlimited) hope or our (righteous) anger reduces friction with our caretakers. We have intuitively tapped into their disjointed psychodynamics. In their young lives they closed off their aliveness. They don’t know it, but they teach us to be less alive in the way they chose to be less alive. In order to get along with them, we follow their lead. After all, we’re learning what it is to be human.


We continue with this process of diminishment and adaptation. For years we live a smaller and smaller life, ignoring our inner world tugs, telling ourselves we’re being reasonable. We focus outside ourselves and try to stay in our intellects. We work for peace by joining a group or donating to a cause or writing for others who need our instruction. We’ve turned away from our inner world, maturely it seems. Now we define "the problem" as outside us. Then we "work" on the problem. We want peace out there. We don’t even look inside anymore. But focusing outside, never leads to resplution.


 

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