Today we went straight into our groups again, and reviewed the leftovers from our last session.
Once more I pointed out that I felt how much suffering in the group is caused by a fear of not belonging; wanting to fit in, feel approval and acceptance, and avoid rocking the boat. It made me ache with empathy but I was distinctly putting myself outside of the group, here; not standing in judgement but realising that I’ve long-abandoned this travail and accepted – embraced – my “outsider” status, as an act of self-liberation. One participant in the group said they admire this stance.
Then we were asked to consider our destructive self-beliefs. I really struggled with this exercise because I’ve so thoroughly banished all those thoughts. I no longer believe that I am not good enough or stupid or incompetent. At my deepest centre I know that I am as loveable, talented, powerful, intelligent and capable as it is possible to be, and I am deeply grateful for it. So I told the group that I no longer experience this inner critic; I’ve wrestled with those demons and, finally, bested them.
Then I was asked where the ideas had come from. At this, the pain and frustration that I’d experienced at the most primal rejection within the bosom of my family rose up in me, freshly bleeding, and I exposed this wound.
I grew up hearing that I was stupid and my efforts were derided as pathetic. I described some examples to the group.
I know that I can do nothing to remedy my relationship with my last remaining sibling. I realise that it’s impossible to change the way my sibling perceives me and I know the interminable re-wounding I would incur if I even tried to do so. The fact is that his behaviour is not conscious or malicious; it must stem from some misplaced sense of responsibility. He evidently feels entirely justified in it. My grief – expressed when describing these incidents to the group – showed that I am not entirely relieved of any wish for his acceptance.
Then came some feedback that broke clean through my renouncement of any desires to fit in. The group acknowledged that isolating myself is my defence against rejection. Their recognition and acceptance of me opened an inner door to peep through; for the first time I can remember, I felt that I had permission to fit in. I felt astonished at finally belonging somewhere, which was not shielded within myself. I wept with relief, joy and consolation.