Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: rikki cloos

Anxious Attachment and Self-Love

I finished reading (but am in no way DONE with) The Anxious Hearts Guide by Rikki Cloos and I’m assigning it to my “Required Reading for Everyone” list. If you are alive today, you need to read this book. It’s life changing. You may not be an anxious attachment style person, but you may know and love one, and this book will help you both relate better!

anxious attachment

Can we talk about Kindle books for a moment first? I am NOT a fan. Why? I don’t know.

Everyone I know loves them and they have so many great qualities: portable library, instant books, searchable. The list goes on and on, but I still don’t like them. There are a couple of reasons and the first is that I like to physically flip through pages. It comforts me. Then there is the smell of a book, and the look of it on my shelf like an award. And I love to write in my books, and I love to write on paper. I can’t be alone here. Right? I mean, I have a paper calendar, journals, shopping lists. I love to write with a pen or a pencil. It’s the physical-ness of it. So awesome. Yes, I’m aware that I’m a tad strange.

Speaking of writing things down, I made pages and pages of journal entries about this book. I actually got a comment about it, like, “What the heck are you scribbling? Are you angry?” I don’t always do this. Typically, I make notes in the margins and maybe write a few blog posts about things that I’m learning or what’s coming up while I read and then leave it there. But this book was different. It demanded more attention and action.

I have had a hard time relating to people since high school, and it’s only been getting steadily worse lately. And the crazy part is that if you asked anyone that knows me, ex-coworkers, family, friends from community things, they’d all say I’m outgoing and friendly. Everyone loves me! Except those few miserable people. They hate everything.

But I feel like I just can’t figure people out. I make friends, get close, and then run away. They frustrate me and I throw my hands up and decide maybe I’m just an introverted person that should keep to myself.

I’m not. When I’m alone too much I go crazy. And by “alone too much” I mean alone for more than a day at a time, and by “alone” I mean here at home with my husband while he works. I need the people! But they bug me to the point of tears!

And then, by some crazy coincidence, call it the magic of the universe, I started seeing posts on Instagram about adult attachment theory. Holy…this sounds just like me! Seeing Rikki Cloos’ posts struck a chord and I had to know more…so I bought her book! Of course, I did! I’m a book lover! But I wanted it NOW, so I got the Kindle version.

You know…if you get the Kindle version of a book, you should be able to get a print version for a few bucks more. I think it’s messed up that I have to buy it all over again, but I will, because I love her!

I took it slow through this book, writing in my journal all the things I wanted to remember, adding a few books to my TBR list. The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Neff and Germer is what I’m working on next, because while I was reading, I realized how badly I treat myself. It’s sad. If I heard someone talk to someone else the way I talk to myself…I’d punch them in the nose. No bueno, man!

What will you find in this book? You’ll find out what anxious attachment is and how to take steps to get closer to a secure attachment style, which means you’ll have closer and more satisfying relationships with other humans. And here’s the crazier part: You won’t feel bad about yourself while you read this. You’ll feel seen and heard and think, “Hey! Yeah! I am a pretty cool person. My needs and wants are valid. I’m just trying get them fulfilled in some unhealthy ways.”

There is so much self-work going on over here lately and it feels so good.

One more thing before I go: “self-help” books. Love them or hate them? I hear so many people (or rather see posts or read about) bashing self-help. What’s so terrible about trying to solve your own problems? And why would I not share every bit of help I find in the hopes that maybe one other person out there might find peace as well? I don’t get the criticism. Let’s talk about that in the comments, huh?

Allowing Things to Get Uncomfortable

This is going to be an uncomfortable post, because it’s about me learning to be ok with being uncomfortable for a bit. It’s starts as a gross personal story, so if you’re extremely squeamish, I’d skip to the next post, or maybe just the next few paragraphs.

uncomfortable
Photo by Spencer Backman on Unsplash
I picked this because it’s exactly the look I have when people are making me uncomfortable.

Years ago, I found myself with an extremely painful lump in my arm pit. I’m susceptible to ingrown hairs and I usually can get them cleared up on my own, but no matter what I did, this one just got worse. I will do anything to stay away from a doctor’s office, so you know it was bad because after a week of suffering, I went to Urgent Care in town to see what they could do for me.

The doctor there was so nice. He gently checked it out and confirmed that’s what it was. He said he’d drain it (it’ll hurt a little) and give me an antibiotic to clear it up. No problem. I took a deep breath and prepared myself for some pain that would subside momentarily, but ultimately be the cure.

Once he went to work on it, he realized it wasn’t an ingrown hair, it was a small cyst near the surface of my skin. “This is going to hurt more than I thought, but since we’re already here we should just remove it.” He was already working on it, no time for pain relievers.

I closed my eyes and leaned into it, focusing on my breath, allowing him to work as quickly as he could.

It hurt, you guys. Badly.  My high pain tolerance is source of pride for me, so when he congratulated me on being so tough, I was beaming. The assisting nurse was also impressed. I laughed (through involuntary tears), “Meditation does work!”

Bandaged up and sent home with antibiotics, the infection cleared, and I’ve never had another problem.

Why am I telling you this god-awful story?

Because this morning, while I was reading The Anxious Hearts Guide, I came to the part on “Becoming Secure” and “Sitting with Discomfort” and the experience popped into my head when I read “…those panic feelings are real, yes, but they are feelings” and “lean into and accept discomfort.”

Some feelings are unacceptable to me. When I feel them, I panic and react instantly, but rarely does this reaction help my situation. Surprise! What can I do? I think this is finally starting to sink in and be useful to me.

When I started to feel pain while the doctor addressed my wound, I could have reacted, pulled away, or punched him in the nose. Why didn’t I? Because I knew that the pain would probably be short, I trusted the doctor was not trying to harm me, and I knew I would be better for it. I am not an animal, communication was used, and I can expect a brighter future, so I let it be. I accepted it and waited.

I realized, over this past weekend, that I can do the same thing with my emotions. When I feel uncomfortable feelings, instead of running from them in panic, I can remember those same things: emotions are short lived, trust that no one is trying to harm me, and know that I will probably be better for it if I take a moment to let the feeling work its way past. Let it be. Accept it.

Emotions are warnings that something is there. They aren’t fool proof. I’ve found them to be quite susceptible to imagination and fancy. They come and go like the weather.

This is the practice I’m focused on right now, allowing uncomfortable feelings to be there.

I Have Nothing To Say?

Me? With nothing to say? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Welcome to my train of thought!

I came online late this morning with every intention of posting that I wouldn’t be posting today, intentionally. It’s not that I forgot or ran out of time. I simply don’t have anything to say.

nothing to say

I’ve been reading, journaling, and thinking all morning. “In my head” as the saying goes. I have a lot to work on in there. I wish I had an excellent therapist that lived nearby, that I could call and say, “Do you have a couple hours to walk with me and hear me out? I need some feedback on this.”

Oh, and the money to pay for such professional “help.”

Yeah, I know. “Get a friend!” But friends need to be kept, relationships maintained. Some of the things I think, consider, and want to get off my chest, would make a “friend” run away. Too much of a chance laying that on a poor friend.

So here I am…not posting because I don’t have ANYTHING to say.

Yep. Welcome to my mind.

Once I opened my laptop and started typing the words, all the others started knocking on my door to come out and play.

Here’s the first. A quote from Andre Gide’s So Be it: or The Chips Are Down (1952)

“Believe those who are seeking the truth;
doubt those who find it;
doubt everything,
but don’t doubt yourself.”

I heard it quoted on the Secular Buddhism podcast yesterday and it rang so hard in my head, I scribbled it down to look up later, and then I DID! That’s how you know it resonated with me, I remembered it.

I don’t think we need to say much about it. Do we? I mean, it sounds like brilliant advice, advice I’ve been following all my life. Except the “don’t’ doubt yourself” part. I’m still trying to uninstall that software.

Here’s another. It’s from Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I read it last month and posted about, extensively. I’m still re-reading it before my morning meditation, digging up the gems and storing them for future use.

“The next time you feel a sense of dissatisfaction, of something being missing or not quite right, turn inward just as an experiment.
…make a place for yourself…
Just sit. Reside at the center of the world. Let things be just the way they are.”

Sounds like torture. And it is. It’s kind of where I am this morning. My MO is to turn to something to “fix” that feeling, quick before it gets worse. It never works. I make it worse by reacting to a feeling that may or may not be indicative of reality. So, I’m trying it.

I’m sitting here. I’ve read, journaled, thought, read again, jotted down a note, taken a few breaths. I think it’s almost time to set it down and get on with my day. I have things to do. I’ll come back to these feelings later, now that I have them down on paper, and see if they mean anything. I’ll keep you posted!

Last one. This is from The Anxious Hearts Guide by Rikki Cloos, which I’m (unfortunately) reading my Kindle. I really have to stop falling for that. I want the book NOW and see it’s on Kindle, when I know I’m not the best at reading on my phone. I can’t make notes the way I want. I need to see and feel paper, all spread out in front of me!

“A deep-seated feeling that you’re not worthy of love is the culprit here. Insecure attachers tend to have the unfortunate trait of holding a deep, unsettling belief that they are inherently unlovable.

Contrary to what your brain is telling you, you don’t have to be perfect to be loved. You are actually lovable right now, as is, without any improvement at all. But without the self-awareness, self-work, and efforts to curb your problematic and toxic relationship behaviors, we’re going to end up pushing away anyone who is trying to love us in spite of our flaws.”

Before you rush to comment that I am loved, and YOU do like me, the problem here isn’t between you and me. It’s between me and me. I’m not my biggest fan and I’m slowly starting to see that that really needs to change. I’m working on it. This blog is part of that.

I wish I had found books like these thirty years ago. Where would I be right now?

How’s that for having nothing to say?

My post about deliberately not posting today so that I can continue my train of thought has now concluded. Thanks for being here. Comments are (as always) highly appreciated.

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