On our first date, Bob and I discovered that we had both read John Gray’s now infamous “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”. The book has served us well, helping us to interpret each other.
Oh, so when he says that thing, what he really means is…And when she does that thing, what she really means is…
Of course it’s not that simple; not all men are alike nor are women. But the idea that what one hears is not what the other intended is the magic of this book. Accepting that, as much as I can be 100% certain that I am right about another’s motivations and meaning, I can be dead wrong. And not just with my husband, with my mom, my kids, friends.
And…with myself. Yep. I can really have some crazy inner-dialogues. Manipulative ones. Mean ones. Judgy ones. And some are pretty self-traumatizing. We need a mars/venus book for the soul, for our own inner dialogues. We need help sometimes to interpret ourselves for ourselves. With love and patience and kindness, because, as John O’Donohue reminds us, negative introspection damages the soul.
What would positive non-damaging inner talk look like?
-That was such a stupid thing to do. What were you thinking?!!
-Oh sweetheart, it probably wasn’t the wisest of actions, but it came from a place of pain and right now you need love and comfort. Go inside your tender heart; what hurts?
-I am so scared.
-What are you afraid of?
-I am afraid of being abandoned. Again.
-So you started a fight so he/she/they would have to prove they would never leave you.
-Ya, and now they see I’m needy I am and will definitely abandon me!
-That hurts, and that is scary. To be reminded of old wounds. That abandonment doesn’t need judgment. That little abandoned girl needs a hug. She needs to know you will never leave her.
-You mean the one abandoning me is ME?
-Yes, maybe the one you’re afraid of losing is yourself, and this outer behavior is a cry to yourself.
-Wow, yes. It’s true. I have abandoned myself.
-And the path toward true homecoming is paved in love, not recrimination. And the people who love you, know how good you are. They understand your pain. It’s all ok.
We are all works in progress. We are all working through our own stuff, our parents’ stuff, our cultural and gender stuff…so much stuff! And I think we’d benefit from lightening up a bit, on ourselves.
I read this haiku today, and it seemed very apropos:
The Spring sun
Shows its power
Blessings and encouragement to you in developing (w)inner dialogues.