When we suffer we lose connection to the best parts of ourselves.
We find it difficult to access inner nourishment; the kind that replenishes us. We point to the traumas of our lives and say, “That’s it! If that was different I wouldn’t be suffering like this.”
Yet, the reason trauma doesn’t get repaired is because of the underlying attachment issues. We need to repair the inner connective tissue that allows us to move fluidly, opening our hearts to receive and give and get replenished.
In a recent podcast I did on the subject of depression I found myself drawn to Antoine de Saint-Exupery who wrote The Little Prince.
What makes the desert beautiful
Is that somewhere it hides a well
When we are depressed, we feel dry, malnourished, depleted, empty, lost, and forgotten. We forget what Saint-Exupery wrote – what makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.
We forget that we have a well, inside us, a reservoir so deep and full that it never dries or empties out.
Besides the important chemical, physiological, and biological components that produce our depression or anxiety, the attachment perspective acknowledges that our hearts have been broken, repeatedly, frequently, chronically and pervasively…when our simple needs for love, kindness, listening, being seen, valued, and cared about are not met.
There are four areas of psychological development that when repaired build internal structure, creating internal scaffolding which can contribute to people climbing out of the psychological parts of depression.
Self-compassion practices can encircle and provide us with the cocoon of warmth and care to deal with the difficulties that arise on the journey.
With the practice of self-compassion we continually go to the inner well and water our arid inner ground. It allows us to create an environment where we are willing to compassionately tend to our broken places instead of leaving them alone, lost, cast aside.
Healing comes when you actively engage and softly encounter those parts that can’t believe this could be possible, gently encouraging yourself to turn toward what nourishes you despite completely doubting it’s possible.
There are different ways a person develops to build a solid, steady, secure inner self:
- Sense of Identity: which allows you to know that you have a unique and special place with other people — and in the world at large. Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote about this in The Little Prince saying, “You are unique in all the world.” A felt sense of identity gives an experience of being connected and cared about
- Self-Agency: is knowing that you matter, mobilizing you to take the steps you want to move you forward — instead of feeling stuck.
- Affect regulation: allows you to not get swept into the vortex of feelings that can be overwhelming. Instead you develop the capacity to be with whatever is happening from an internally solid, secure steady sense of self.
- Self worth: comes when you know – and feel – you have value and that others value you as well.
Healing comes from slowly, gently, consistently practicing the simple moment to moment skills that open our pain (without crushing us) allowing us to heal our hearts.
There’s one thing to keep in mind. Healing takes practice. Moment to moment, daily, weekly.
May all our hearts be easy, held in the gentle knowing that we’re not alone.
May you realize that around you, even though often unknown to you, are people who are walking the same path, looking for the same connections and healing.
I pray that you know that you are loved and cared about.