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Addiction to Being "All Together"

By Dr. Margaret Paul
January 26, 2009

Are you a person whom others think has it "all together"? Are you addicted to appearing all together? Discover what you might be avoiding by appearing "fine."

I often have the experience of someone showing up at one of my 5-day Inner Bonding Intensives and presenting themselves as "all together", or "fine."

"I'm not sure why I'm here," they state. "I really don't know what to work on. I've been through years of therapy and to a ton of workshops and I'm doing great. I guess I just want to see what goes on here."

"Hummm," I think to myself. "I doubt you spent all this money just to see what goes on here. I wonder what you are hiding from?"

Jerry is one of these people who seemingly has it all together. Jerry travels all over the world as an executive coach. In his early 50s, he has been divorced twice and lives alone in his expensive house. He is financially successful, great looking, articulate, and charming. Yet Jerry has a sense of emptiness within him.

As we explore Jerry's childhood we discover that he was a very lonely and abused child, who had to suppress his lonely and helpless feelings in order to survive. He learned to suppress his feelings by staying in his head rather than being present in his body. Now, he speaks from his mind rather than his heart, which makes it very difficult to connect with him.

Jerry learned, as part of his survival, to "be strong," which, to him, means that he never allows anyone to see the unhealed wounded aspects of himself and never allows himself to attend to his own painful feelings. Jerry is terrified that if he opens to his feelings, the loneliness and helplessness of his childhood will overwhelm him.

What Jerry doesn't realize is that his feelings are not from the past. They are current, being caused by his own self-abandonment. In other words, the more Jerry avoids his feelings, the worse he feels, and the worse he feels, the more he avoids his feelings, believing that he can't handle them.

Far from having it "all together," and being addicted to appearing "fine," Jerry is deeply caught up in another ongoing addiction. Never having had any love from his mother, and never having learned how to fill himself with love from Source, Jerry is addicted to trying to get love from women. Believing himself incapable of filling himself with love, fearful of feeling his deeper feelings and judgmental toward all his painful feelings and unhealed aspects of himself, women have become his source of love.  

Of course, because no woman can ever fill the empty place within him that is being caused by his own self-abandonment, no woman has ever been the "right" woman. Jerry goes from one beautiful woman to another, each time thinking that this time he has found the right woman, only to discover that he still feels empty and alone inside.

In the Intensive, Jerry begins to accept that he is not bad or wrong for having painful feelings, and that these feelings are being caused by his own self-abandonment rather than by his past. He begins to accept that he does not have to appear all together to be accepted, and that, in fact, appearing all together pushes people away. Jerry discovers that he can learn how to nurture himself through his feelings of loneliness and helplessness over others. He discovers that he can tap into the infinite Source of love that is always available to all of us and begin to fill himself with love rather than having to be at the mercy of women. He begins to discover the joy of filling himself with love and sharing it with others rather than always trying to get love and approval from others.

Jerry is deeply relieved to no longer have to have it all together.


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Today, every time you feel any anxiety, say a brief prayer of gratitude - even for something simple like the light from a lamp, or a soft tissue to sneeze into. Then invite Spirit into your heart and you will notice your anxiety subsiding.


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Today, every time you feel any anxiety, say a brief prayer of gratitude - even for something simple like the light from a lamp, or a soft tissue to sneeze into. Then invite Spirit into your heart and you will notice your anxiety subsiding.



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