Thriving or Surviving Our Past

— by Fiona Coward —

We humans are remarkably resilient. Somehow, we manage to keep going even in the face of devasting events or a multitude of small experiences that add up to a very large burden. This amazing resilience is aided by what we call Coping Mechanisms.

How Do We Manage Life

Coping mechanisms are the strategies or tools we use to navigate difficult emotions or memories. They help us manage the emotional discomfort or pain that these triggers can stir up. Essentially, they're our go-to strategies for feeling better in the moment or protecting ourselves from more emotional turmoil.

Coping methods can vary from person to person and can be divided into healthy and not-so-healthy categories. Healthy coping strategies are the constructive tools in our emotional toolbox. They assist us in processing our emotions and moving towards healing and growth. This might include reaching out to friends or family, practicing relaxation techniques, journaling, or seeking support from a therapist.

On the flip side, there are less healthy coping strategies that offer quick relief but tend to create more problems in the long run. These can involve behaviors like excessive drinking, self-harm, emotional suppression, or avoidance of anything that reminds us of past pain.

The question is how do we know if a certain behaviour is a way of coping rather than a pathway to growth and greater self-awareness? Let's take a common childhood hurt as an example and look at what potential coping mechanisms may arise from it.

The Pain from the Past

A child who endured frequent emotional neglect and the physical absence of one or both parents might develop a profound fear of abandonment and a belief that they are undeserving of love and attention. Consequently, as adults, they may seek constant validation to reassure themselves of their worthiness. They often become people-pleasers, constantly striving to make others happy in the hopes of securing affection and avoiding feelings of loss. Alternatively, they might develop an aversion to deep emotional intimacy as a protective measure.

To shield themselves from the risk of abandonment, they may lean towards self-sufficiency, adopting an "I don't need anyone" attitude, and suppress their need for connection and support. In severe cases, some individuals may resort to unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse or self-harm to numb the emotional pain stemming from their childhood experiences and subsequent fear of abandonment. While these behaviors offer temporary relief, they often lead to more significant problems in the long run.

Unraveling The Patterns

Unhealthy coping mechanisms often keep us stuck in a loop of emotional distress. That's where BodyTalk comes into play, shining a light on the emotional triggers behind these behaviors and giving us the power to choose healthier actions.

BodyTalk understands that our bodies hold onto wisdom and memories from our past, even the painful stuff that's shaped the way we cope. So, using a gentle muscle testing technique, practitioners tap into this innate intelligence to pinpoint the origins of the emotional triggers that drive our coping strategies.

Once we get a grip on what's really behind our coping methods, we're able to make choices that match our growth and transformation goals. With this newfound awareness, we can start embracing behaviors and strategies that boost our resilience and self-care, finally breaking free from the never-ending cycles of stress and avoidance.

If any of these topics resonated with you, or if you've had enough of feeling unworthy, invisible or unsupported, let’s have a conversation. Let's talk about how you can achieve irreversible transformation in a year.

Until next time,

Fiona Coward - BodyTalk Practitioner

There's never been a better time for a Mind & Body Reboot

Get a helping hand in releasing toxicity from your body and mind - book a BodyTalk Session (in-person or online). I'm in Somerset West, Western Cape.

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