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The Trance of Unworthiness

Through my work and personal encounters I realized that for so many of us this painful burden of being flawed and unworthy prevents us from unique experiences of unconditional love and happiness, sense of security, and simple joy of living. And it doesn’t matter how good you look, how many friends you have, how accomplished or well off you are – this hidden, self-imposed “insufficiency” critique may be your guiding assumption and cause of silent suffering.

Feeling that “something is wrong with me” is so invisible and intangible that most don’t even realize that it is there, let along that it is avoidable.

Tara Brach, clinical psychotherapist and meditation teacher refers to this silent and lonely suffering as “The Trance of Unworthiness”.

She writes in her acclaimed book “Radical Acceptance”: “Convinced that we are not good enough, we can never relax. We stay on guard, monitoring ourselves for shortcomings. When we inevitably find them, we feel even more insecure and undeserving. We have to try harder. The irony of all of this is… where do we think we are going anyway?”

Inflicting the Trance of Unworthiness on your loved ones – Personal story

When my daughter was born, like most parents, I was excited and had a lot of ideas about her upbringing – dance classes are a “must” as well as tennis, skiing, scuba diving, focus on math and computer science, and later yoga, meditation… Well, she happened to be her own person (surprise!!) and got liking in art (painting), cooking, and nutritional studies and not so much in scuba diving or tennis, and not at all interested in computer science… She was also very different from me or my image of “ideal child” and that caused a lot of resistance, frustration, and even resentment at times, as well as guilt that I was “not good enough mother” to instill in her traits that I deemed necessary or important.

It is fairly recently, from my heartfelt conversations with her, I learned that, being the only child, she felt as if it was her duty to be the person her parents wanted her to be… to make us proud. She felt that she could only be lovable if she acted in a way that would please her parents; she yearned for understanding, unconditional love and acceptance…

I can’t tell you enough how painful it was to hear her sharing these deep emotional wounds. I realized that, although I genuinely did everything for her out of love, my overly protective attitude and overwhelming authority caused her to feel “not good enough” and develop a sense of insecurity, even unworthiness…

Do you think it was a wake-up call for me? It was indeed.

I always wanted to be a “perfect mother” – present and loving, inspiring and supportive, “a rock” she could always rely on. However, inadvertently, I inflicted my own “trance of unworthiness” on my child…

Have you heard this popular expression “the way you do anything is the way you do everything”?

I had to learn how to accept and love myself “just the way I am” so I could accept and love others “just the way they are”.

To Your Health, Wealth, and Happiness,

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