Your girlfriend’s in the self-love dumpster, what do you do to help her climb out?
Being Wise… taking in the wisdom across generations
by Christine, age 37
Somewhere around the age of 30 I realized that it was time to retire as the Queen of Fixers and take on the role of witness, woman who understood, fabulous listener, hugger, and sister who saw her brilliance, possibility and truth even in the darkest of self-love dumpsters. From this place, I first listen, not just with my ears, but also with my heart. I want to feel where this woman I love is at so that I can really BE there for her, so that I can really SEE her, which all we really want anyway. I now understand that I cannot lift my friend out of her self-love dumpster, she has to climb out herself. I can however, be on the outside talking and guiding her out… offering perspectives that bring her closer to the light and out of the darkness of the suffering. I can remind her of who she really is at the core of her soul, instead of the woman she is feeling like right now.
Occasionally, I admit, if I have a girlfriend who has stuck herself deeply into that stinky self-loathing, or self-deception dumpster I will bang on the walls of the dumpster with my Truth stick just to wake her the heck up. Sometimes we need someone to jolt us our of our misery or delusion, and I don’t mind being that friend either, if that is what she needs, if that is what serves here. And that really is the heart of all knowing what the best course of action is… asking yourself the question, “What will best serve this woman I love, right now in this moment?” Sometimes that means banging on the walls to wake her up, and sometimes that means letting her be exactly where she is and just listening.
I have one friend in particular. My very best-est friend, in fact. With over twelve years of history together all of the times I have coaxed her out of the self-love dumper have merged into all the times she has drug me out (kicking and screaming usually). It is hard to separate which memories are whose. It occurs to me now that I am insanely lucky to have a girl friend like this.
The instance that comes to mind is a middle of the night phone call. I realize that this may not seem like much thought or effort to you, dear reader. But I will tell you this: Sleep is my Number One priority. Above sex. Above cleanliness. Even above eating. (My man-friend claims that my last life was most certainly spent as a cat.) Anyway, what was so special about this phone call is that my friend needed help. She needed love and she needed it right that instant. I put aside my extra-ordinary need for sleep, in order to be with her fully. Present in my adoration and listening – even at one o’clock in the morning. I don’t even think I said much. I was simply there for her to cry to. I gently reminded her that she was so beautiful she was blinding. She was the strongest, most powerful and neatest person in the whole wide world. I reminded her she was going to get through this – whatever ‘this’ was – because she had made it through so many ‘this-es’ in her life. I told her I was proud of her.
I think these words come naturally when you love some one so very much. They are easy to say when you find someone so beyond the limits of incredible. When any girl friend – or when I my Self – am in the dumper, the easiest way to negotiate out is to remember and remind of all the power, strength, wisdom and beauty possessed naturally. Who we really are. To recall that this ‘dumper’ stage is temporary because we are not darkness. We are the glory and shimmery shiny glitters of light.
Katie, age 34, says:
When I was in high school, I had a best friend, Kelly (fictional name). Though she is a year and nine months younger, she was like the older sister I never had, and I admired her like a younger sister would. She was cool, hilarious, smart, morally righteous, drop dead gorgeous, an insanely creative theatre genius, and more centered than any other teen I knew.
If I’d ever found a stepladder tall enough, one that would’ve permitted me a peek into her darkness, then perhaps I would have seen all of Kelly then. But from my vantage point, she was a perfectly collected, emotionally balanced, one-dimensional, Zen-like creature.
Now a mature adult, I see all of Kelly’s dimensions. Recently, she was in tremendous pain, and she reached out to me. She had been working in her dream job, acting and directing for a theatre company. Her extraordinary talent was on display, so she was setting her world on fire doing the work she loved. Then, she was fired. And not just fired, but fired in a cruel manner, by a man in the company’s new management who was threatened by Kelly’s light. Kelly only had to tell me a few insults he’d hurled at her, for me to see the truth of what had happened.
Kelly told me her story through tears, grasping to figure out what she, the most radiant example of a woman I know, had done wrong. Why hadn’t she been good enough? What had she done to upset this man? How could she have prevented him from ruining her reputation and career the way he did? Each time Kelly brings up another angle on the heartbreak, I listen with love. I can hear that she’s lost her center, but also that she’s not far from it. As her older-younger sister, my job is to help her find it again.
I don’t give Kelly advice, as she’s wise and fierce and capable of seeing the truth. I elicit the power within her, by asking what I think are the right questions, until she tells me the “right” answers: “Katie, I was more than good enough. I was great.” “I didn’t do anything to cause this, and there’s nothing I could have done to stop it.” I love seeing Kelly gradually come back to herself. And I feel honored to be her partner in that journey.
Janet, age 52, says:
Recently a dear friend called to say that her LOVE bubble had popped…not only was her Loving Relationship with her beloved coming to a grinding halt but everything else around her seemed to be following the same downward spiral! Including the relationship with her aging mother (who is suffering from Alzheimer’s) pushing her further down into the abyss by berating her…and my friend was taking it All in, believing that everything was her fault! She went to that deep dark hole that we have all climbed into one time or another as a result of not feeling worthy or good enough, that somehow she had not done what she was expected to do, spoke the right words or put in the right amount of time and effort into the situation ~ she was ready to pitch a tent and have a giant pity party!
Well, that was definitely not going to happen on my watch…! I reminded and reflected back to her All the Wonderful Gifts that she possesses…the Gifts that I have been a recipient of on many occasions. Her deep commitment and compassion towards others during their time of need! I continued to share with her how I saw her…a big Shining Light & Generous Spirit who would give the shirt off her back to others…a person who would drive through the pouring rain to let my dogs out because I was delayed getting home! I shared my own inner turmoil and challenge in showing myself the same compassion I am so willing and freely giving to others ~ I know from first hand experience how much easier it is to show and give others Love before giving it to mySelf!! I also shared with her that just this past week I had a total melt-down and that my first thoughts (and reaction) was to climb into my hole…and then as suddenly as those thoughts came they went because darn it I have done way too much work on mySelf…and walked thru too many fires…to go pitch a tent in that dark stinky hole!! And I reminded my friend that she too has come too far and done a lot of hard work to so readily and easily cast it aside and buy into that crap that she is not good enough and hasn’t done enough…at the end of our conversation she thanked me, and with that “Thank You” I reminded her that we are All A Reflection of Each Other…and that I was choosing to see Her Inner Beauty in the Mirror of our Friendship.