Let’s do it.
Dear part of me who thinks that if something good happens, something bad must follow,
I’m noticing that you have a lot to say right now, double-especially since we got the lease for The Playground. Wow.
So I want us to be able to talk about this, and I’m also thinking it’s time to learn a little bit more about you and how you operate.
This is what I know about you. Is this right?
Obviously this: that you believe there is no such thing as good news that is just good.
Your experience tells you that things fall apart. In unexpected ways.
Your sense of your world is that this is a place that does not support you.
You live to caution me.
Don’t get excited. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Don’t have expectations because they’ll just get smashed. Don’t be joyful about good news because then the anvils start falling.
You care about me tremendously. Even though I have trouble remembering this.
Much like my monsters, you’re okay with using fear, guilt and manipulation as long as it keeps me safe, which (in your opinion) justifies the means.
This is what I don’t know about you.
I don’t really know who you are or where you come from.
Are you a belief, developed over time in reaction to cumulative experience of things being crappy?
Because there certainly is a long list of those that you like to bring up.
Or are you deep internal programming designed to keep me safe?
Are you from the past?
Do you need to be here now?
Sometimes you seem so true and well-established that it’s hard for me to remember that you represent only one possible version of what is true for me. It’s like I get a glimpse of who you are and then I lose it again.
Your pain. It seems so painful.
You include all of the parts of me who have been through hellish experiences.
There is so much depth to your loneliness and despair and heart-ache.
I wish I could wave a magic wand and make everything hurt less for you.
It has to be really hard to only know about the possibility of things falling apart, and to not know about how sometimes there is no pit to fall into, no crash and no burn.
If we talk, I need it to be like this.
Here’s the thing.
I really do want to give you room to have your say. It’s just that this pattern we have where you castigate me for being naive and then I yell at you to stop being mean and controlling … it’s kind of not working.
So I’m going to take a break from this letter and interview you. For my blog. Yes, I’m giving you a platform. But it means I need you to speak in sound-bites, not lectures, okay?
A short conversation with the part of me who doesn’t feel safe having good things happen.
Me: So. You’re the part of me who thinks good things can’t happen without being taken away — or bad things happening that are so bad that all the good gets erased.
Part of me: I don’t think it. I know it.
Me: Tell me more about that.
Part of me: You don’t have a realistic sense of the actual danger involved in feeling good. It’s asking for trouble.
Me: Why do you believe that’s true?
Part of me: Wouldn’t you rather expect the worst and be surprised, instead of expecting good things and getting hurt?
Me: So you are actually hoping for good things to happen. You just don’t want to hope out loud.
Part of me: Of course. That’s just common sense.
Me: You know, when we live in this constant expectation of danger, I shut down. I can’t function.
Part of me: Why am I supposed to care about that? It’s still better than watching your poor heart break again. That hurts more than anything.
Me: What if my protection and safety didn’t come from fear and anticipation of horrible things that might go wrong? What if my protection and safety came from being mindful and attentive instead?
Part of me: That’s pretty unconventional. I don’t know.
Me: What do you need? What would help you feel safe?
Part of me: I need you to acknowledge that things can and do go wrong.
Me: Okay. I acknowledge that. Anything else you need?
Part of me: A worry room! I want a worry room.
Me: What happens in the worry room?
Part of me: I worry as much as I want! And then I get comfort. And cocoa.
Me: Oh. That’s kind of sweet.
Back to the letter.
Dear part of me who needs a worry room,
I get that you need room to worry. It’s how you process things.
Here’s what I need. I need a room to hope for things.
And that room needs space and light. It needs safety and protection.
Which means we need to agree that all of these things have the right to exist.
I will let you have your worry cave.
It will be stocked with the finest cocoa.
And whatever else you want in there.
Within this space, you can have great big worry parties, take naps, feel feelings.
And the rest of my internal space can have comfort, safety, and protection for the parts of me who need to feel hopeful, and thrive on anticipation.
This is my creative space.
It’s where I come up with the wild and crazy ideas that turn into the good things that have brought up so much fear for you in the past.
You’ll get to peek at my creative process. You’ll get to see how much is new.
We’ll get used to this weird world where anvils don’t drop from the sky.
In the meantime, cocoa. And waiting. Writing letters and making rooms. Faith that things change, and that all this change will be okay.
Let’s see how it goes.
Play with me!
What is welcome:
Your own letters to internal editors (or to anything else).
Anything you’re working on or thinking about related to this.
Love to all the commenter mice and Beloved Lurkers.