#21 - Allow Our Selves To Hear That Song
Updated: Aug 29
by KC Johnson
Listening With ‘True Ears’
How many sweet songs have we missed because our minds were too busy judging ourselves or others? When we hold ideas that we are not good enough, or that the other person is ‘not my type’, we shut off an opportunity to engage with that other person in a meaningful way. We may fear getting involved with an undesirable situation because the other person looks different, or wouldn’t fit in with our group status, or that person challenges some held thoughts we have about ourselves that scares us. It happens all of the time, much more often than we realize.
I am a pack rat about saving old letters and cards from intimate friends. Rereading them I can now see how much I missed the real message behind the letter. In one particular letter
from an intimate friend upon our breakup I was totally blind to the intensity of feelings he had for me. Even more I missed the possibilities our relationship could have grown into because I just couldn’t allow myself to be a vulnerable partner. How different my life could have been and I let the person walk out my door and return to Alabama.
In fact I did that with another very close friend who also came to visit from Alabama, but I couldn’t get over his consumption of Budweiser every night. We had grown very close during my VISTA days in Alabama, then grown apart after he joined the Navy. I was very judgmental about his drinking and acted coolly towards him when he arrived in town and only wanted to go drinking. My reaction was a defensive reaction as I judged him not for who he was as a really great person behind the alcohol, but just as an alcoholic.
Here's the thing with both of these friends, they each needed a close friend they cared about in their lives, and I turned my back on them. In hindsight I could have been a positive presence to them and they in turn could have been what I needed to breakdown my internal fearful walls. Like me, they just wanted someone to care about them, to treat them like they mattered to someone else, and I couldn’t allow myself to be in that role, even though that is exactly what I was craving as well.
The Obstacles We Create For Ourselves
As I look back over my too many years, I can recount many close encounters that I pushed away from developing into fulfilling friendships. My arbitrary ‘standards’ were only there to defend myself from exposing my deepest fears and these friends threatened my Inner Child’s vulnerable safety shield. These were entirely self-imposed ‘standards’ diligently enforced at all times, and I was oblivious to doing this. To justify my choice of defensive behaviors I told myself that my soul was just preparing me for eventually finding Mr. Right. But that fictional person never showed up. I couldn’t see the game I was playing with myself.
My ears were listening to these songs all around me through filters that muffled the true messages these friends were trying to tell me. I used to marvel at how ‘regular guys’ could find others who loved them and I kept going without, kept having the ‘wrong’ person show up who didn’t fit my ideal image. It didn’t fit my understanding that the universe answers our requests, but some reason it didn’t answer mine. I wasn’t learning the lessons my soul was sending me by way of my ‘teacher’ friends who were giving me lifelines for breaking down my walls to learn how to love.
By creating ‘idealized scenarios’ I wasn’t prepared to live real-life experiences. How often do we play this game with ourselves? I had convinced myself that I was wisely following my universal path and would receive the lessons I most needed. Somehow I convinced myself that getting involved with these friendships was detracting from the path I needed to be following. As I look back I can now see how absurd that thinking was, but I was convinced this was what I needed to do. How crafty are our micro-voices can be!
So What Could Be A Better Way To Proceed?
First of all, it is not my intention to tell anyone what they need to do, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The opportunities for bringing more loving relationships into my life happened because I couldn’t allow myself to not just challenge my ‘standards’, but I was not allowing myself to talk heart-to-heart with the other person about my concerns. My talks were more about defending my boundaries so I wasn’t able to hear between the line of what the friend was saying or needing.
Every experience we have becomes a teaching moment presented to us by our soul. These moments breakdown our fears and open us up to emotional growth, if we allow that to happen. Communicate, communicate, communicate! We have to share our personal needs and stories with the other person, but more importantly, we have to encourage the other person to share their stories. It’s a slow building process, but it is vital to building
genuine, caring relationships. It’s how we grow, it’s how we heal our early child traumas.
As I get a bunch of decades behind me, I could have so many more lovely memories to contemplate, so many more dear friends to call real friends, and could have grown so much more emotionally than where I am now. I suppose the message needs to be ‘welcome situations that make you vulnerable’, our Inner Child needs to experience the love deep, supportive relationships can bring. With close friends we do more fun, playful things that nourish our Child. We give ourselves a chance to hear that sweet song. And we give the other person the chance to hear our song for them.
But What If Things Don’t Work Out?
Certainly, not all relationships result in these close connections with another person, but without out trying, we have a zero chance to have those nourishing moments. When a relationship doesn’t work, it is often a problem of not enough communication and too much judgment of not accepting the other person for who their unique self is. If the moments together just don’t work anymore, then changes can be made. But at least you tried, at least you were willing to be vulnerable and open to growing emotionally. At least you won’t be looking back wistfully wondering ‘if only’.
Life is meant to be experienced in all of its messy complications. Our challenge is to learn to accept the messiness for the lessons they can provide us. Once we learn how to shed our need to judge our experiences we will no longer harbor the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’, we will be saying ‘thank you’ for our moments.
Our life purpose is to love every moment without judgment, without fear. An unconditional life is one that is thankful for all moments. We heal ourselves only by releasing our fears, and thus, releasing our need to judge our moments. Once we do that, we can start hearing the songs coming to us from everywhere. - kc