Are You Vibrantly Alive?
When I was five, I turned to hiding in closets. I duct taped myself inside of my closet regularly. I remember the stink of my ballet shoes and the beheaded dolls glaring at me with empty eyes.
It was a bit haunting, but closets became “my thing”. I felt safe and hidden from the world, but my dark hiding space began to source unhealthy coping strategies such as secret keeping, twinkle binges, and self-harm.
Our childhood hiding places can become internalized disorganized structures. We hide inside closets of ambivalence, abandonment, and victim hood.
These closets make up an internal organizing map into how we experience the world. We spend decades shuffling inside their emotional intimacies. We hang up smallness, rigidity, overwhelm, and fear.
These structures drive thoughts and emotions into behavioral outcomes. They organize toward what I call the Tangled Self.
The Tangled Self is the part of us that is a response to threat. It is the part of us that avoids showing up, so it hides from life. It is the part of us that fears making the wrong decision so it doesn’t commit. It doesn’t feel safe with being seen, so it struggles with intimate connection. It is the part that doesn’t know how to ask, so it can’t receive.
Conversely, there is another experience we have in life where we experience our Creative Self. The Creative Self is the part of us that is in sync with our innate connectivity.
This part of us longs for activating connection, enjoying playful experiences and intimate exchanges. This is the part of us thirsty for belonging, hungering for growth and trying to organize meaningfully contributions.
When we don’t have an organizing process which secures these two parts of us, we become vulnerable to living a Tangled Life.
The tangled life is a small life. It is a life of hiding, running and avoiding. It is life of emotional reactivity, isolation and fear. It is an invisible, under-earning and under-performing life.
We build a tangled life when connection doesn’t feel safe. So, we duck, hide and try to master invisibility to survive.
When becoming seen feels so unsafe, we learn to close our eyes, clog our ears and shut down our hearts.
For those of us who suffer from tangled shyness, disorganization or emotional distress our souls yearn for a new language. We yearn for a freedom to express our intimate needs, longings and desires.
When we don’t have a helpful organizing language, we can feel orphaned from life.
We quickly learn to abandon our self expression, voices, and needs in efforts to secure safety. We become loyal to our Tangled Self versus learning to thrive inside our innate wholeness.
Being good or safe suddenly replaces being seen and dynamically alive.
We, however, hunger for meaningful connection.
We are hungry for freedom to embrace life wholeheartedly.
We are hungry to really understand ourselves and bring ourselves into life fully, purposefully.
We want freedom to self-express, to connect meaningfully and contribute boldly.
Often, we need help learning to organize in healthy ways, in ways which access our vibrant aliveness. Often we need to learn a new language, a new organizing process to access a thriving life.
I know I did. I know my clients do.
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Angela McKinney is a life coach whose teachings span a global client base and are regularly featured in leading media outlets. Untangle & Thrive mission is to help millions of people come out of the shadows of hiding and gather skills to organize a thriving life. Through in-person coaching, online classes and newsletters, she gives clients the skills they need to reorganize the whispers of their tangled parts to access vibrancy, visibility and aliveness within their lives and careers. Join the Untangle & Thrive community to receive the first section of my new book here!