Steps 4-6 Forum (aka "The Path Forward" Forum) is a forum dedicated to rediscovering yourself again.
It’s important to understand that we lose ourselves in the narcissist. The narcissist counts on this and uses it to keep us hooked. However, once we work through the first three steps and truly see the narcissist for who they really are, we are able to let go of the façade and image we once had of them. It is at this point, we are finally able to move on and put the focus back where it really belongs...ourselves.
We must forgive ourselves for falling for a con-artist and accept the anger and fear we have about this reality. Only then, can we truly begin to practice self-compassion for ourselves and forge the path to real healing. Until we find and love ourselves again, we cannot truly experience real love for another person, which we deserve and owe it to ourselves to find.
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Step 4 - Get Real
This step is dedicated to dealing with the feelings that are the most difficult to process and confront. These feelings are anger and fear. We avoid these emotions like the plague. There are many reasons for this, but unfortunately few of us realize how avoiding these feelings keeps us stuck, just like the Narcissist. It is critical to realize:
We must Get Real to Heal!
When you are in a state of fear and anger, what is missing?
LOVE – your most powerful emotional state – is missing. It all starts with yourself. As you know, no one can love you unless you love yourself first.
In my opinion, anger and fear are our most powerful emotions. They are the most powerful because they are the most motivating of all feelings. Anger and fear can motivate you to make necessary changes in your life or they can paralyze you to remain stuck in a state of pain.
I believe the way you handle your anger and fear affects all of your relationships, including your relationship with yourself. Many of us are so afraid of anger that we direct the anger inward at ourselves instead of expressing it outward. Others take their anger out on innocent people. Anger externalized can lead to violence, while anger internalized causes depression and health problems.
Step 5 - Wake Up
Do not avoid your personal experience thinking there is something better out there. We must totally commit to our reality. Only then do we experience the world fully. We must stop thinking we can just run away. Only when we don’t hold back and prepare to escape, do we experience life and truly find ourselves. Commit to staying in the moment. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape.
“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark: the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ~ Plato
To accept uncertainty and stay with it is the path to true awakening. Sticking with uncertainty and learning not to panic or run is the path to spirituality. Accepting that we cannot control everything and everyone around us is to let go of our ego. Being pre-occupied with our self-image, what others think of our success and failure is like being deaf and blind. We lose sight of what is important and that is our relationship with ourselves.
Embrace the moment and be open to what you are supposed to learn from it. Wake up and allow yourself to experience pain. It is a fundamental part of life. We think by protecting ourselves from suffering we are being kind to ourselves. This could not be further from the truth. In fact, by doing this we are only becoming more fearful. This alienates us and hardens us. We disconnect from ourselves without even realizing it. If we shield ourselves from discomfort, we will suffer.
Step 6 - Heal
We must lighten up, relax and go easy on ourselves. Many of us find it easy to have compassion for others, but have very little for ourselves. It never occurs to us to feel it for ourselves. Living life with an unconditional love for ourselves changes everything. We get rid of the “should haves” and the “could haves” and gradually discover ourselves by being honest and staying in the moment. Without any agenda except for being real, we begin to find ourselves again. We assume responsibility for being here in this messy world and realize how precious life is.
I am often asked when the grieving ends. Everyone is different. You can’t put a time frame on the healing process. What I do know is that the longer you avoid your pain, the longer it takes to recover. We must confront our pain and process it in order to heal and move on. As we discussed, writing about it helps, expressing ourselves helps, meditating helps. All of these things help, but it is up to you to put these things in motion for yourself. No one else can do it for you and until you do, you will remain stuck. You will not thrive. It is your choice.
By learning from the moments in life, we become more compassionate and can aspire to live in the now. We can relax and open our heart and mind to what is right in front of us in the moment. We see, feel and experience everything more vividly. This is living. Now is the time to experience enlightenment. Not some time in the future. Keep in mind, how we relate to the now creates the future.
“Nothing we can do can change the past, but everything we do changes the future.”
~ Ashleigh Brilliant