What’s my purpose in life? Survival, self-expression, creativity, exploration, love, enjoyment, connection – the “whys” of our lives. Humanity.
At the core, we all share similar struggles regardless of our circumstance. We all want to communicate, to relate, to be close. We come into the world ready to connect. “It’s our innate destiny, but so much depends on how that goes.” The success of our early relational programming depends on how able our initial caregivers are in their ability to authentically attach, be reliable, and emotionally available. We need them to be emotionally present so that we may learn to do the same.
As Ronald J. Frederick, so adeptly explains in his new book, Loving Like You Mean It: Use the Power of Emotional Mindfulness to Transform Your Relationships, all of our earliest caregiver experiences program our relational software; they are coded into our brains, stored implicitly and then we move forward into the world running on this software. As adults, if we haven’t downloaded the most effective systems, our challenge lies in our ability to free ourselves up from the ways we’ve been shaped and our nervous systems have been shaped, by growing our capacity to connect. And the missing link in this psychological transformation is rewiring our habitual, emotional responses. Moving from insight to change with the reward of the emergence of our true self, our best self.
We aren’t screwed up. “Our brain was wired in a certain way and through new experience we re-work wiring so our whole self can come on line.” We’ve been taught to ignore, push past and suppress our feelings and emotional cues. So we learn to suppress, not to process and ignore until we no longer even register the internal experience.
We change and we grow through our emotional relational experience. “The trick lies in getting out of our heads, away from the intellectual understanding and contemplation and into being present with self and therapist emotionally, and that’s where things happen. Disentangling the nervous system from early wiring, so I can be present with myself and those I love.”
“We are all wired to heal, we are all wired to transform, we are all wired to actualize.… We just need the right help for that to be able to happen. We can learn to abide our feelings, be with them and let them move through us… Learning to lean into our distress is actually what works to decrease it.”
“The core of our work is to free ourselves from a fear that is no longer warranted and reclaim our innate emotional capabilities so that we can have better relationships.” And Frederick leads the way.