Dividing Against Yourself Sucks

Today, a story about the greatest suffering – forgetting who we are.

The Client

Tim comes into my office. He is torn up inside. He has been married for many years. He’s not shy about sharing how much he loves his wife and children. But… something’s not right.

He says his wife is a sweet person, good to him, and a great mother to his kids. And yet he says, “I am miserable. And I haven’t the slightest clue as to why. What the f*#k is wrong with me?”

We talk for a bit. In no time, it’s clear that we’re getting nowhere. He’s completely stuck in his head, swirling in his guilt with what a bad man he is, for being unhappy with such a great family.

I wonder, should I get out the boxing gloves and pads? Change things up for this guy? Maybe he can beat the shit out of this demon he feels inside of himself.

Instead, I have him get up and stretch his body, move around. Anything to get out of his head. I even have him do several minutes of jumping jacks to shift his energy. Sometimes the head is a tyrant that merely circles itself.

After the movement, we remain standing. I see he is more relaxed, even lighter energetically. “A small work out during a coaching session,” he says. “Bonus.” He laughs.

I ask him to stay standing, feel his breath, through his body. The breath is so powerful because it helps us access our most basic primal life force. I guide him to take full body breaths, from head to toe and then back down.

The Change

We sit down again and suddenly he’s more alive. He is willing to step in with more bandwidth to explore his unhappiness and his marriage, without so much debilitating self-judgment. He’s opening to himself. He’s no longer dividing against himself.

Maybe he says, “I need to explore other relationships, other freedoms in my life, take time and space away from my family.” At the thought of it, his face glows.

I make no judgments. At least, his energy is moving. He’s got more access to parts of himself he was previously shutting down.

Of course, I don’t encourage him to go have an affair. I’ve often said, if you can’t make one woman happy, how will you make multiple women happy?

I am amazed at his shift and yet not, because I see it often how an individual gets so much more access to themselves, once they remove their moralistic and judgmental perceptions of themselves. Neutralize the brutal inner critic.

Tim is no longer thinking about what a bad man he is for not loving his family. He’s actually starting to think what a good man he is for loving himself. And while an affair or big trip away likely won’t be the avenue to ultimate happiness, it’s an avenue to access parts of himself against which he’s divided.

The Debrief

Yes, we all have crazy thoughts, not all of which we need to act on. But how do we access the energy of those thoughts and integrate them into our lives, instead of judging and splitting off from ourselves?

I’ve heard it said often and I lived it for years — the greatest suffering is dividing from one’s self. It happens every day and when it does, we neglect the demands of our soul.

It can happen in an office, sitting all day, feeling agitated, not knowing why, in front of a computer all day. It can happen in a relationship, feeling grumpy over nothing. It can happen in a physical environment that feels like a prison.

And yet we benefit greatly when we find a way back to ourselves even in the most challenging moments. And it can be as simple as yeah, this sucks, I feel divided from myself, and I’m OK.

Tim leaves our session, not booking a plane ticket to Honolulu or Guatemala, but aware that he needs to give himself more time and space and energy. He can’t be so hard on himself and then project his misery onto his marriage.

“It’s me, not her. I’m the one who’s messed up,” he says. Ironically, he’s glowing. And yet not ironic because he’s back in his power to do something about it.  He is no longer dividing against himself, beating himself up for his own misery.

And for this, he is a better man for everyone around him – his partner, his family, and his friends.

Do you know a struggling man who needs help? There are many of us out there. Forward this to him. Are you that man, going it alone? I once was. Get help today.

Previously Published on stuartmotola.com