20 WONDROUS STORIES OF RADICAL SELF LOVE
Exclusive Excerpts from Acclaimed Author Andy Chaleff and His New Book Release: “The Wounded Healer”
In This Story: A look glass view into an archetype that holds: “I’m attracted to men like my father.”
Michelle is unaware of her emotional triggers. By playing with her triggers, she discovers how many of them stem from her relationship with her father. In the process, she comes to grips with the reality that she has attracted a partner just like him.”
Exploring the Series: Andy is leading the way in supporting people to fully love themselves. Through the “projection and reclamation” method, he holds the hands of many as they discover newfound freedom and radical self-love. In this series of 20 stories from the book “The Wounded Healer”, we examine some of the most familiar archetypes as real people overcome common yet deep struggles we all face that get in the way of loving ourselves completely.
“We are all just walking each other home.”
The next morning, Rani and I get up and I drive her to the airport. It is not easy to say goodbye. It feels like just yesterday that she arrived and now I am dropping her back off. We are both feeling the weight of our changing lives and becoming increasingly aware of how we rely on one another for support. It is a beautiful goodbye. I watch her walk away. As she disappears, reality sets back in.
I begin the third leg of my journey, south down the East Coast. The next stop is Rhinebeck, New York, where I’m meeting Michelle, whom I met at a training I gave.
Michelle read the manuscript of The Laster Letter early on, well before it was published. It touched her so much that she sent it to her brother, who then sent it on to his friends. It was the first time I believed that this project may be greater than I was allowing myself to dream.
Andy is offering his exceptional coaching as a gift to experience this body of work and new book. Any of the free digital workshop dates below:
We also became close because her mother died not long after she had read the book. Both she and her brother wrote letters to their mother, which they read to her on her deathbed. They both shared the letters with me.
Michelle’s mother is American and her father is English. She grew up with the cultural restraint of a proper Brit. Yet she is also very open to learning and growth. We hit it off quickly, because although my irreverent manner could be a bit shocking to her, she would never get offended. In fact, she enjoyed learning from the process.
The first time we met, I would deliberately make statements I knew would trigger her. I would watch her get triggered, but then immediately she would get curious to understand what was happening inside her. It became a bit of a game to intentionally create tension inside her to give her opportunities to learn about herself. She actually enjoyed it and wanted more of it.
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When I arrive, I am welcomed with a surprise. Michelle is five months pregnant. She smiles and says, “I guess I should have told you.”
She’s eager to pick up where we left off in exploring her deepest emotional triggers. I say, “By the time I leave, I am going to help you see and move past those auto-responses. All the triggers that set you off.”
She is up for the challenge and replies, “Yes, please! I have really wanted to work on this.”
When she says the name of someone she likes, I say “She’s such a bitch.” I watch her body contract. Her mouth begins moving without connecting to the feelings that come up inside of her. Before letting her continue, I ask, “What’s going on?”
She stops and reflects. She says, “I felt like I needed to defend her.”
“What would your life look like if you didn’t need to defend?” I offer. She smiles and encourages me to do it again.
We play the game for the next few hours. I trigger her. We stop and reflect. Then we discover something new. Each trigger is a window to another part of herself that she is seeing with more clarity than ever. Through the exercise, she is becoming more and more open. It is apparent how quickly a trigger occurs and that she is unaware when it is happening. There is no separation between the trigger and her response.
By practicing, she has the opportunity to feel the moment over and over again. In doing so, it is no longer an automatic response. There is more space to see what she is not seeing. She is trying to solve the emotion after it has been triggered, instead of seeing it the moment it occurs. In the latter case, life gets much easier because instead of managing our emotions, we are seeing them emerge. The more able we are to see them emerge, the freer we are to play with them, the freer we are to let them be without allowing them to define us. In essence, they no longer define us. Rather, they guide us.
What is becoming more and more apparent is that she is triggered by authority, and especially by men with strong voices. I put on my strong, authoritative voice in response to something she says and say, “That’s nonsense.”
She’s triggered. She pauses and reflects. Then, her eyes widen and she says, “Give me a moment. I am beginning to see something here. My father was incredibly loving, but he was also very strong-minded. I see that there is part of that strong-mindedness that I have never come to fully accept. I have never been able to fully love.”
I smile and ask, “Can you see how the inability to love and accept that part of you is also what’s stopping you from loving your father?”
She nods. “Psychologically I understand that, yet it’s still hard for me to embrace that in myself. There is an aspect in it that I don’t want to become.”
“And what is that?”
“I don’t want to lose sight that there is always another point. There is always another thing to say that is being neglected or dismissed.”
“Yes, that’s always true. But what happens to you when you don’t have the ability to carry the weight of that voice? Not that you need to, but what happens when you can’t?”
She says, “People don’t necessarily know where they stand with me. By my keeping things at a surface level and speaking in general terms, I ensure that people can’t really get hold of me. It’s a way to protect myself. I see how this is all showing up in my life. I just moved in with my husband and we are planning to have this child together. My husband is also quite strong-minded and I struggle to communicate important things to him because I worry that I won’t be heard.”
I laugh and say, “You married your father.”
“Apparently,” she laughs in return.
Her big realization comes when she says, “I see that when I get triggered, I can either step toward or away from myself. When I blindly react to a trigger, I am stepping away from myself. When I create space to explore my feelings, I am stepping towards myself.”
We continue playing with the triggers as she slowly observes the process in herself. It’s as if she has a magnifying glass pointing inward at the dark spaces she’s never seen before. I have seen that it is exactly in these blind triggers that we lose ourselves. To the degree that these areas go unseen, they define us and our interactions with others.
A friend once shared a book of ancient wisdom with me. In it, the teacher spends the entire first year triggering the students, incessantly teasing them over and over again in order to heighten their triggers. Of course, the students don’t know it is being done intentionally. It is each student’s journey to realize that she is being defined by the world around her. Once the student sees the triggers, she can move them in new directions. Until that point, she is only a reaction to the trigger.
Andy Chaleff is one of our heroes in the profound work of healing our world’s heart.
He is an acclaimed author, motivational speaker, talk show host of “A Wonderful Chaos”, a conscious business advisor, and a beloved mentor to many.
He dropped everything and devotionally toured across America for three months holding “Last Letter” healing circles for a wide array of communities to safely explore the depths of their grief, giving people permission to release suffering and move forward with an opened and unburdened heart.
This recent body of work, “The Wounded Healer”, showcases personal stories of breakthroughs where most people deprive themselves of self-love. We are honored to showcase excerpts from this transformational series. A voice of clarity and wholeness in our transitional time