Excerpt from the international bestseller You Were Not Born To Suffer
by Blake D. Bauer
“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. “
Do you constantly make yourself wrong for feeling the way you feel or for desiring the things you desire in life? Do you find yourself feeling guilty after you express your emotions or after doing something just for yourself that’s not about pleasing someone else? Do you constantly fear hurting others when making a choice that’s best for you, but then find that you stop yourself and hurt yourself instead? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you’re just like me and most people on the planet who suffer with deep guilt whereby we not only feel that we are a problem – that our mere existence is a burden – but also that we are somehow wrong, bad or sinful for wanting to be happy, well and truly loved.
Is the fact that we’re surviving really enough? Should we just accept that it’s ‘normal’ to live in fear, with deep insecurity, shame and anxiety? Is asking to thrive, to achieve your dreams, to feel completely satisfied in your intimate relationship, or to realize your full potential personally and professionally, really too much to ask? My personal view is that you and I did not come here just to survive or to settle for crumbs of happiness, peace, health or love. Rather, we’re all destined to learn how to value ourselves enough not to settle for less than a whole loaf in each area. It is not wrong to want to enjoy our life, our relationships and our body. It is not wrong to desire fulfilling work that has meaning, but which also pays the bills, puts food on the table and eventually provides the financial freedom for us never to feel trapped somewhere we don’t want to be.
I have found that there is a golden thread to much of our suffering, which once understood helps us to heal the origin of insecurity, fear, guilt and shame. The root cause of these emotions that so many of us battle with daily goes back to our conception, our time in our mother’s womb and our early childhood. Please think back to what life might have been like for your mother and father when they made love, or had sex, and thus created you. Do you think your parents were deeply self-aware, emotionally or financially stable, happy in themselves, masterful at loving themselves, or truly satisfied in their intimate relationship? It has become very obvious to me, having worked with thousands of people in all phases of life, that most people are stressed, spread thin, confused, scared, or do not know who they are, to varying degrees of course, when they bring a life into the world.
Some people are aware of this internal unrest while others are very good at repressing what they feel and thus carry on as though everything is okay, when in reality there’s quite a bit of inner turmoil present. The relevance of this fact comes into play when we stop to consider that we not only absorb everything that our mother eats and drinks while she is pregnant, but we also inherit much of what she believes, thinks, feels and experiences in her environment. If Mum is insecure, confused, scared or anxious, then we will most likely be born with these energies alive within us. Likewise, if Mum is confident, at peace and feeling supported in life, we will most likely feel this way too. The same is true of how and where our biological father is in himself at the time of our conception, birth and in our early formative years. If Dad is scared, stressed or absent, we will feel this. If he is excited, clear and committed, then we’ll feel this too.
The bridge between this fact and why we make ourselves wrong so much is that most of our parents felt at some point that having children was stressful, a sacrifice or burdensome. Even though no parent would ever choose to feel this way, let alone admit to it, it is a very common fact based on the truth that we are inherently selfish creatures. We can sense this unspoken truth while growing up and it’s intimately tied up with every other repressed truth that eventually leads to various forms of suffering later in life. This in no way means our parents were bad people, nor does it mean you’re wrong for feeling this way if you’re a parent. Exploring these facts is not about judging our parents or judging ourselves. It’s not about blaming anyone either. What this perspective offers is an objective awareness of one major cause of our struggles, which needs to be understood and healed if we want to be healthy and happy in the long run.
If you reflect back on your childhood and then fast- forward to today, contemplating on your relationship with your parents, you may well recognize that you’ve always felt like a problem. Some may feel that their decisions, needs, feelings, desires and innocent imaginings were not welcomed and supported, but rather judged, shut down or ignored. Others may feel this was not the case for them, or may struggle to understand how this would apply to them personally. Even if you feel your parents gave you a lot of love, you still would have developed habits to please them or not upset them, which once again results in you rejecting aspects of what you feel, need or want, in exchange for love. Insecurity, guilt, shame and fear always co-arise with this dynamic.
For all of us, especially those of us who clearly felt like a burden or were blatantly unwanted, it is very liberating to understand how we developed a deep insecurity and lack of self-worth because we felt that our physical and emotional life was a problem growing up. Even though it can be hard to swallow, somewhere deep in the subconscious we all feel some degree of guilt today just for existing, which is tied up with our guilt and shame for having feelings, needs, desires and dreams. This is where we really learn to repress and hide what’s going on for us out of a fear of being abandoned, rejected, criticized or abused. It’s also where we learn to feel insecure about losing the often-toxic love and attention we’re being given. Viewed in this light, it’s easy to see why as adults we keep going back to unhealthy relationships or situations. Early in life we were conditioned to rely on one source of love, security or connection that may have been very cold, toxic, abusive or twisted in some way, so we became used to this way of relating, which is how we learned to settle for it in our adult life.
If you are starving for love, and you’re only getting crumbs, naturally you’re going to become very scared of losing the small amount of nourishment coming your way. Further, until you know better, you will do whatever it takes to keep those crumbs. Because we depend on our parents or our caregivers as vulnerable children – regardless of how healthy or unhealthy they were – we learn to avoid saying or doing things that might cause them to withdraw the typically small amounts of love and support we’re receiving. Then there are some of us who simply didn’t want to be verbally, physically or sexually abused, so we shut down to keep the little peace we might have found. Although we cannot articulate it, this is also where we learned to feel we don’t matter or have any value – especially when our adult caregivers were insensitive, stressed, aggressive or completely absent. First, we don’t learn how to understand or express our feelings, and then, second, we learn to deny these inner truths simply to get by, which becomes a very self-destructive habit that now defines the life of many of us as adults. We are unintentionally made wrong by our parents, caregivers or teachers early on, and then we learn to make ourselves wrong for feeling what we feel, for needing what we need, for wanting what we want, or for dreaming what we imagine.
Since our parents had us for selfish reasons, the logical and objective truth is that most of them had no idea what raising children would require, nor were they ready for the responsibility. Having a family, putting food on the table, maintaining a healthy partnership, and finding some peace and happiness is not easy for anyone. It is stressful. But even so, practically speaking, it’s important to understand that this is directly related to how, where and why so many of us developed an unhealthy relationship to ourselves in which we make ourselves wrong in exchange for the unhealthy and conditional love, approval, acceptance or support of others. It is a self-destructive pattern that our parents learned from their parents and it is tied up with all the insecurity, guilt, shame and fear that has been passed down genetically, emotionally and habitually for generations.
In my professional experience, and also as a man who has personally struggled to heal my own deep insecurities, I’ve found that understanding this dynamic is the one thread to uprooting the source of insecurity, guilt, shame and also physical disease. As children we didn’t know how to give ourselves permission to be true to ourselves in every situation, but now we can master this. As adults it’s very common to fear being rejected and abandoned because we subconsciously feared being rejected as children. From the very beginning of life we learned to choose between our own happiness and pleasing others. It seemed we could not have both. We all learned to fear hurting others, so we hurt ourselves instead. We learned to fear saying no to others, so now we neglect ourselves. Understanding this deep block that keeps so many of us stuck, miserable or sick is key to overcoming it because once we’re truly aware of this dynamic we can never forget it completely. This reality is not anyone’s fault, but rather something we need to be mindful of now if we want to break the self-destructive cycle and stop settling for crumbs of love, health, happiness and respect.
Blake D. Bauer is the author of the international bestselling book You Were Not Born To Suffer. He has helped thousands of people around the world who could not find lasting solutions from conventional medicine, psychiatry, or religion. Blake has an extensive background in psychology, alternative medicine, nutrition, traditional healing, mindfulness meditation, and qi gong. Based on both his personal experience overcoming deep suffering, addiction, and adversity, as well as his professional work with over 100,000 people worldwide, his teachings integrate what he’s found to be the most effective approaches to optimal mental, emotional and physical health.