Awareness that Heals

Introspective Guides: Learning How To Make Insecurity Your Friend – Episode 75

Introspective Guides: Reeling Back After Being Triggered by Insecurity - Episode 75Insecurity is a trigger that signals our defenses to take action. It causes one to veer into criticism, withdraw, and beyond. Then, for most of us, a judgment comes either against ourselves or is deflected outward. Using the Introspective Guides, Robert provides grounding for us to stay with these feelings, give them their due, breathe into them and begin to understand them. This space gives us a key to how to deal with these challenging emotions and be supportive of them. In the western world, sharing what is deeply affecting us at a core level is a rare event, as it is a departure from mainstream conditioning. It is from here that awareness can make it possible to real back the self-judgment and triggered responses like a fishing line. Reel it back and say, I wonder where that came from? Perhaps begin a dialogue with whom you acted out against. It is never too late to become more awake. It is never too late to go back and communicate.

There are many core feelings that we have automatic defenses against. Often it changes subjects or manifests in withdrawal. The important pivot is that you want to go back. It is not that you should return but that you want to because you want to live more authentically. This is not therapy. This is being real. Staying with insecurity is important because then we can care for it and see the universality in it. If we can learn from the smaller challenges it makes it possible for us to learn about the bigger ones such as life, death, global warming, and war. This all starts with your reality and bridges out from there to be able to care for more and more elements of life and the planet.

Resources related to this episode
Robert Strock Website
Robert’s Book, Awareness that Heals
Free Downloadable Introspective Guides

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Narrator: (00:00)
Awareness That Heals, Episode 75.

Robert Strock: (00:04)
Just notice where you are at the deepest level. And that noticing is a grounding and it leads to an emotional intelligence. It gives us a capacity for intimacy, fulfillment, inspiration, creativity, better relationship to ourselves—cuz we’re not abandoning ourselves, we’re lost in rejecting ourselves. And this is something we have to learn because we aren’t taught this.

Narrator: (00:32)
The Awareness That Heals podcast helps its listeners learn to develop the capacity, to have a more healing response to emotions and situations rather than becoming stuck. Your host, Robert Strock has practiced psychotherapy for more than 45 years. He wrote the book, “Awareness That Heals: Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges,” to help develop self-caring and the capacity to respond in an effective way to life’s challenges. Especially at times when we are most prone to be critical or to withdraw together, we will explore how to become aware of our challenging feelings and at the same time find alternative ways to live a more fulfilling and inspiring life.

Robert Strock: (01:13)
So thanks again for joining us at Awareness That Heals. It’s truly an honor, a joy, even an inspiration to be able to share what I’ve really wanted to share for a lot of years, and very grateful to have the support and the infrastructure to be able to do that. And what we’re gonna be talking about today is something that is so central to living a fulfilling life. And as we’ve been talking about the last couple of episodes, you’ll hear the theme of starting with a challenging emotion and not getting into a constellation of emotions or a constellation of thoughts, but being able to just stay with the actual feeling, to give it its due, so you can breathe into it. You can understand it and it will give you a key as to how by being not only with it, but supportive of it, it will give you a key to what you need.

Robert Strock: (02:22)
And we’re all virtually conditioned to be normal, which means we don’t pay attention closely to our emotions, we treat them like they’re amoebas. We treat them like they don’t exist, oftentimes. And I don’t mean to categorize or generalize or stereotype, but what I’m saying, I think is 98% true in the Western world that actually sharing what’s deeply affecting us at a core level is a rare event. So this conditioning, of being more together or attempting to be more together, or being more isolated, that we’ve learned from our families, our culture, our movies, our friends, our classmates. To be not really noticed for being in a vulnerable state or for that matter in an agitated state, we try to cover it, maybe not even consciously for most of us, it’s not conscious. And we haven’t really been taught how to take time out of our day as if it’s really crucial to check in and be the boss of our own lives, to be the authority of our own lives, to be the one that’s experiencing where we are at a deep level.

Robert Strock: (03:49)
And I’m asking you to kind of pause and maybe look right now, where are you at the deepest level? Are you bored? Are you interested? Are you feeling some other feelings about family or world situation or the world situation? Just notice where you are at the deepest level. And that noticing is a grounding and it leads to an emotional intelligence. It gives us a capacity for intimacy, fulfillment, inspiration, creativity, better relationship to ourselves, cuz we’re not abandoning ourselves. We’re lost in rejecting ourselves. And this is something we have to learn because we aren’t taught this. I can’t emphasize enough how much of this is like a lobotomy, how counter conditioning this is to actually really value our innermost experience. This is not therapy. This is common sense. That’s not common, which is, oh, maybe I oughta care about what I’m most deeply experiencing. Now that could be reduced to oh, that’s therapy. Oh, that’s some kind of philosophical idea. Is it really philosophy? I ask you, is it really therapy and cloned as oh you know, reserved for four doors? Or is it something that makes sense for you to care about what your most deeply experiencing and by the way, also the others around you. This is not just a, a self-caring, it’s a caring is contagious. If you care for yourself, it’s gonna be organic and natural to care for others.

Robert Strock: (05:44)
I would strongly encourage you to go to, if you haven’t already and download the free Introspective Guides, not only for the show, but for your life after the show where it reveals the 75 or a list of 75 challenging feelings that is so valuable to be able to identify rather than I’m just not feeling good or I’m feeling down, but be able to say I’m insecure or I’m anxious or I’m agitated, or I’m frustrated, I’m isolated, I’m withdrawn. I’m alone to be able to actually identify where you are. It’s gonna give you a hint of what you need and what you need can lead your life and being sensitive to other people’s needs can lead your life. And I ask you to pause for a second. Doesn’t it make sense to shift your priority, to learn from that great information of what’s most affecting you and others around you rather than what we’re conditioned to be valuing as success, better lifestyle, being the right height, being beautiful, being handsome, great lifestyle, go on vacation and take care of the family and not really look at the state of the world and respond to it as best you can. Not really look at how you yourself believe you can be fulfilled.

Robert Strock: (07:28)
You being your own master, you being your own mentor, you being your own guide. You learning how to ask questions that matter to you and learning from the answers and following the answers rather than what we were all taught to do. Recognizing we’re in a different century, we’re in a different realm being in this world today, we’re in an imperiled world, we’re in an imperiled country. We don’t know if democracy’s gonna survive now. We don’t even know if the truth is gonna survive now. We don’t know whether fictional conspiracy stories are gonna be dominating our lives as they are throughout the wavelengths in America. So often right now, if we don’t think for ourselves and we keep just following what’s out there, even in the media, we’re not going to be finding our own wisdom in the heart. We’re not gonna be listening to our own experience deeply.

Robert: (08:27)
The second chart on the Introspective Guides brings us to the essential needs and qualities and actions and thoughts that will most help us no matter where we are. And there may be three or four or one or two that we would identify depending on the challenging emotion we’re in and being able to marry those two. First to appreciate that whenever we’re feeling needs to have not only acknowledgements, but a level of, oh good, I’m aware of it. And following that with, I wanna be able to care for this feeling and care for the situations that I’m in, either because of this feeling or in spite of this feeling, how do I care? We wanna learn to ask how do I care from your own wisdom? Not from what your dad said, not from what your mom said. It may be coincidentally the same; odds are pretty good.

Robert Strock: (09:29)
It might be right, if you had good parents, maybe it’ll be right half the time. But your, your own authority, you have your own unique experience. But how many of you are actually taking the time to do this multiple times daily? Now that might sound like, oh, I should do this multiple times daily. We’re talking about you giving a gift to yourself. We’re talking about you learning from where you really are. How can that be a should, the idea here is to touch a part of the sensitivity of your heart and to recognize that hopefully this won’t even be a hobby. This will be equal to a full-time carefully chosen, worthwhile inner job. It’s an inside job. And hopefully, hopefully it won’t be like a work that is burdensome. It will be something that you chose, you chose because it made sense to you and you weren’t just here to be a Xerox of society. So I’d like to start off today by introducing Dave and those of who you, who have been listening to a lot of episodes, I know you know him very well, my partner at the Global Bridge Foundation and dearest friend for over 50 years.

Dave: (10:57)
Thank you. My expectation is that we’re going to continue talking about insecurity and in, in a different way. And I, I think it’s important to reflect throughout and of course in the last podcast shared my own pattern, uh, and, and recognizing the, the primary fundamental feelings versus the defense against them is something you have been talking about. And I really think that, uh, sets the stage for life. Sets the stage for not just recognizing a given moment but where are we in that hierarchy of depth?

Robert Strock: (11:41)
Thank you for emphasizing the defenses. I’m gonna add one more association, which is I believe that in every country feeling human is universal. And unfortunately the defenses have led to military defenses. And if we could stay with our original feelings, we’d see the common humanity, we’d see the sameness. We wouldn’t be locked into military defenses and fighting against each other. We’d see that we are all so much the same with individuality, of course, but it doesn’t matter what race we have, we are. It doesn’t matter what religion we are. What matters is our common humanist. We’re all gonna die, we’re all gonna get sick, we’re all gonna see people around us die. We’re all in a human dilemma. We’re all in a human mystery. And so to be able to see that sameness, hopefully, will not only have an effect psychologically, but that will hopefully influence the insanity of war and seeing that we don’t need it anymore.

Robert Strock: (12:55)
The reduction of defenses on both a psychological level and a military level, and of course there’ll be the panic, oh my God, the other country’s gonna get ahead of us and this and that. This needs to be done internationally. But we’re at a time where we really can because of the universality of the threats that Putin invading Ukraine and the insanity of Trump and all, all the lies that he has perpetually said, we’re all aware of the risks. Now, of course, the Trump followers are aware of the risks of anyone that’s not following Trump. So, we’re aware that we’re imperiled and this allows the possibility that we can psychologically change. And we can add that component of how do we care for everyone while we’re feeling this original feeling, rather than moving from insecurity to paranoia, to anger, to war. That we can stay with the insecurity that we can care for it, we can see the universality. So thank you for highlighting that distinction, which we’re gonna continue to do today between the original feeling and the way we veer off it, into our defenses against it, which means we lose touch with our innocence and we become less intimate. We become less filled with each other and other becomes a smaller and smaller group or more accurately has stayed a smaller and smaller group. This is a time where we have to expand beyond ourselves.

Dave: (14:43)
I think you hit on something that is so important to really focus in on when you, when you talk about illness and death and our own or people we love, it’s about as hard as it gets. And there are so many places in our life that we feel lesser threats, lesser than the ultimate threat. And so these lessons are all around us all the time in ways that don’t necessarily have to relate to the ultimate threat to our very existence or the people we love and their existence. And so it’s, it’s an opportunity that we can take almost anytime we look around.

Robert Strock: (15:29)
Yeah, it’s like, it’s kind of a version of, can we learn from other people’s mistakes and not have to make the mistakes ourselves? Can we learn from the small error, but yet are huge. If somebody around us that we’re close to, family member or otherwise, has a serious illness, can we learn the bigger things? Not only learned that we’re feeling sad, grieving, scared, and we therefore wanna follow our needs to be useful, caring, sensitive, and look at that list of 75 needs, which ones does this person likely need? And can we learn from that? And then by learning from the smaller and medium things, maybe that will help us even more to learn about the bigger ones of life and death and military defenses and war and the history of mankind and how the history of mankind has not been able to do what we’re talking about.

Robert Strock: (16:30)
Or there would not be war. We wouldn’t even have to be warring with each other psychologically. We’d be able to reveal, we’d be able to talk about it. So this is not a vague philosophy. This starts with your reality, yours, not mine. I’m not teaching you about my reality. I’m asking you, can you teach yourself about your own deepest reality on a feeling level and then care for it? Does that make sense to you and then bridge out from there to be able to care for more and more people and elements of life and the planet? So I’d also like to introduce Joel, who is our engineer, blessed and grateful to have someone that is definitely invited to share when he feels it’s appropriate because I know when he does, it will be useful to you.

Joel: (17:26)
Thanks so much, Robert, I’m very happy to be part of it.

Robert: (17:30)
So today we’re going to take a look at another level of insecurity and each one of these have different themes. And of course, if we did this with every emotion, it would outlive us. You know, we, we can’t cover them all, but insecurity itself is such a trigger board because it’s hard to tolerate as Dave was saying. And actually it was both Dave and Joel saying that it leads to defenses that can be, or are utterly destructive either to yourself or to others. And so, if we can revere our original deepest feelings that impact us and not spin off them with defenses, but actually instead of defenses, go to what we have talked about as the second stage, after being aware of the feeling, which is finding a place inside us that wants to care. Now that must sound so obvious that, well, of course I would wanna care about myself.

Robert: (18:44)
But if you look at the contradiction of the emotions that are most difficult for you, and you ask yourself, how many times have I followed that with, oh, how do I take care of myself here? My experience is it’s less than 1% where people actually go to an immediate caring place and are clear. They wanna let the caring, lead them from a place that’s very difficult for them. Whether it’s the insecurity we’re gonna talk about today, or anger, annoyance, irritation, impatience. How do I care while I’m in this experience for myself and others, you may start with yourself because if you reach yourself, it’s gonna be organic. If you learn how to care for yourself, that’s not narcissism. That’s opening your heart and that’s contagious. And so we can say both ways, but either way works. So pause for a second and see if you’re someone who’s aware of at any stage of life, preferably now, of your insecurity. And if you’re not aware of your insecurity, I’ll mention a few things that you’ll know is coming down the line, you’re gonna get sick, you’re gonna, you’re gonna die. People around you are gonna get sick and die. So insecurity is universal. Now I have a very close friend who continuously is open about her insecurity, but then will make statements that will be aggressive, will be withdrawing.

Robert: (20:34)
And she is so overt about it because the beauty about her and one of the reasons why she’s one of my dearest friends is she’s utterly transparent about insecurity. But what she notice at times, although she’s probably the most receptive person I’ve ever known, at seeing it after it starts is that she’ll veer off into criticism or she’ll veer off into, into withdrawing. And then I’ll say to her, how come you left the insecurity? Don’t you wanna care for it? Isn’t it? Is it okay that you’re insecure? Or do you deserve to trash people or be trashed or, or to run away? Are you worthless? Does this mean you’re inadequate? And she will reliably laugh. She’s one of the most advanced people I’ve ever known because she has the humility to go back to the original feeling after the defense is triggered. Now that’s very important because it’s probably very idealistic to think that anybody can really just stay with the insecurity and just stay there and not have a defense against it.

Robert: (21:45)
And so in the real world, what we’re really talking about is, oh, I feel insecure that you’re gonna leave me, or I’m feeling insecure. I’m not gonna have enough money. Or I feel insecure that my boss doesn’t like me. I feel insecure cause my, my two best friends have been distant or I feel insecure because my child is acting out and, and I have no idea how to deal with it. So many good reasons to feel insecure. And then a judgment comes and, and you say, I hate my boss. You know, oh my God, my kids looks like he’s a narcissist. And you catch yourself and you go back and say, oh, I’m insecure, I need to and I want to stay with it. And I get to bring to her right away, thank you for sharing insecurity, would you like to go back to it. And we’ll smile and laugh again.

Robert: (22:41)
This is real friendship. This is a real form of love, self-love, and other love. To actually care for your depth and to be with somebody open enough that they’re able to do that even after hopefully not too long defending, which is probably very idealistic, cuz as I said, she’s very rare. So the majority of people that are introspective are going to be acting out and then it can be reeled back like a fishing line, you can reel it back in and say “God, I wonder where that came from, I wonder where that started. You know, you seem angry at your boyfriend, I wonder why?” And what will be there is, oh, when I was at a party, he was flirting or I felt he was flirting with a very attractive woman. And I feel like I’ve been an asshole ever since. Say oh, congratulations for admitting that you were an asshole, and is it too late?

Robert: (23:48)
Is it ever too late? No. I say it’s never too late to become more awake. Is it too late to go back and communicate with him and say, you know what, I was really insecure when you started laughing, made eye contact, I even felt like maybe you were flirting. Maybe I was, maybe my insecurity was exaggerating it. Don’t know. But that example is something that we all wanna strive toward, which is that transparency seeing a defense and then reeling it back in and finding out what the more vulnerable feeling is. And in this case, we’re talking about insecurity, but it could be inadequacy, it, it could be aloneness, it could be rejection. It could be abandonment. There are so many core, original feelings that we have automatic defenses against. So I’m hoping that your tasting, the possibility that what you have rejected out of hand and gone into a fight against something related or unrelated.

Robert: (24:54)
Cause oftentimes it changes subjects too, or you just withdrew and just, just became more isolated and, and cooler and unreachable that you want to go back. Not that you should go back that you want to, because you do wanna live a more authentically fulfilling life that has intimacy with yourself, others, and then expand potentially into the world. So, I hope that these three different examples of insecurity allows you to have an affectionate relationship with your insecurity. And by the way, it’s helpful when you’re not feeling it to have conversations, I’m sorry, I’ve rejected you my whole life. I’m sorry I’ve treated you like you’re the worst fart, hanging fart that’s ever existed. I’m truly sorry. I’m going to do my best to stay with you and then ask you, how do we move forward to care for it? And maybe, maybe the collateral damage that happened as a result of the defense.

Robert: (26:02)
And if we have to confess or we get to confess the person’s still alive, how can we confess, and what tone can we confess in? It gets very subtle. But the key thing is if we don’t stay with our depth, guess what that means. We’re living a more superficial life. This is not a matter of mining and trying to analyze people and being a shrink. This is not therapy. This is being real. This is you being you and you wanting to be you and you wanted to support others to be them and has great implications for love, for self-love, for friendship and for the world. The foundation of facing our original human feelings and caring for them is the source of peace and connection. A lack of alienation and possibly even world peace psychologically. I’m not saying it’s the only way, but it is the psychological way to move towards seeing our common nature and how similar we really are underneath our defenses.

Robert: (27:15)
And in closing, it reminds me of program that Dave and I did 48 years ago and our brochure and our program was called The Family Home. And it was a residential treatment center for teenagers. And one of the first lines was, and Dave, you, you can correct me if I didn’t get it exactly right. But we at The Family Home believe that the boys and everyone beyond their defenses are good. So it was seeing the goodness underneath the defenses. And on top of the goodness is gonna be a humanness. And hopefully this is being taken in as not just something that gee, that’s interesting, but hopefully you’re taking this in as a longing for a lifestyle, a new way of being. Of you waking yourself up. So I wish this for all of us, for our world and all of us have a responsibility to do our part and also an opportunity and also a gift to do our part in our own inner lives. People that are close to us and I thoroughly believe if we get that far, it’s just gonna keep expanding out and out and out more into the world.

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