We all have developmental tethers. They are echos of our old selves. They are usually in various states of integration. Try them while being gentle with yourself.
Pride is washing through when, all of a sudden, my 11 year old heart bursts.
I feel a wave of insecurity and vulnerability. It is like all the pupils in this school are looking to engulf me, pull me under. My breath is tight. My chest contracted. I’m physically curling in, literally trying to feel small, not tall.
I’ve won the school debate. It makes me the focus of attention. The praise from the teachers amplifies the enmity-waves from students. I‘m confronted. Life is dangerous. I want to be grey and unseen. I yield to my fate: do not be the smartest person in this school…
We all have developmental tethers. They are echos of our old selves. They are usually in various states of integration. In my previous article, about winning the school debate, I was experiencing my socialised self as a peak, proud in values I’d taken on from my parents. Proud to be living my parent’s values as demonstrated through winning. I vividly remember being swamped shortly after this.
These tethers are from our ‘vertical-development’, the shifts we make as we develop though stages. Described here is the step halfway past the ‘self-sovereign’ stage (2). There is a number for that step: 2.5. The stage in the previous article was the ‘socialised’ (3).
Self-sovereign (2) is the stage in which we are self-centred and other people’s perspectives are mysterious to us. At the halfway point between self-sovereign and socialised we are conflicted. We are feeling at risk. We’re experiencing exposure to other people’s thoughts and feelings. We are not yet comfortable with the values we adopt from others. At 11 years old I am unable to stably live my parents’ values. Home base is not the socialised stage 3 for me at this time, it is a grown up stage.
Think about a time when you felt at risk. Or a time when you felt conflicted and not living up to the values of your group, family or religion.
Was it a sudden event like mine?
Or more of a steady state for you?
There may be echos of this for you today. That is it is like a tether, a resonance from your past. These can be limiting. It’s likely you’ve integrated quite a few of these too yet in some circumstances and situations they might be prominent. Be gentle with yourself around these, they are good to know about. We all have them.
I’d like to invite you to take 5 minutes to reach into that time:
What stands out for you?
How does it feel as you explore these memories and sensations now?
What are you feeling in your body? Try and describe the actual physical, emotional and subtle sensations.
Metaphorically AND literally, wrap your arms around yourself. What does this feel like when held with love? When smothered with your love?
How is this alive in you today?
Links and credits
I first wrote this article on my substack https://benevolution.substack.com