How to go your own way

How to go your own way
Do you follow the path from your heart? The path that makes you happy? Or are you still walking the ingrained path of origin? You get further and further away from yourself. Taking a different path sometimes takes a lot of courage, especially if you are afraid of losing the other person if you go your own way. 

The beaten path, your way of origin

Imagine. Such a beautiful country road somewhere in nature, with forests and hills in the background. The road has a deeply ingrained cart track from driving the same route every day. You are the cart, with passengers. Your family of origin, your own family, people around you. The track is your life. The road you drive every day since you were little. The way you’ve been shown. And on which you have already been through a lot. The cart has already taken you far.

If you want to go in a different direction

But then you want to try a different direction. You try your own direction. The cart wobbles and the wheels creak. You’re scared, everyone’s scared. You quickly adjust again and add in the track again. You were also shocked yourself, of the almost falling, the violent reactions of the occupants…

However, it will turn again. Why don’t you know exactly, because it went well for a while anyway? It was nice, you had nice moments together. In my previous article ‘Do you still do what you like?’ I wrote how it is that you stay in the same track, even though it has been wringing for a long time. I also discussed why it is so difficult to get out and follow your own path.

In this article, I explain how you can go your own way and gather the courage you need to do so.


How to go your own way

Going your own way requires the courage to distance yourself. This can be a long partner relationship that is no longer going well, a brother-sister relationship, or a relationship with your parents or friends. In most cases in my practice, it is about daring to distance yourself from your parents. That can be for many reasons. The reason I hear the most is: ‘I don’t feel seen and heard by my parents’ and ‘I want to do things differently, in my own way, but I’m so afraid I’ll hurt them, they’ll get angry.

The above reasons both mean that (also older) children do their best and continue to do their best to be recognized. You just want nothing more than to be recognized by your parents, even if you are 63. You don’t want to hurt them. From an early age children take on the task: ‘As long as mom and dad are happy!’ This could equally well apply to a partner relationship, where you also don’t want to hurt the other person, want to let them down and feel responsible for the happiness of the other.

So from there, you stay in touch with your parents to keep the peace (or stay with your partner). You do your best to make it cozy and you think it won’t be your fault if things go wrong. What do you think? Because in the end, it all goes wrong.

Disguised anger

What you don’t always see well when you feel somewhat trapped in contact, is what you do when you stay in the situation that is troubling you. For example, you do not see how you react to your parents or partner. You don’t see how you unknowingly send out duplicate messages: “I’m here and just joining in with everything as expected, because I don’t want to argue, but I find this so difficult, I’m so angry…”

That double message – being there but actually not wanting it, keep the peace – is a form of passive aggression. Because it is done in a disguised manner, it is not always recognized as anger. And with that, you are not only doing yourself ‘violence’, but also others. The events of the past and the moment itself are often so unspoken and still not negotiable. They are going to lead a life of their own.

How to go your own way

And before you know it, you’re dealing with situations where everyone is angry at each other and where there is sadness, but no one knows exactly why. Situations that are so difficult for you to get out of with each other and in which powerlessness and sadness are great.

And when people have a hard time, they do what they always did. That is precisely what survival strategies have been developed for. And so that trace, which you actually no longer want, continues to exist.

How to go your own way

If it had been so easy to take the step to go your own way, you would have already done it. Here are 3 tips to take the next step:

  1. Do you not dare to take the step, because otherwise, you will feel so alone? That’s an old pain that you no doubt know from back in the day. You can’t just solve that (I’ll tell you more about it in the 3rd article  ), but the Innerchild exercise does help you ease the pain a bit. The less afraid you are of being alone, the easier you dare to take the step. In the end, it will then go in a way that does not cause a struggle.

You can do this exercise if you have been hit by something or someone. And especially now, when you are touched by what you read in this article. Sit in a quiet place, put your feet together on the floor. Make sure you are not disturbed, that you really have some time for yourself.

Create an image of yourself when you were little that belongs to the pain, sadness or anger you feel when you were hit, or still feel now. It could be a photo, a memory you see in front of you right now. Make contact with him or her. Look at him and feel how he felt. Just dwell on that for a while, really feel it. And don’t hold back your tears when they come. Tears are there to be cried and probably these tears have been stuck for a long time.

When you are ready, you ask your inner child if there is anything you can do for him or her, what he or needs from you as an adult man or woman. You will get an answer, you can rely on that. And when you have received the answer, you give your inner child what it asked for. Just feel that you can give it.

How to go your own way

Take the time you need for this. And feel what it feels like to give this to your child and also feel what it feels like to get this from you.

After a while, when you have both been able to feel this long enough and deeply enough (let the child decide), you take your inner child to a place somewhere in your body or outside your body, a place where it is safe and that the child knows he can stay there until you stop by again. When you have arrived there together, take the time again to feel what it is like to be there together. Just feel that it is safe there.

Only when you have felt this long enough and deeply enough, let the child participate in the decision again, then you thank your inner child for helping you.

Take the time for this and feel for yourself when you are ready to return to the here and now. Take a moment to think about what the exercise has done for you. You probably feel it has eased the pain a bit.

  1. Gain insight into your own behavior: what do you really do if you do not follow your own path and are in contact with the other person? This insight means that you can take responsibility for your share. You are then no longer dependent on the other but stand more in your own strength. And that is necessary to be able to take the step.
  2. What really stops you from following your own path is stored very deeply in your body and you can only solve that through bodywork. So let go of old pain, which you know from when you were little. For now, it is helpful and healing to investigate what touches you so much when you feel again that you do not dare to go your own way. What did you experience as a small child?

If you don’t just want to change tracks, but also want to keep it that way, more is needed. Then, as I mentioned in the third tip, it asks to clear your old pain that underlies your survival strategies. I explain this further in the third and final part of this triptych.

It’s about you, not about the other

How to go your own way

Back to how to get off that track. There is one more thing that you should realize: It is not the other person / it is not your parents who are keeping you in that track. It’s about you.

You are the one who does not dare to step out of there.

A cornered cat makes crazy jumps and it’s those crazy jumps that make it so difficult. The sooner you see through your own crazy jumps (what you do what you always do), the sooner you can start following your own trail. Because seeing through your own jumps means that you shift the attention from the other to yourself.

That compassion arises for yourself and the other. You realize that with your ‘don’t dare’ and the accompanying ‘crazy jumps’ you have also done something to the other person, you can really hurt the other. And yes, that is very difficult to dare to see and feel, but if that is allowed, then softness can arise in the relationship.

It is important to realize that it is not the battle that you feel you always fight with that other person or your parents, but that it is your own battle, with yourself, that you fight through the other. It often just takes a while before you can see and feel that. When you see this and you really acknowledge and allow the struggle with yourself, then it will no longer be a struggle against the other.

You can then start to see the other as ‘needed’, so that you could grow. But also that the other can grow through you. The other person can then also start learning through you because he no longer feels attacked. Gentleness and purity arrive, and anger freezes.

And maybe this is about forgiveness. And you can be grateful for what came your way, where the old trail has taken you. No matter how difficult and painful it was what you encountered.

Speak what you want

How to go your own way

Another insight I want to give you is: it will really help you to express what you want, instead of what you no longer want. Not wanting something is accompanied by your fears. With the anger that has been inside for too long and then often comes out twisted. It is also often underlying accusations that you then express.

Expressing what you do want or how you want something goes hand in hand with your vulnerability, your longing, and your sadness. And again, those three together are so much better for the other to hear than the anger and reproach. Acting from vulnerability means that you are seen. When you feel seen and heard, you may get the recognition you need, you long for.

Without realizing it, you are already trying to get off the track that was so wrong and you are busy laying your own track.

To get all the way there, that your own trail will get just as ingrained as the old trail, there’s one more thing that’s very important.

Dare to say no

‘No’ in the broad sense of the word. Against grouting, really stop grating, keep the peace, and don’t want to hurt the other anymore.

Only when you completely dare to say no to something, the other, a contact, only when you really dare to let go, without constantly filling the picture of the future with what the contact would look like, then you can also completely yes say.

How to go your own way

Against what?

Against yourself, your own track. Your heart, who you are. But also to the other, how it is. And from there a different future will emerge. Which ones, with which people around you? You do not know. But you do know one thing for sure: you follow your own trail. You are true to yourself. You have experienced that vulnerability and softness bring you further on your own track.

I wish you much wisdom as you are in this process. That’s not easy. It is often nice to do such processes together with a coach or therapist because so much sadness, pain, and fear can be added.


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