I love this poem from Rilke:
“Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.”
I think about it a lot when I am working with my clients. So often we have strong feelings of pain, jealousy, disgust or rage that seem like awful feelings. In a way, those feelings are dragons. They seem gnarly and evil, snarling at us to pay attention to them. They also feel out of control and like they are causing havoc in our lives.
But most of the time when one of these “dragons” come up for my clients, my response is “Great!”. Usually the person has something that needs tending to. And that’s where the princess that needs saving is. Usually under all of the rage or pain, there is a helpless part of us that never got his or her needs met. It might be a lonely 4 year old, or a scared 7 year old huddling in the corner.
So what do we do with that little prince/ss inside that needs saving? Save them of course! We are after all, the hero that we have been waiting for. It can be a little tricky sometimes, but if we can see past the dragon of feelings, to the younger part that needs saving, we can often soothe that young part. We can identify what that young part of us needs to hear and say it to them.
So, you might be thinking “What do you mean Sefora? Talk to myself? Isn’t that a bit strange or psychotic?” Yes, I do mean talk to yourself. Although this doesn’t have to be out loud. And if you think about it, you are probably already talking to yourself all the time–just critically. I mean how many of us have internal dialogues that say “you really shouldn’t have done that” or “come on, get your act together!” So I am suggesting that you try saying some nice things to yourself. But specifically, saying something to the sweet, little, young, scared part of you the things that it needs to hear. Examples are “I see you”, “you’re safe”, “you’re loved”, “you’re beautiful” etc… It helps to actually imagine a young child you that really needs assurance.
If you can soothe that part of yourself, then you really do become the knight in shining armor. Over time, the need to have someone else save the day lessens as well.
So go for it. Be the roaring dragon, be the princess needing saving, and the prince all in one swoop!