Are You Giving Significance To Things That Do Not Deserve It?
By Marshall Burtcher.
I found myself crumpled on the floor of my two-bedroom basement apartment. Heavy sobs heaved themselves onto the carpet as I mourned the end of my relationship.
Deep within me, I felt the sharp dagger of her rejection cutting at my heart, my worth, and my being. I wasn’t lovable. I wasn’t desirable. I was “disgusting”.
I felt utterly gutted, emptied, and a shell. There wasn’t much here for me anymore.
Yet, part of me was exploring this wild idea that maybe, just maybe, her rejection wasn’t actually significant to my worth or who I was as a person.
Perhaps it was something more circumstantial rather than deeply personal.
These thoughts brought to me a bewildering sense of peace and stillness. It was like my entire person had become reconstituted in a heart-beat. I wasn’t shattered. I wasn’t self-loathing.
Instead, I was feeling a sense of stillness laced with the heart-break of losing this relationship.
I could see and feel it more clearly. She had ended things because we were not aligned ethically or in our value systems. I could see how I hadn’t shown up and was coming from an unmatured sense of self (I hadn’t grown out of my boyhood yet).
I started to see and sense a path of clarity, growth, and advancement in front of me. While I had lost someone I loved, I wasn’t in a dire situation. There would inevitably be opportunities with others.
I was calm. Soothed. And able to grieve.
This sharp turn in my experience about the same event was facilitated by exploring the release of significance I’d given to the relationship and to the end of it.
What is significance?
In my work, it is the meaning we grant something.
This meaning often carries a sense of life-or-death survival when it is forged in the pain of trauma and codependence.
This is where much of our primal distress, fear, and attachment pain comes from.
Here’s what I mean:
In the experience I shared above, I had attached my worth as a person and my relationship worthiness to this person’s approval, presence, and desire for me. I gave her love and approval this kind of meaning and significance.
Her rejection then removed those elements from me. Without her love and desire, I was not lovable or desirable.
No wonder I collapsed in my self-worth and saw myself as undesirable, disgusting, and unworthy. I had used her love and approval to define and justify those things, rather than do the work to know those things as parts of who I naturally am and build from there.
This is the power of giving things significance, especially over our own worth, worthiness, power, and person.
In my work, your worth is sovereign and innate. The healing work we do is to attune to that innate value (I also call it Indomitable Worth), and to release any need or desire to fix or change who we are in order to be accepted, loved, or wanted.
Part of this process involves identifying what we’re giving significance or meaning to, and then we neutralize that significance.
We start that with a What-Shifts Question.
If I were working with myself in the situation above, I would ask this What-Shifts question: “What shifts if you remove just 10% of the significance you attached to her love and approval of you?”
Then I would pause, noticing how my body responded to the question. I would acknowledge what shows up, and then take time to observe that shift, letting it settle.
This helps me begin to orient to a new point of view and association with myself and that situation. This is the beginning step of liberating my worth from the approval of this particular person.
Here’s a way to start experiencing this for yourself:
What are you making significant in your life that gives away your power, worth, or safety?
What shifts if you remove just 10% of that significance you give that?
Go gently with this exploration and what you discover.
Till next month!
Marshall Burtcher, Codependency Healing Expert. Marshall helps codependents, people-pleasers, and perfectionists stop fixing themselves and start loving themselves. Join Marshall for his next masterclass, “Stop Fixing Yourself! And Actually Heal” happening June 26, 2023. Learn more here: https://healmsc.freetheself.com