There have been a few select people who have reached out to me gracefully and offered their work to me with kindness and generosity when they glean from my posts that it might be useful to me. I am deeply grateful to these people for their ability to step unbidden into the murky waters of trauma with enough grace and tact that I felt safe considering their offers or at least touched by their reaching out. (As those following may already know, in this past year I have been especially transparent about my process of healing and integrating roughly a decade’s worth of repressed trauma.)
Unfortunately, in addition to those kind offers, my transparency about the vulnerable places in me I’m seeking to heal has also invited many unsolicited opinions from people I don’t know on what exactly I should be doing within my process, which modalities I should be using, which teachers I should be following, whom I should or should not be paying. These presumptions, from people who have never met me, mind you, are so offensive it often feels as rage-inducing as the initial trauma itself – the common denominator being an attempt to take my power away from me.
Those are the people I would like to address in this post:
First of all, it should be obvious from my writing that I am processing quite successfully on my own. Think about it – if I wasn’t already succeeding in doing the work, I wouldn’t have the self-awareness to share my discoveries as I have been doing. The fact that I am sharing with you is in itself proof that the process is working.
Second, it should also be obvious that I am already surrounded by guides and experts I have chosen myself. Not only do I regularly credit my teachers and friends in my posts, but I am publicly part of a community where healing, transformation, and personal growth is literally what we do.
Third, I am a coach. Personal growth in the realm of self-awareness and intimacy is my expertise. Does this mean I am immune to trauma? Of course not, cut me and I bleed like everyone else. But maybe consider that in addition to sharing my process for the sake of the healing that comes in being witnessed, perhaps I am also sharing so that I can model to you, my readership, what self-accountability looks like, to show you that as a professional I walk my talk, and to shine a light on the path to make it a little easier for those who want to follow. Consider that I am not the helpless victim you paint me as, that in actuality I am the courageous warrior leading on the front lines.
Fourth, if you come at me with a “should,” “must,” or “need to”… I don’t know how to say this without snark but I don’t give much credence to the advice of people who don’t know basic NVC.
Fifth, I’ve been over this before, but attempts to capitalize on someone’s vulnerability by pressuring them with direct promises that you have the solutions to all their problems is a predatory way to make money when we’re working in the realm of trauma. Ok? This is not a pitch to SEO my website.
And finally, and perhaps most importantly, please take a moment to ask yourself why you think you know my path better than I do. If all you know of me is what I have written, then we both share that awareness. You cannot possibly tell me anything I don’t already know about myself – because if you’ve read it, I’ve already written it. Chances are, if you see something in my writing that you feel called to advise on, what’s actually happening is that you are seeing yourself reflected in that moment, but it’s far easier to write to me to tell me what I’m missing than to look in the mirror and do your work yourself. This flavor of spiritual bypassing is particularly ego-driven because it seeks to avoid self-knowledge by projecting all internal issues onto another person – in this case, me, because in my transparency I have made myself a lightning rod for other people’s projections.
Let me ask you this: Would you prefer that my posts and blogs consist solely of marketing copy? Would you like me to hide behind a professional business persona and hard-sell you my work with elusive promises of an easy dream life if you just buy my new program? Would you like me to feel that vulnerably sharing my process is unsafe? Would you like me to stop writing to you?
If you feel called to share your work with me, a simple, “Hey Arden, I’d love to share my work with you in case you ever feel called to seek it out, here is my website, please let me know if I can answer any additional questions” will suffice. (Hint, I probably won’t, but if you really need to pitch me, this is at least a polite way of doing it.)
Otherwise, I will leave it at this: if you see someone making a vulnerable share online that speaks to you and you don’t know them personally, the correct response is a fucking THANK YOU and move on.