Community Validation

(Written in April 2008)
Karen helped a lot. She said the reason I couldn’t take in the praise & validation was because I had no framework to put it in. At least I could hear it. At least I wasn’t frightened, or ashamed, or in denial, or trying to hide. Karen said “who do you think you are” and I could feel myself shrink. The same dynamic that let my brother shut me down with his remark about “Deuprees talk…” Giving me a context for my feelings helped a lot. I can still feel a sort of dazed blankness, and a kind of tiredness, but I think that’s because work is happening on a very deep level as my subconscious works to create a framework and context for praise and support and validation for who I am. I’m thinking that this is the community piece of healing. The trouble with therapy is it’s one-on-one, and a lot of valid work can be done, but some healing just doesn’t take place without being welcomed and accepted and validated by one’s community.
Indigenous people often have rituals whose last piece is being welcomed by the whole community. I think it’s the Navajo who have a ritual for the returning warrior, to cleanse him of the effects of battle and restore him to his community.

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