Attachment Theory and Following My Bliss

For the past month or so, I’ve been in a book club with a group of girls working through The Desire Map by Danielle Laporte. The book is massively inspiring.Β It’s turned me much more towards inner goals than outer ones, even though I still struggle with that as a goal oriented person.

I went through the book and narrowed down my Core Desired Feelings to these:

Sacred
Grounded
Belonging
Flow
Electric
Liberated

As I look at these, I see 3 things.

1. A sense of rootedness to something secure and steadfast.
2. An easygoing flow and movement that connects me to
3. An electric and liberating experience, high energy vibration.

To me, it’s like an electric flow. It has to be grounded in order for energy to be transmitted, but when it is grounded, energy flows through the wire and turns on the light.

I went to see my therapist today for the first time in about 3 months. I was desperately overdue for an appointment. I still feel so ridiculously relieved to have sat across from him today, someone I regard as the safest person in my life. I probably am more honest with him than I am with anyone.

As we talked, I was really surprised to hear myself returning to my desired feelings. They came out of my mouth more often than not. I have a deep heartache that wants belonging. But I don’t know how to get there. I need a home base (to be grounded) that I know will not shift. Yet I do not want to be stuck in the confines of groundedness. Buried underneath the obligations of rules and ways to live. Life is spontaneous. It needs flow. It needs expansion. It needs liberation.

I heard all of these things today as I talked. And I suddenly realized what I am doing.

If you are familiar with psychology or therapy at all, you know about attachment theory and what that is. (Bowlby)

It’s the stage where the child knows the parent is present, but is ready to explore. This is the time when the child walks away but looks back to see if Mom or Dad is still there.

It’s no mystery at all to me that my attachment is fucked up. My mom will readily admit that she was a detached parent (and has apologized for her parenting). My dad was inconsistent. Either he was overly present and usually punishing when he was, OR, he was completely distant and not to be seen – usually off with a book or the computer. I would make an offhand guess that my attachment style is either avoidant or disorganized.

My core feelings? The ones I want to feel?

They are ALL about recreating a safe attachment. A place to be grounded and have a home base, but where I am free and allowed (flow) to explore (liberated, electric). Following my bliss, for me, is all about recreating the missing elements in my childhood.

This book has helped me in realizing what those elements are, and that I am empowered to give them to myself, instead of having to recreate them over and over with someone I perceive as an attachment figure. That, to me, is beautiful and miraculous. Hard, and sometimes excruciatingly so… especially on days where I don’t even want to get up. But it’s doing something for me, too. It’s teaching me that people are not responsible for my bliss.

I am! I have all I need – including the resources to ask others for needs, too.

I thought this was a pretty cool line of thought and wanted to share it with you all.

I’m curious, what does following your bliss look like to you? What do you most want to feel? Do you think those feelings relate to what you missed out on in childhood? Or something else? Tell me in the comments!

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24 Replies to “Attachment Theory and Following My Bliss”

  1. So glad you wrote this! I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone continues to integrate what we’ve discussed and learned into their daily lives (and creative endeavors especially). xo

  2. That’s awesome, Laurie. I love how you’re figuring out such important things and bringing us along for the journey.

    What do I want to feel…I think at my centre, it’s not belonging I want, but to feel worthwhile. I no longer think that’s something anyone else can give me (though they can all-too-easily take it away) and something I need to work on. A lot.

    To live without constant, nagging inadequacy or fear of being found out, or found wanting…to build friendships where I feel worthy of the other person’s time…to feel as though I can trust their judgements when they say nice things about me, rather than find a hundred ways to discredit their thoughts (because I know better, and am clearly not deserving of their praise)…that would be wonderful.

    (incidentally, I know that feeling it is different than being it – I’ve come around to the idea that I can BE worthwhile without feeling it, but my goodness I’d love to learn to feel it, too.)

    1. Thanks, Miss Lizzi πŸ™‚ It’s been an interesting ride! πŸ™‚
      Hmmmm. Worthwhile. That’s a good word. It sounds too like you are describing a safety in being who you are – you wouldn’t be found out for anything, and you’d be secure in knowing you are loved. I so relate to this… I talked with my therapist about it all day yesterday (he’s a saint haha – considering that I repeat myself so often).
      I think you’re right – I can be worthwhile without feeling it, but MAN, and UGH. It would be so nice to feel it, too. I’ve had a straight month where I did feel that way then lost it. I think it’s almost worse having had it!
      So glad to see you here. πŸ™‚ Muah! xoxo

      1. Well, not that I’ve (necessarily) done anything to be found out FOR, but rather just to be found WANTING, and in the end, not as worthwhile a friend as I want to be…it’s all insecurity squared, cubed and to the Nth degree of ridiculous. I vacillate because in the end it does get some rather good (if dark) poetry outta me, but on the other hand…the feeling of being secure and knowing that you’re worth the love and attention you receive must be so comfortable and comforting a place to be.

      2. Oh no – it’s not as if I’ve done anything that would be found out, either… but it’s this weird pervasive feeling for me! I LOVE how you describe it as being found wanting. THAT hits right to the core of it! Haha you are right about the poetry thing. I’ve gotten some stellar poetry out of those moments. But… I would trade it for the feeling I’ve had when I’m totally centered, like when I had just gotten back from Mexico. That feeling was way more worth it than the poetry that comes from insecurity.

      3. I suspect there is. Now what an amazing book that would make – the poetry of centredness. I kind of love the idea. The counterpart to the poetry of ‘off kilter’.

        But I hate that feeling, and I guess I’m still working to combat it. I can’t decide whether in the end it comes down to my lack of faith in myself, or my lack of trust in others, that their opinions of me are trustworthy, and the sentiments they express are solid and dependable. I wonder if I am conversely sometimes too self-reliant and afraid to trust to others for fear of getting hurt when I (inevitably, it feels to me) mess things up.

        I’d love to see some poems from centredness though. I wonder if they can be written from a place of NOT, and in so doing, as an exercise, nonetheless instil some of their feeling.

      4. I LOVE that idea. We should both compile it together! Write a poem when you feel especially centered, and so will I… and we can share it with each other/the world if we choose. Yes?? πŸ˜€ You could even try it as an exercise like you mentioned!
        And for me honestly I so feel like it is a combination of both lack of faith in others and lack of faith in myself… but really, myself first. Once I get faith in myself, faith in others follows. And I don’t mean suck it up reliant faith. The only way I can explain it is that it has a different vibration… it’s warmer, more open. Accepting.
        Tell me if you’re interested in the poetry idea, even as an exercise thing or even as just us sharing back and forth once in awhile πŸ™‚ I am trying to write consistently anyway so that would be cool πŸ™‚

      5. I am SO UP FOR THAT. I think it’s a wonderful idea. I’ll work on feeling centred enough to write said poem, and share it with you. Will send you my email and we can start this in private before taking the words public, should we choose πŸ™‚ gosh this is exciting.

        And you’re probably right – faith in ourselves will naturally be followed by confidence that others’ faith in us is not misplaced. Maybe that’s a good place for me to begin.

        Wow.

        *excited*

        I do love a poetry project πŸ™‚

      6. YAY!!!!!! I’m so excited!!!! yes send me your email. This will be awesome. πŸ˜€ I love poetry projects too and this will keep me motivated to write πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  3. Hmm… words like … Respected, Loved, Secure, Nurturing come to mind without much thinking.

    I suppose for me I also desire to have my own self-worth. I prefer that term to Self-Esteem – esteem still seems to me to comparing to others or externals. I want to feel worthy in and of myself not in comparison with anyone else because there will always be something in anything that I measure myself against others where they will be better and I’ll pin point that and magnify it and just concentrate on why I “fail”… so … Am I doing stuff that I am able to feel worthy of myself today? If the answer is Yes – then that is more than good enough for me

    1. Love your words πŸ™‚ I think secure rings true for me in some ways, too. I chose “grounded” because it more accurately reflected the core feeling for me.
      I like self worth, too. It speaks to the idea of worthy-ness, rather than just “esteem”, which is kind of a pithy way to describe worth. I love that you point out the ideas of worthy-ness and comparison, too. Your perspective on it strikes me as really healthy and definitely something I’m trying to achieve in my life. It’s soooo hard though. I want to remember your question though – “Am I doing stuff that I am able to feel worthy of myself today?” That’s really good.

  4. Me thinks I need this book. Thank you so much for this post! Very interesting way of exploring your own needs.

    I know a lot of my problem is feeling less-than. Inherently flawed.

    I remember watching Oprah a million years ago and she said,” every person matters. EVERY. PERSON. MATTERS.” The way she said it….I don’t know, it’s like it was a concept I’d never considered before. It hit me like a bomb. I crumbled in tears at the thought that I mattered. I still have to remind myself that I do. How fucked up is that? Also, I think I have some core beliefs about myself that continually hold me back. I don’t know how to change them.

    1. It is a really amazing book and I’ve learned a lot going through it. I highly suggest it! πŸ™‚ It’s taken me on quite the journey.
      Ugh, less than. That’s like my anti core desired feeling. Totally one of the biggest things I feel on the regular and have to work on reminding myself that I’m not. I don’t think it’s fucked up that you still have to remind yourself. I do, too. Some days I have to look myself in the mirror and TALK TO MYSELF and remind myself. And that doesn’t even quite get through. I just have to keep trying.
      One thing that’s helped though is EMDR… I’m so grateful I started that, it’s all about changing core beliefs and thought patterns. It’s helped immensely and I have much more stability than I did a year ago when I first started it.

  5. This book sounds super interesting. I like how you tied it in with attachment theory…. It makes a ton of sense and it also makes me feel all happy to know that you’re feeling more hopeful.

    I’m trying to think of what following my bliss means… probably a feeling of being “free” and not having anyone tell me what to do, not being limited by anything or anyone, including myself. I just very much want to do whatever the hell I want– even if that means constantly changing my mind. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with my childhood… I think maybe I was a teeny bit “repressed” to a certain extent, just in thinking that some life pursuits were not as valid as others. So being a writer or an artist or a free spirit really isn’t an option…. except eff that because anything is an option, ha.

    I’ll have to think about this some more. I wonder if the book is available on audio…

    1. The book is fascinating!! I’ve loved going through it. At least for me it has had definite correlations to attachment theory. I am feeling slightly more hopeful – therapy sessions help with that πŸ™‚ Also I’m going to try to go on antidepressants so I’m feeling glad about that.
      I love that – the feeling of being free. That is totally what I was trying to describe with the word “liberated.” That feeling for me is so… just wow. There’s times the longing for it brings me to tears. Which is what made me pick it! And girl you are one of the most free-spirited people I know so… I think so far, so good. πŸ˜€
      Also, it’s Danielle Laporte and she is an audio FREAK in the best way possible. I’m almost positive she has an audio book of it and if she doesn’t, I bet you could ask her and she’d do it.

  6. I feel like 80% of the time I am not ready to share the things you are talking about on this blog. I can say this, my family was disorganized at best. And the description in that chart could not be more accurate. And I don’t even know what my emotional needs are, let alone how to have them met.

    But I am glad you are working on that. It’s on my list. But I have so much more pressing issues to work through.

    1. Girl, we are each in our own places in life. Sometimes I write voyeuristically because it’s a way for other people to see and validate all the craziness that has been my life. But I know it’s not that way for all of us and we each have a different journey. Write where you are. Be where you are. And if you have other pressing issues to work on, start there. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that I work with the issues that are coming up at the time. That’s how I gain the most ground in my personal life.
      Sending love, my friend…

  7. Obviously, it’s taken me a few days to mull this over and find my words.

    To be honest, I’ve never heard of attachment theory OR following your bliss (the chart above didn’t make much sense to me, but that’s ok!) but I DO love the images you’re pinning that have to do with your desires.

    And now I can say that, at my core, I want to be known. Not in a celebrity kind of way, but deep down — every little bad thing about me — I want to be known and understood and still loved. Also, to be remembered – or at the very least, not forgotten.

    I feel the very worst about myself when I’ve been misunderstood or forgotten. And even though I’ve known that for a long time, it was still surprisingly difficult to write.

    Definitely tying in to some childhood things, I think. πŸ˜‰

    1. All the better to reply with, my lovely girl. πŸ™‚
      Well consider yourself introduced to the both of them, lass! They’re quite interesting subjects, both of them. I’ve had sooo much fun pinning those pictures too. It makes my day just looking at them. My heart feels all warm and fuzzy.
      Awww. ❀ being known. That's what I mean by my "belonging" word. The feeling that I completely fit with a group of people – not to "fit in" but to belong. There's a difference. I hope you feel that I know you that way. I try. And if I fail feel free to let me know. πŸ™‚ And I swearsies that I remember you, even on days where it seems like I have forgotten you… not. the. truth.
      And I can totally see that is when you feel the worst about yourself… I have talked to you in those times. And I get it. I hate feeling like I'm forgotten or have missed something. That happened recently and I felt so sad about it.
      I'm so proud of you for writing that even though it pinched your heart! ❀ You're my fav, bestie. And yes I can so see the tie-ins to your childhood…
      girlllll….. I wish you were here or I were there today. That is all. *hug hug hug* xoxo

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