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  • Helen Dempsey-Henofer

#5: The Wisdom of Your Inner Rebel


Hey Hey Hey,

First of all, I want to extend to you - through the magic of the internet - a big virtual hug.

It can feel helpless when large-scale suffering is front and center. War stories are present in all forms of media now: on talk radio, in the news, on Twitter.


Violence in the media sometimes triggers personal trauma or brings up other injustices. If this is true for you, please know that this reaction is normal and that it's okay to get support. For many, a sense of helplessness connects with our caring that our fellow humans are hurting. Whatever you're feeling, sending that virtual hug to you and your feelings. May you meet them with kindness.

 

It feels a bit funky to be writing a letter in the midst of unimaginable international crisis. Yet, in the great expanse of all that I cannot control, I can tell you about you.

Lean in. Let me tell you 'bout yourself.

I've been giving some real estate in the brain-space to thinking about rebellion. YOUR rebellion.

This could have *something* to do with the context we're in, but I'd like to make space for your inner rebel. I'm going to invite you to make space with me, let's invite them in.

 

Part of you (Hey, Rebel) knows you need security, that human-beings need decency. Part of you sees the world is topsy-turvy and is pissed that the injustice that marches on exists. This could be injustice that is up close and personal or in the world at large.


 

There's a hundred different directions we could go with this, but the one I'm choosing is information.

Your inner rebel has probably been hushed once or twice. Perhaps you decided that you didn't want to "be too angry," or saw that out of defensiveness you lashed out or not-so-helpfully kept putting up walls. Often people confuse feeling angry with acting destructively.

If you've been getting my letters you know that I'm all about doing what works for you (a nifty concept called 'workability') while also making space for your wide range of parts and feelings.

We live in relationships. With ourselves. With others. With the systems we live in. Long ago (but not, like some of my favorite film Rebels, in a galaxy far, far away) I worked in an agency where part of my work was to educate people on intimate partner violence. What stood out to me was that the dynamics at play in abusive person-to-person relationships also exist in the systems (employers, communities, governments, etc...) we live in. The image below is adapted from the "power and control wheel" used in educating folx on intimate partner violence.


So of course, OF COURSE, your inner rebel is pissed.

It's probably not helpful to stay there, stewing in rageful helplessness, forever. For today though, I'm going to suggest treating this part of yourself like a friend who has been through some shit. Take note: they/you have. Make them cozy. Invite them in. Allow them to be mad as hell, and meet that with kindness. Simply put, my dear rebel, your anger makes sense.

 

Reading a letter isn't therapy or mental health treatment. Subscribing to the letter does not make you a client. What the letter does is it puts therapy concepts into writing so that they can be accessed more widely. I hope that the ideas are helpful to you. If you know someone who'd benefit, forward this on to them. There are two ways to sign up, a consent checkbox for new clients in intake, or easy-peasy from the website... available for anyone. What's in the works? Aligned with my desire to affirm your authenticity I keep plunking away on an app designed to help you take effective action, taking up space in the world in ways that work for you. I'm looking forward to sharing it with you once it's up and published.

I want to give you permission not to have to do anything with your anger, that it is okay to simply feel your feelings - and that not treating our feelings as threats: letting them be, welcoming them in, while not being controlled by them can be it's own sort of power. Bewildered by how to do this? We'll get into it.




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