Attenuation is the impulse to diminish oneself, to be small, to disappear, and to be invisible. Attenuation seems to be one of the central wounds we incur as females in this world.
From early on we are taught that there are things about us that are shameful and so we learn to hide, contort, and manipulate ourselves to be acceptable to the world. We had to believe in our own defect in order to survive. We had to be compliant with our own oppression.
We can transform the shame into a fierce love.
The fact that we were not accepted–by our families and by society–does not mean that we are not legitimate. It does not mean that there was something wrong with us. It means that there was something deeply wounded in our society and in our families. To admit this is not to cast blame, but to come into truth so that healing can occur.
The end of attenuation comes when we are willing to be misperceived, when we are willing to risk offending others for the sake of what is real and true in ourselves and in the world. We must be willing to be uncomfortable and to be seen as inconvenient.
One must contact a certain rawness within, a fierceness, a ‘won’t-stop-until-I-fully own-myself’ determination.
In our culture we tend to rush into forgiveness, compassion, and solutions. And as women we have learned so well to candy coat and to slip under the rug the things that make us and others uncomfortable. This includes accepting less than what we deserve for the sake of “peace.”
I remember when I was a little girl I believed in an unspoken contract that if I was compliant and attenuated (“good” and “quiet”) there would be a payoff somewhere down the line. Then one day as a grown woman I realized that a payoff for my compliance would never come. The belief in payoff was an illusion. I would never be compensated for giving away my power. I realized that I have to claim my life as my own, apart from the conditioning and programming of family and society.
The time of compliance is over. We must be determined to own ourselves, to know in our bones that we belong to ourselves.
As female children we had to say “Yes” to a world and to families that had wounds, wounds that have cost us years of our lives. As the current carriers of generational and collective pain we have the ability to consciously transform that pain into light. As children we had no choice but to give away our power. It’s now time to rectify that “Yes” with a powerful “No” to the things that continue to oppress us–starting with the ways that we oppress ourselves.
To liberate ourselves we have to locate the ways we are divided within ourselves first. The ways we are divided within must be identified and acknowledged. Otherwise they will continue to control us and limit us. Compliance is very costly.
How are you compliant? In what ways do you attenuate yourself?
The path to owning oneself can be long and treacherous because it involves facing all the grief, pain and rage fully in order to move beyond it into a fierce self-love that nourishes ourselves and the world. It must be faced. I say this not to be negative but to be honest and to encourage you. The love that we are is not afraid of the places of fragmentation that we have accumulated. That is why it calls forth in us the courage to face our pain and move through it.
The love that we are metabolizes the pain and turns it into Itself…love.
We’ve learned to turn away from the things that scare us and make us uncomfortable. This is a form of giving away our power. As we embody greater awareness we realize that we must shift and turn towards those things that make us uncomfortable and bring the light of awareness to them–for the sake of our own transformation.
Our safety lies in this willingness to turn towards the places of fragmentation.
The love that we truly are is not afraid of brokenness. When our brokenness is embraced it transforms into an unbreakable wholeness that we realize was there all along–an eternal, timeless wholeness that is who we really are. It’s called forth by our willingness to be uncomfortable and look into the shadows within ourselves. It is fed by our loyalty to what is real and true, no matter the cost.
As we process the places of fragmentation within us we literally dissolve the layers that have obscured our light. As the layers dissolve our true identity emerges–a consciousness of pure love that has been pristine and untouched throughout all the pain. We can’t discover this until we have confronted all the beliefs that tell us we are not good enough or powerful in our own lives.
Walking the razor’s edge of Fierceness and Surrender
This message is not that of a quick and easy fix but it is the undiluted truth. You are worth every ounce of discomfort and inconvenience it takes to own yourself, to love yourself.
(art credits in order of appearance: Major Gilbert, Jaison Cianelli)
© Bethany Webster
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