Little Birdies Need Love Too: Understanding Why We Numb in Order to Cope

Little Birdies Need Love Too: Understanding Why We Numb

Many of us turn to numbing out as a coping strategy. I wish it wasn’t so hard to talk about openly.

I hope my sharing helps you.

I turned 52 this year.

I’ve been loving myself more fiercely. 

Making peace with my heart.
Accepting who I am.
Releasing who I am not.

I’m deepening my love and appreciation for the parts of me I’ve struggled with. Less war and shame, more love and appreciation. Yay!

I still struggle to find compassion. It’s getting better all the time though. Still, there are times when I find myself saying, Seriously? Even now, after all this time?

After all this healing?
After all this living and loving myself?
After all the people I’ve helped? 

Yep. Seriously.

I’ve learned to recognize the above response in my own heart and shift it. Thank goodness for small miracles 😉

After decades of holding myself to an impossibly high standard of perfection, I am now walking my path as I am. No changesies, no take-backs. And it’s harder sometimes than I thought, but way easier too.

Learning to love ourselves ‘as is; is the most important work we will ever do.

I wanted to write about the tendency to numb out in an attempt to cope.

I don’t often use the word ‘addiction’ just because it’s a weird term and it often triggers unnecessary angst.

To me, we all struggle with coping at some point or another. And by coping I mean, we have a hard time being present with whatever is going on in the moment.

It’s hard to be deeply present with yourself when you cannot accept what is.

Little Birdies Need Love Too: Understanding Why We Numb

I’ve learned how to escape reality from a long line of self-soothers, addicts, and avoiders. Dieters, bingers, starvers, pot smokers, pill poppers, and workaholics. Borderlines and Manic-Depressives. These were my adult role models.

Escaping reality was a necessity in a family where inappropriate behavior was going on and the adults were not like adults… the lines were very blurred.

Needless to say, I’ve had quite the education in crazy coping skills. Of course, I am an expert at numbing out!

Many of us turn to numbing as a coping strategy. I wish it wasn’t so hard to talk about it openly. I hope if you have found this article, my sharing helps you.

Over the years of helping friends in healing sessions, I’ve learned that everyone has something going on and our coping strategies are varied. Some coping strategies seem “better” and some seem “worse.”

But what really matters to me is that we understand why we feel called to numb out in the first place.

If we can do that, if we can learn to be present to the part of ourselves freaking out, then maybe we can learn to love ourselves as part of the coping mechanism too.

I had to do it too. I had to learn to go from railing against myself, hating on myself for what I was doing to loving myself.

I had to find compassion for the part of me who never really learned how to sit with upsets and stay present. The one in me who didn’t know how to tolerate stress.

It’s not really surprising that there is still a little birdie alive inside me who comes tap-tap-tapping at the window asking me to fly away with her when things get wonky. To leave this place and avoid feeling what is happening here.

In times of difficulty, I can hear her tapping. When the joy gets too big, she is there tap-tap-tapping. As my dreams become manifest, tap-tap-tap. Middle of the night I wake up sweaty to the tapping.

Sometimes I open the window and let her in. Once in a while, I listen to her and we compromise. Other times, I just leave a little birdseed for her on the sill and keep on my path.

Little birdies need love too.

It’s okay. We’re okay. This is going to get better.

I once saw a man on a bicycle wipeout. He was riding hard and had NO gear on. He fell along a busy street and hurt himself badly. Cars stopped. People stared. Several folks asked him, “Are you okay? Do you need help?” (I bet you already know what I am going to say, don’t you?) He was already getting back on his bike. He was saying, “I’m fine” with such a harsh shove in it that people stopped offering. He rode away bleeding, head held high.

We do not know how to be vulnerable and take help. It’s hard. I know I was never ever taught about this. Most of my friends and clients weren’t either.

There is a crazy inner and outer perception that the world only accepts the good, uplifting, celebratory, or funny things. There is a perception that anything upsetting or heavy or hard is a downer and we shouldn’t talk about IT publicly. We shouldn’t ‘air our dirty laundry’ and no matter what, we should keep on dancing, always looking on the brighter side of life.

So if lots and lots of us are going around pretending it’s all good, how are we learning to deal with our upset?

This is why we’re suffering. This is why we numb.

This happy-happy-joy-joy perfection is like an impossible corset. We would love to just let it out. Acknowledge what is really going on. We don’t always have the support to do this. Often we are encouraged NOT to do this. Nobody likes to be a booger at the party and so we’ve developed ways to manage. We hobble along, clinging to fuzzy buffers. We light artificial fires. If we can’t tolerate joy or ride the waves of stress, we will look for a little kindling and light a fire.


People come to me and ask if I think they are addicted in one way or another.

No matter what you’re doing, I want you to know you’re perfectly perfect and wholly loved.

I will always help you learn to show up inside the emotion that’s causing your inner birdie to come tap-tap-tapping.

Also, I think there’s an overconcern with what it looks like from the outside.
What will other people say?
What are the acceptable limits?
What is usual and customary?

If you’re worried about it, there may be something worth looking into. BUT, not for the reason you think! If you’re worried, then you’re probably telling a story that’s creating more upset on your insides, you know? And this self-judging mean voice inside is likely driving the behavior deeper.

Remember this: it’s about the quality of light on your insides, not the quantity of your consumption. Don’t assume that your restricting your numbing device will be the answer because that alone does nothing to heal your upset.

It’s not about shaming yourself and beating yourself, it’s about LOVE, always.

Love is the medicine.

Addiction worry, spiritual journey Robin Hallett

You’re a good person. You’re okay. Let’s sit with all of this together and continue the journey. Learn about working with me here.

Sending so much love.

Little Birdies Need Love Too: Understanding Why We Numb

Read my recent interview in Mystic Magazine here: