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Deconstructing Subconscious Programs: The Martyr

Friday, October 28th 2022 10:00am 6 min read
Dr. Jessica Renfer drjessica.nd

Licensed naturopathic doctor with expertise in lifestyle transformation, healing from chronic disease and natural fertility & preconception.

One of the things I find most fascinating as a wellness practitioner is the patterns I can’t help but notice in our collective process. There are patterns that exist within the seasons, moon phases, and celestial bodies that seem to weave with each of our stories. The details are often different, but the themes are so often congruous. Recognizing this can bring a settledness within our own process, as we recognize that we are all essentially in this together. This also helps us to take our challenges less personally, and hopefully view the opportunities to heal and evolve with more curiosity as opposed to judgement or despair.

The theme that has bubbled to the surface within my own story and that of so many of my patients and community is this concept of the MARTYR. And more specifically, how this previously revered trait is just no longer serving the individual nor collective wellbeing.

We historically held the Martyr on a grand pedestal. The idea that someone selflessly gives of themselves for another, whether that be another person or a cause, can feel like the pinnacle of human GIVINGNESS. When we look closer at those classic Martyrs in the history books; such as Joan of Arc, or even Jesus, it appears that the grand sacrifice was their earthly life; their entire physical existence. And often while not as extreme, this is how the Martyr operates: sacrificing one’s wellness, physical, emotional, and/or energetic for something outside of oneself.

Take a moment to pause and feel into YOUR relationship with Sacrifice. What do you feel about this concept, how does it sit within you, both the parts that perhaps admire and the parts that perhaps feel “sticky”?

The places I see this within the present are often contained within the roles of Mother/Parent, Partner, Activist, and Healer. Anytime where we feel we sacrifice or choose another’s needs over ours CAN be related to the tendrils of the Martyr complex that exist within our subconscious. There is subtly here. For one can do the same exact action, and depending on the mindset and energy with which we approach said responsibility, it can be a sacrifice, or simply a part of our agreed upon role in a balanced community/family.

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