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Double Arrowing: How we Compound our Pain with Shame

The Buddha told a parable that goes something like this: "If you get struck by an arrow, do you then shoot another arrow into yourself?"

Double Arrowing is when we compound an already challenging experience (physical or emotional pain) by shooting ourselves with a second arrow-- essentially shaming, blaming or punishing ourselves for having the experience we are having. The crazy thing is, this second arrow is optional. We don't need to stick ourselves with it, but so many of us do it anyways.

Why do humans do this double arrowing thing?

Is it a strategy to buffer ourselves from the vulnerability and helplessness of the 1st arrow, by fixating on the 2nd arrow? Is it simply a childhood coping strategy of solely blaming ourselves when anything bad happens?

In this video, I also include a 4-step process to unwind this tendency towards double arrowing:

  1. Notice you are suffering

  2. Get Curious: "I wonder if I am double arrowing right now?"

  3. Take out the 2nd Arrow (aka. hold boundaries with those shaming stories/voices or give them some big ole' TLC)

  4. Connect and deepen with the 1st Arrow (using breath, kindness, compassion and presence)

I would love to hear how you work with the tendency to double arrow. Feel free to share your thoughts or comments HERE on YouTube. For more videos, subscribe HERE to my YouTube channel.


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