Growing? Find your 'serving place'

The qualities you develop in your ‘family of origin’ (your birth family) often determine the choices that you make as an adult, e.g. in relationships, choice of profession or social position. Either consciously or unconsciously you lean towards places where your qualities are being appreciated. This means that your new systems are formed based on your first system: your family of origin. But what if I tell you that those unique qualities often derive from a ‘survival mechanism’…?

This would mean that your current systems are built on the qualities you developed as a result of ‘a defect’ in the system you grew up in. Let me give you some examples. Maybe you had to learn early on to:

  • entertain yourself (quality = creativity)

  • stand on your own two feet (quality = independence)

  • make important decisions (quality = leadership)

  • work hard (quality = ambition, perseverance)

  • stand up for yourself (quality = assertiveness)

  • take care of emotional needs of family members (quality = empathy)

  • oversee the whole (quality = vision)

  • keep the family together (quality = mediate)

And this list could be much longer…

Do you recognize anything?

Maybe today you work as a designer, are self employed, a leader, coach, lawyer or mediator; thankfully making use of the qualities you developed out of necessity.

From a magical place to a serving place

You could say that developing these qualities was not entirely a ‘free choice’. However, you developed these qualities AS A REACTION TO what you encountered in the system that you were born into. Crudely said: you would not have made it (so well) without those qualities. The quality has become your right to exist, your survival mechanism.

The systemic work is all about BELONGING, and the sense of belonging we link to the qualities you developed as a right to exist, is called a MAGICAL belonging.

It is the place taken by a child to ‘survive’ within a system. The child can become e.g. too attentive, very sweet, extra cooperative or over-responsible to unburden the parents. Or the opposite: the child might rebel, show difficult behavior or cause problems to draw attention to (or away from) things that are there but cannot be fully expressed or ‘owned’ by the parents. We call this a ‘magical’ sense of belonging as it comes from a childish fairylike love: ‘If I do this or that, then my parents will be happy and the system will be complete. We’ll live happily ever after…’

In the course of time we grow so entwined with that magical sense of belonging (and the corresponding qualities) that we believe that this is who we are and this is where we are meant to be.

However, there comes a moment in your life that it starts wringing: you find yourself in a burn-out, you've lost interest in your work, you feel stuck in relationships, you lack intimacy, etc. Often you’re still 'doing ok’, but you can no longer deny that you’re losing more energy than you’re gaining. You would rather do it differently, but how?!

In systemic work we would say that life encourages you to leave that magical place of belonging and move to a SERVING PLACE. With ‘serving place’ we mean the place that serves YOU. Serves your life, your growth, your path.

Ultimately, when you act from a serving place this is also the most valuable to the whole, but this insight will only be harvested after a life lesson or two…

Realizing that you want to do things differently can be very confusing at first! Because a big part of your adult life is built on the qualities that come from that magical sense of belonging.

The healing movement

Moving from the magical place to the serving place usually doesn’t happen by itself. It is a process of growing awareness. Insight in your patterns and behavior is the first step. From here one can let go of being rooted in the magical sense of belonging and slowly take position in the serving place.

The move from the magical towards the serving place is a HEALING MOVEMENT, like a dance.

The systemic work offers a wonderful playground to get to know the difference between the magical place and the serving place. You can explore and integrate the healing movement in a group Constellation or an individual session.


Why is it so difficult to take position in the serving place? It is because the ‘group conscience’ plays up. Leaving the magical place might feel like betraying your system. You are (consciously or subconsciously) betraying the unwritten rules of the group and the group conscience calls on you to stay loyal. However, when you take a stand in the serving place, you become loyal to yoursélf. And this is what evolution is meant for.

Taking position in the serving place and making the healing move to get there can only happen from love and compassion. To lovingly say goodbye to that magical sense of belonging you need to gain insights in both what it gave you and what it cost you. It includes bowing to where you came from ánd where you are going to.

Could you need some help to get there? I am happy to assist you on your path.


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