A couple of days ago, I was just about to declare that I was having a bad day and as I heard the thought forming in my head, I got thinking about it. I was not actually having a bad day; I was feeling feelings that I don’t like feeling. All my life I was taught that my feelings were wrong. As a result of that, I thought my fear was misplaced and that I misunderstood whatever or whoever I was afraid of. I was told that if I didn’t stop crying that I would be given something to cry about. I was told not to be sad, not to be angry and the eventual result was that I tried not to feel. You could say that I was encouraged not to feel. You could even say that I learned not to feel. ~ I found ways not to feel. I used food, I used alcohol and I used drugs so that I would not have to feel. I used men, and “falling in love” so that I did not feel. I created drama and excitement; I used books and movies so that I could avoid feeling those feelings. When things got really tough, I used dissociation and depression, all so that I could avoid feeling and dealing and all because I did not know the truth in the first place. My moods depended on circumstances. I was emotionally immature because I learned to avoid feeling. There was no peace and no serenity.
And now I am feeling… and sometimes I am not comfortable with it. I have spent a lifetime trying to avoid certain feelings so it is actually understandable that it is still difficult, uncomfortable and unfamiliar to finally allow myself to feel them.
I decided to take a look at the feelings that were coming up and FEEL them. It was horrible. I decided to spend some time on the phone with a friend and TALK about them. I took a close look at what I was thinking and I looked at it from a couple of different angles. I like the view from the bottom of the mountain looking up and I also like to go up to the top of the mountain and look down. Both views are interesting and both reveal different information. I realized some thinking patterns that were left over from the old days. The old days were the days when I believed all the lies and blamed myself for everything that was going wrong in everyone’s life. If someone near to me was not happy, it must be something that I’ve done, and since I caused it, I should try to fix it.
In my victim mentality I had adopted the belief that I was the problem and it was familiar for me to go into a spin about why someone else was in a bad mood, or even just sad. Trying to figure out what was bothering them sent me into a spin trying to figure out all the things that I may have done, or neglected to do that might have set them off. I had to learn to recognize when I was in that spin before I could learn how to head it off. I learned how to head it off by realizing the truth ~ which is that I am NOT the cause of all struggle or strife. Learning to stay out of that spin was not easy for me. For years I said cute little sayings like “I am not powerful enough to wreck your day” or “I am not that important” but it wasn’t that easy to actually understand those kinds of sayings and I really did believe that I was the problem. The belief that I was the problem didn’t come from ego it came from abuse. It came from being told over and over in so many subtle ways, that the problem was me, so the only way that I could accept that I was NOT the problem was to find out where the belief came from, and change it. That process was long and involved.
I had to dig down to the roots of how I came to believe that everything was my fault and my problem to solve, before I could see that everything was not my fault and that I was not the cause of someone’s bad mood or difficult day. When I was telling myself that believing I was the problem came out of my ego, I concentrated on being less important, which actually was the cause of the whole problem in the first place! I was so busy being all things to all people that I never considered my own needs or feelings! It was only when I got all the garbage out of the way, and looked at one root at a time, that I was able to sort this stuff out and learn the truth about my value and how much power I do or don’t have in other people’s lives.
Because I was willing to feel these feelings, and work through this process, I was able to realize that once again had been willing to take ownership and responsibility for the feelings of an unhappy person in my life and I was able work through how much (if any) I had actually contributed to the distress. Once I sorted that out, the feelings that I was trying to escape from were no longer an issue.
In my next post I am going to expand on how all of this had such a big hand in letting other people define me.
Exposing truth one snapshot at a time,