For much of my life, I felt like I had stepped out of myself and was observing my life from a distance. Not having a way to feel my feelings in a healthy way and a way that promoted my growth, I hide from my feelings and eventually, when the pain got to be too much, disassociated from them and myself. It was a very lonely existence knowing I didn’t have myself on my own side, and feeling like someone else, or something else, was running the show. And even on a night when I made a decision that could have proved to be fatal, I sat back and watched it happen until the fear of what I had done brought me back to myself long enough to surrender and ask for help. It’s frightening to think about now, as I have worked over the past 14 years to be present and in the moment, no matter how uncomfortable or painful that might be, it is important to me to feel my feelings and work through them in a healthy and productive way. To get to this point in my journey, I had to get honest and I had to learn to feel.
I had, at a very young age, stuffed down my feelings. I was afraid to share how I felt, feeling I would be judged for it, made fun of, I would not look smart, or, that I was wrong feeling what I felt. That thinking caused me a tremendous amount of anxiety, which made me feel even more self-conscious and made me disconnect from myself even more. Not giving myself permission to feel my feelings I never learned how to process them when they came up, so I started looking for outside things to change how I felt or to mask or numb what I didn’t want to feel. I constantly lived in my own head, creating other places for myself to go, then I started to control what I ate, then how I did things, having to do them in very specific ways or that anxiety or feeling of dread would pop up again, and on and on it continued, until what I needed to do to stuff down my feelings became bigger and bigger, and, would later threaten my life. Having to sit in the uncomfortableness of my feelings was difficult at first, but I was taught to breathe through it and to acknowledge how I felt, but then let it go, some things were easier to let go than others, but the more I practiced it the easier it got. I began to write down how I felt, which I found to be helpful in showing patterns of when my feelings popped up and what they were attached to. I worked with a counselor to help me make sense of the feelings I didn’t understand, and I began to carve out some quiet time each day to find some peace and to focus on finding a foundation I could build on in this new journey. Feelings aren’t facts, and most times they are tied into something that has nothing to do with our present circumstances, they are old ideas, stories and narratives we’ve told ourselves, or have been told, that we cling to making them our truths even when they are not, or may not be anymore. But feelings can be indicators that something is wrong and can be used as tools if we acknowledge them and process them as such, and they can be wonderful, positive and something we can cherish and enjoy. The bottom line is we have to stay connected to who we are and what we feel and making sure what we feel is accurate, or take note of what they’re telling us as they might be what we need to know to move forward.
Staying connected and present can be challenging at times, we don’t always want to feel our feelings, but avoiding them only puts up a wall between them and us, and the more we avoid them the higher that wall becomes until we may not be able to see ourselves anymore. Stay connected to who you are and know that, even if you don’t want to feel what you feel, feelings pass, and they may be trying to tell you something you should know. SLAY on!
SLAY OF THE DAY: Do you feel like you are connected to yourself? If not, why not? Why do you think you disconnect from yourself? How do you think it helps you? How does it harm you? What type of feelings you do try to avoid? Why is that? How do you avoid them? Do you go to unhealthy lengths to avoid your feelings? How do you do that? What can you do to stay connected with yourself and how you feel today? What type of things can you do to keep that connection? We are not meant to live a life disconnected from who we are, we are meant to find a connection within ourselves and to what is around us, to live in harmony within our own lives but within a community that we identify with and fills us with joy. Find your own joy within as you love yourself and honor yourself in each present moment.
S – self L – love A – appreciate Y – you