Friday, November 30, 2012

Be Real In Relationships, Respect Emotions, Ask "What About Me?"

Ever since I was a child I knew that I wasn't able to be real in relationships. I was so afraid, although I didn't really know what that fear was about. Now I can see that I was terrified to let anybody know who I really was because I was certain I would be horribly punished. The spirit of "what about me?" used to gnaw away at me. I desperately longed for somebody to give me a chance.

I craved love and respect, but I never got it. I felt powerless and I was. I knew who I was inside of me but I couldn't express it. I didn't know then but I lived in a state of constant depression. It was just normal for me so I didn't question it. I thought that was what life was like for everybody. I was exploited and taken for granted the whole time.

I also had such powerful aspirations, to be a pianist, a guitarist and a singer. But I had no entitlement and self esteem and I couldn't hold onto myself, couldn't find a safe place within me or in the world. Of course my life ground to a resounding halt. And that's when I began learning about expressing emotions and feelings. It turned my life around.

Of course I had a lot of other inputs, but learning that I had the right to feel, and to be real about it, and to express started me on the journey of healing my entitlement and self esteem. I realised that I had the right to listen to my own body, and to do what I needed to do. And that was to let myself express with as much energy as I feel., but to do it in a safe place, on my own, so that I don't hurt anybody or myself or anything.

That's with my anger. With hurt I sometimes need to curl up into a foetus and stay warm and cry. Same with fear, although it's just different every time. If I really listen well, I can feel that inner part of me settling down and becoming just that little bit stronger. My experience now is that when I can’t express appropriately, within hours I’m depressed.  

I feel as I have no power, I'm physically tired, life looks scary and inhospitable, my thoughts are negative, and I can't believe anything can get better. Problems look insurmountable. Plus I can feel my body chemistry has gone out of balance. And then the repressed energy starts building.  It gets anything from mildly uncomfortable to totally unbearable.  

Which is a good thing because eventually I remember, oh, all I have to do is express this and be real about it. The moment I do, everything changes in an instant. Physically and mentally. It's amazing.
This isn’t about damage and violence - to myself or anybody else. It’s about healthy and safe release so that I never even entertain the idea of doing real violence to myself or anybody else. 

When we expect ourselves not to be affected by repressing emotions and feelings it’s a bit like having a pet that needs certain food and love and warmth, and leaving it outside in the cold, not feeding it, never giving it any love, and expecting it to be happy. It won't be happy, it will die. Most of us instinctively know that, and we don't try to lecture the pet into life. We feed it, we give it what it needs.

Why can't we do the same for ourselves? Our emotions tell us we need something, and we can't really understand what the need is until we listen to them and then express them. If we can't get to what we need, whatever is wrong in our life and relationships won't get better. And if it's not getting better, it's getting worse! This is all about entitlement and self esteem. We're allowed to listen to ourselves. We're allowed to express our emotions and feelings in a safe way.