Through my years of searching and learning, I have discovered tools to help me in the quest for health, happiness and healing. Tools like my faith, resilience, confidence, belief, hope, and courage have helped to pave the way to this point of my journey. I am a work in progress and while I believed at one time that I would eventually arrive at a final destination, I’ve come to believe that no one really arrives completely & fully done. I do believe we each have a choice as to whether we choose to stay where we are at, play it safe, by stopping to take risks and growing stagnant or whether we choose to expand or stretch ourselves by taking risks and living our true selves.
I’ve reached a fork in my path in which I have a choice of staying on this same path or stepping out onto a new higher path. A path that would serve me better and allow me to expand, yet means I will be walking into unchartered territory, thus risking falling on my face. I am choosing the higher path.This is one of the reasons I chose “Seek to embrace” as my words for 2011.
My quest of seeking to embrace myself is not an easy one by any means. I am attempting to tear down the remaining barriers that keep me from embracing my life. These walls, created by me, do not crumble easily. In spite of my desire over the years, to rip these walls down, there is a part of me that still puts up a fight. The thing with walls is that while they can bring a sense of safety, they at the same time can also keep the good out. They can barricade me from the very freedom I seek.
Some families come with the unspoken rules, “Don’t talk.” and “ Don’t feel.” Meaning you don’t talk about what is happening in front of you. You tell no one. You don’t feel emotions about it. You pretend you are not angry, sad, or scared. You pretend there is nothing wrong. When you don’t talk about it or feel anything it means there is no problem. When you shut down your feelings to what is happening it makes it easier to get through. It is all a matter of survival.
On the flip side of numbing your feelings or not expressing them, is that happiness, joy or excitement get numbed right along with the sadness and anger. You learn to smile even though your hurting. You learn to shed no tears even though your heart is crying.
Once you learn these rules they are very hard to break because they become habits that you do without thinking. To practice these rules, you must learn to quiet your voice and numb your feelings, which means they will conflict with what is happening in front of you or to you. Very confusing when you are a child but after awhile this is just normal.
For the most part, I don’t think these rules are intentionally taught but instead handed down from generation to generation as being normal. Even though I no longer subscribe to these rules, they are still written in the deep cresses of my being. Even though I am no longer living in survival mode, there is a natural bent that leads in that direction. Unknowingly these rules can still dictate to my heart what it will feel and still keeps me silent about the junk that lies in hiding.
There is a false sense of safety that comes with keeping silent and not feeling. Doing this with a smile on your face to mask what is within might even give the impression that all is well. Staying numb was key to my survival for many years but eventually staying numb back fires and becomes the very thing that keeps me stuck. Keeping the vow of silence has been to my detriment as it has given more power to the people and events that dictated that silence. Being comfortably numb no longer serves me well nor does it solve what lies within.
Breaking these rules is key to not passing these rules on to the next generation, which means feeling instead of numbing and talking about the truth instead of pretending it doesn’t exist. Defrosting my feelings was a painful process and while I have come far in doing so, I still find myself falling back into old habits or not recognizing my feelings.
I have worked hard on not passing these rules down to my children but I fear that my unfinished business could still negatively affect them. Breaking the chains of these rules that bind, is the missing link to moving forward and leaving the past behind. Over the years, I have come far from where I once was but I am looking to not stay stuck in the middle of that junk.
I personally believe that God, or as some of you might say, the universe, will keep bringing us through circumstances until we “get it”. I believe that He will keep sending us opportunities in different forms until we receive the lesson. I believe that He puts both difficult and good people into our paths to teach us and to learn from. I believe that He is presenting me with another opportunity to be free of the things that have held me back from being who I already know I am. I believe He is saying, “It is time.”
Keeping the silence and numbing myself, taught me to have a very high tolerance for pain, people and the kind of treatment I would accept for myself. This high tolerance has followed me every step of my journey and I am ready to change that.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to stop being tolerant because being or having tolerance is a good thing. For me, It means acceptance and respecting another’s beliefs, opinions and choices even if they are not my own. Tolerance means to be fair, objective and permissive in attitude towards those whose opinions, race, religion, nationality…etc..differ than our own. I am not seeking to change this part of tolerance in my life.
The kind of tolerance I am seeking to change is the kind that has allowed other’s to cause me harm without speaking a word of defense of myself. I am talking about the kind of tolerance that has allowed me to stay instead of leave abusive men or to be treated with such meanness, disrespect, unkindness, or any kind of negative treatment. While I have no tolerance for meanness or abuse towards others, I have not held up the same standard for myself. The thing is, often times I don’t recognize that it is happening because my tolerance level is so high and there is a part of me that is still numb to recognizing that I am feeling pain or another emotion.
While I no longer tolerate being hit, being called derogatory names or being cheated on, I find myself still tolerating things I shouldn’t. I tolerate without thinking. I tolerate without being aware that I am tolerating too much until much later. I tolerate and I tolerate until I am so hurt that I cannot help but realize that I have allowed things that I shouldn’t. I find myself choking down feelings and thoughts and yet I continue to stand in the boiling water.
I seek to lower the bar of what I will allow. This high tolerance is a barrier to my being able to embrace myself. It is a wall that keeps me from recognizing when others have crossed a boundary with me and to have the ability to stand up for myself. I do believe that we teach others how to treat us by what we allow and so I seek to teach others to treat me with respect.
I seek to break these rules of keeping silent and not feeling what I should when I am being mistreated. I seek to stop choking down my feelings and thoughts and to recognize when I am doing so . I seek to find my voice that stands up for myself and expresses what I am feeling. I seek to expose all these things to the light so that I can move on to having the same acceptance and tolerance for myself that I do for others.
I declare 2011 as my year to face the unfinished business of my heart and to embrace myself through the process.
I start this year of seeking by addressing my tolerance issues and completely breaking the rules that have silenced me once and for all. It’s time to face the secrets. It’s time to feel the emotions that I keep trying to avoid. It’s time to purge these things so they stop hurting my soul. It’s time to pull the weeds of shame and guilt so they stop choking out my life.
It’s time for me to blossom. It’s time.
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
-- Anaïs Nin
Until next time dear friends, love & hugs, Lori