In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.















Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Seeking Less Tolerance

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.

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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

 

36 comments:

TechnoBabe said...

Absolutely. It is now the time in your recovery to use your tools to better take care of yourself. You now understand that you are worthy. You matter. Speaking up for yourself does not mean conflict. It is not selfish. It is necessary for your well being.

jpooh said...

You know, I think tolerating more, if not abuse then disrespect, than we should is very common in women who have moved past abusive relationships. We're not being hit, we're not being told we're worthless or stupid, we're not being called vile names, we're not being cheated on so it must all be good, right?

It has taken me a very long time to realize that it's my responsibility - and right - to not tolerate anything less than the respect I deserve. You can do it, too.

Jan

Jeannie said...

You are braver than I. I think we must have led mirror existences. From learning to put up and shut up to being quick to defend others while not recognizing when your own boundaries have been seriously breached. I have always been afraid to let the emotion out because I'm pretty sure I couldn't get the lid back on. I am afraid of becoming one of those people who would make everything a drama. It pops out at times of course - when dealing with my mother (who is my not so innocent scapegoat) and when people butt into lines. Why I go ballistic over people who don't wait their turn is beyond me. There are worse things people do but that is where my anger erupts. I hope that your passage brings you to more peace and self-respect. I'll be paying attention to see if the waters might be safe for me too. Then again, I might wait for my mother to die before I can breath.

kcinnova said...

Well thought out and beautifully written. You ARE worthy of respect, and the very things that you are seeking to stand up for yourself are the very things you will do well to model for the next generation.

Brian Miller said...

oy i know all about the numb...and it almost cost me dearly...

Colleen said...

That quote is incredible Lori.

This post really touched my heart. I want to say that you have already come so far...it's incredible.
Isn't it so sad that so many people create the standard of silence in their own homes just because they are uncomfortable in bringing up issues that aren't easy? Some silences are a form of death...and if you really think about it, the death of trust. Because as soon as a child sees they can't go to someone and talk if they've been hurt, it's dangerous life territory.

I think you are doing so well Lori and from what I've read about your beautiful, warm, and loving family, you a creating a beautiful legacy.

God bless.

Linda said...

Lori, it seems that God has gifted you with the ability to express yourself eloquently. Writing down your thoughts can provide an outlet for you, even in those times when you're not sure how to respond in a given situation. Then, when emotions are a bit more under control, might be the best time to address the issues with the offending party.

I haven't experienced the things you've experienced, but I've seen them often enough. You seem to have made great progress in your healing. May God lead you to complete healing in Him.

Jeni said...

Excellent post! Just excellent!

Travel Nurse Extraordinaire said...

My family lived by similar rules. We didn't show emotions or say "I love you" or address issues, we just tolerated. I learned as time went on, how important it is to address instead of tolerate.

Love your quote and your 2011 moto!

Busy Bee Suz said...

WOW. This is huge. I can't imagine how hard it was for you to face this AND write about it.
Congrats on you tackling this big step Lori...you will live a richer life for it.
xoxoxo

Garnetrose said...

I read your post and I think of my youngest. She is so much like you in the way she handles things, emotionally. I, on the other hand, do not hold in my emotions. I scream and yell if I feel like it and I cry when I feel like it.
So she must have taken after her biological mom.

I can see her daughhter doing the same though. At the age of 3 she will be crying over something then suddenly smile, and say, "See Oma, I happy now," then she forces a smile. I know she is not happy but she seems to shove it down in and go about playing. I wonder if she has picked that up because her mom is forcing smiles while her life is falling apart?

It was a great post and it gave me something to think about....I hope you continue to grow strong.

Natalie said...

Yes, there are all kinds of abuse, some of them even silent.
We are all worthy of being seen the way God sees us...beautiful sparkling diamonds. ♥

Kit Kat said...

Beautifully said! You are an inspiration. Love you!

ain't for city gals said...

Lori,,,You are on the brink...you CAN do this!!! To live a life of numbness is no life at all. It doesn't mean that you are selfish or insensitive to what other people believe or feel... As Ty Murray the world champion bull rider says "You are never completely ready...sometimes is is just your turn"! What a lesson you will teach your little ones...to be strong...to be good...to be woman!..

My Aimless Infatuation said...

As I read your post it was as if you were writing about me,every word of it. You are an inspiration to me,thank you from the bottom of my heart.((hugs)).

Jacquelyn Stager said...

You've come so far...this was beautifully written...you really ARE a very good writer, Lori. I don't know how you find the time and energy to think much less write.

Have you heard of Made to Crave? I just listened to a webcast and it was fantastic. Check out www.madetocrave.org. As soon as I can I'm getting the book. Anyway, she said something that really jumped out at me (it's about losing weight) and that was "we are doing this not to be loved, but BECAUSE we are loved".

Same with you in your quest. God thinks you are worth it. That's your motivtion. You don't do it in order to be loved, but because you ARE loved.

Keep up the good work girl!

Just Be Real said...

Lori love the embracing picture. Precious. Lori what you shared here touched me and I can see by the comments, touched others as well. Appreciate always your honesty. Blessings.

ladyfi said...

Sounds like you are embarking on a difficult, liberating and fulfilling journey!

Nessa said...

Old habits and the rules we grew up with as a form of protection when we were children rarely work when we are adults if we want to mature and grow as people.

You are very courageous to be aware of and work on breaking the silence.

She Writes said...

That is a beautiful quote to end this with.

Jeannie said...

Hey Lori - the diet is called the Dukan Diet - the author is French. My husband ordered the books through the UK Amazon I think. No idea what they cost. This is day 5 for him and he has lost 8 pounds. Sounds like a lot but the first weight loss is mostly water.

You can check online to make quark. I thought I would try making it like yoghurt using the stuff I bought as a starter. If you can't find any quark locally, it says online that buttermilk is the same bacteria and you can use that to make it with - basically just leave the buttermilk in a sterilized bowl and a warm room temperature or in the oven with just the light on if your house is cool and leave it until it separates into the cheese and whey. Drain for a couple hours through a sieve/collander lined with cheesecloth or tea towel which you've poured boiling water through to sterilize (I used a coffee filter). The first time, I only made a small amount - 2 cups of milk (low fat but it should be skim) with 2 tbsp quark and got about 3/4 cup of quark from it. I warmed the milk a bit before mixing to speed it up. Last night I used a full quart but didn't warm it and it hasn't worked as quickly. The liquid whey from draining can be drunk or given to pets.

Together We Save said...

Thank you!! This is motivating to me!!

steppinthru said...

BEAUTIFULLY written from the most precious heart I know. Love you, Lori

Joanna Jenkins said...

Dear Lori, I admire your determination and braveness. I know you can do it and I'm here cheering you on.
xoxoxo jj

Deborah said...
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Deborah said...
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Deborah said...

I just came across your blog and read your latest post. Very beautiful words. I too am on a similar journey to learn to embrace myself in this new year...

wolfie185 said...

This is great Lori!! We becoming willing to face new challenges when the time is right in our lives. Nothing I have done to make a positive change came by trying to force the willingness. It only came when I was spiritually ready and willing. I am glad you have the spiritual willingness now. You are worthy, you are a child of the Universe/God and as this child you are just as equal to every other child. Remember the greatest love of all is learning to love yourself.

Sorry I didn't read this sooner, I was caught up in my own stuff.

Hugs from Nebraska.

Unknown Mami said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!

No one benefits from you being anything less than whole.

LauraX said...

oh Lori...as you know it's been a busy week for me, so I just read this wholehearted expression of where you've been, where you are and the realization that this is a journey in which you are empowered. My heart feels full reading your words, and I am so proud of you my friend for breaking the silence, bit by bit...step by step...healing is starting right now. YOU are blossoming, a beautiful flower, it is now your time to open, receive the light and love of the sun.

Zella said...

Hi Lori - thanks for your kind words in my blog. I'm just popping in here real quick to let you know that I sent you an email. Will be more active in the coming weeks; thanks for caring.

Kathryn Magendie said...

just wanted to stop by and say hello to you . . .

deb said...

Lori....
you are so incredibly beautiful. Inside and out.

wishing you so much strength and peace as you embrace.

sometimes I scare myself with anger when I am overcome with emotions I have held in too long, but it's all process and I know I will get better at being less of and more in the right places.

love to you

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Nezzy said...

Amen sweet sister. You go girl, I too believe that God has planted us here on this Earth to grow and thrive so spread those wings and fly sweetie. I'm embracin' the year with ya!!!

I just spent a 'hard' week in Texas with my family for my Dad's memorial. The word for my sister has to be chaos...it was soooo good to get home.

God bless ya and have a marvelous week sweetie!!!

Nancy said...

Good for you. You can do it! You have every right to be treated exactly the way you treat others. Accept nothing less.