Has there ever been a time in your life where you felt like you couldn’t do anything right no matter how much you tried?
Think back to your childhood. When was the first time you felt like a failure? Take a few moments and REALLY think about this. Meditate on it. Then, once it has come to you, write it down. Go ahead. I’ll still be here.
Why is this important? Why do I want you to go back to a time that may not have been so pleasing?
It’s simple. We think we have healed. We think these moments don’t bother us anymore. We think we are strong and that we can conquer anything. We most likely can. The problem is, if we have never truly dealt with the feelings surrounding these moments in our lives that impacted our decision-making later in life, we may find that we are never really able to form meaningful relationships and the people we bring into our lives are literally sucking the rest of what we have left (strength, motivation, resilience) out of us. We are putting out negative energy, which in turn, brings more negative energy.
So it is really important to go back to the instances that began this in the first place. Think about them, write about them, talk about them. Once you are able to do this, you may find it is easier to form more meaningful relationships. If you have a business or go to work, the people who are drawn to you will be different. Instead of putting out negative energy, you are putting out more positive energy, which in turn will bring more positive and impactful people into your life.
I write this off of personal experience. Up until recently, I thought I was good. My past doesn’t dictate me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, right? We all are. The problem is, if we do not TRULY believe that, we are not going to allow ourselves the freedom we need to press forward. We will still be holding on to those past emotions that continue to hold us back from the one thing we need in this life - progress. We will not allow ourselves to progress until we let go of those underlying emotions we didn’t even know still existed.
So how do you know if your past is still haunting you? Think about how you react to people and things around you. If you really take some time to examine certain situations, you may just find that you are still harboring some feelings you never dealt with. If so, I urge you to begin the healing process. Maybe your story should be shared so you can help others deal with the same types of issues or circumstances.
What I am not: a licensed counselor; what I am: someone who has a PhD in LIFE
I realized that the more I bottled up things in my past, the more it impacted me as a wife, mother, and friend. I had to get to a point where I could not continue down the rabbit hole of destruction. Some people just go along and never realize they are in control of their situations. Unless you tackle the issues one by one, they are still going to be there and they will deter your true progress in life.
So, let today be the day you become more aware of your thoughts. Examine your relationships. What did you grow up with? Were you loved unconditionally as a child or were you involved in a dysfunctional Groundhog Day. Mine was the latter. While I thought all these years that I was good, it became more and more evident over time (and me really examining how I react to stimulus) that I was not ok. Therefore, you will begin to see this unfold as I use the circumstances to help others. In turn, this begins the healing process for me - the true healing process.
I have been reading a book called, The Search for Significance, by Robert S. McGee. This book has been truly helpful in allowing me to open my eyes to some feelings I have kept bottled up for years - instances in my life I kept under wraps in fear of what others would think. This has truly plagued me in my progression. I was holding myself back because I never truly healed from things in my past.
Think about how you express yourself to others. I’m not talking about strangers on the street, but the people you are close to. Do you tell them how you feel about things or do you keep your emotions under wraps in fear of what the other person may say or think? Did you know that your past also dictates this portion of you. If you were loved growing up, you will tend to be more emotionally open. When someone gets mad at you, you will understand it’s not you, but something they need to work out in their own life. Or, do you internalize it and make it about you? Do you feel less than adequate if someone gets upset with you and you know you had good intentions? This is what happens if you had a more difficult time in your early life.
Let’s look at “The Feeling Wheel” found in the book mentioned above.
"The Feeling Wheel is a visual tool designed to help people recognize and identify their own feelings. When a person is asked to express feelings, there is frequently a real vagueness in identifying the way he or she feels...[we say] I feel good, I feel bad, I feel better, I feel worse, I'm okay." We aren't normally comfortable with telling how we truly feel. Think about your daily interactions. How often do you really tell people how you feel? This is something I really had to work on because until I started opening up more, my relationships were not near as deep as they are now. They were superficial, because I was being superficial. The next time you have a conversation with someone, try opening up just a little more. Not too much, but just enough to where you feel as though you addressed any concerns you may have had. This is even more important in the work I do now. If I am not comfortable with sharing myself with others, how can I expect them to share themselves with me on a more intimate level? As we continue this program, I urge you to be open in your feelings and thoughts. It may feel different at first and be challenging, but you may just find that your experience is so much better just because you made the choice to be all in on a more emotional level.
The middle feelings are those we initially feel in life when we are confronted with a situation or other person. Look at the outer portion of the wheel. These are the feelings that come out of those initial emotions if we do not begin to discover ourselves on a deeper level and heal from the initial feelings.
Are you someone who keeps things bottled up? This can be dangerous (again, speaking from experience). If you continue to do this, you will one day let it all out. The problem is, you may end up taking it out on the wrong person. Have you ever found yourself getting mad at someone you love for no apparent reason? If you are a parent, maybe you can go back to a moment when someone or something didn’t sit well with you and instead of tackling that emotion right then, you suppressed it and moved on. Then your child does something that isn’t favorable, like you tell him/her to do something and instead he/she sits there and doesn’t move. I have definitely had this happen numerous times. Due to the fact I didn’t tackle the emotion that occurred before the child chose to continue sitting there after receiving your order, you blow up on the child. Why do we take our emotions out on those we love? Because we know they will continue to love us no matter what (or at least we hope they will). It’s safer. We are more inherent to try and please the rest of the world (strangers), so we suppress the emotions we have with the people who are REALLY triggering the emotions we need to address.
In order to own your emotions, you must be willing to free them as they come. Does this mean going off on every person that doesn’t do right by you? NO! Sometimes, it takes us turning that mirror around and figuring out if it’s really that person making us emotionally distraught or is it an underlying emotion we never truly dealt with that just came back to the forefront of our minds? Here’s what I have begun doing more of and I urge you to try it as well if you find yourself not on the path you envisioned or surrounded by people who are taking every last bit of sanity you have left: each time a situation arises in life, whether it be with a person (customer, friend, or family member) or thing (an unforeseen circumstance that has left you in a bind), take a step back in your mind BEFORE you react. What are you doing at that moment? Are you getting upset? Is the emotion negative or positive? If it is negative, think about why you are processing it in that manner. Before you suppress it or react on it, think about why you are in that space. These thoughts should only take a few seconds. If the emotion needs to be handled, do it in a loving manner. Don’t come off judgmental or confrontational. Think about what you are about to say or the thoughts that are going around in your head. Tackle the issue right then and there. Talk to yourself if you need to, but whatever you do, don’t bottle it up thinking it will go away. It won’t. It will resurface and it may not be at a time that it should.
Own your emotions so they don’t own you. It all starts with you and the effort you are willing to put into this. I will tell you that once I began doing this more (it’s a daily thing for me now), opportunities began to surface, I allowed myself to receive more positivity in my life, and the relationships I am forming are deeper. The negative people are no longer sucking the life out of me because they have long disappeared. Am I saying my life is now perfect? Not at all. Again, it’s a daily thing I have to examine every morning and decide how I am going to function that day. The more I heal from the past and choose to function in happiness, the brighter my days are. I want that for you as well. All you have to do is be willing to be open with yourself. While you are strong and you are champion, you also still have feelings. You have to deal with those feelings so they don’t keep you from living the life you were always meant to live. You can do this. I believe in you.