As I learn more and more about myself and my emotional intelligence, I have realized that one thing, had been holding my emotional growth hostage. I had this one thorn, unknowingly, paining me for way too long. It was time to pull the proverbial thorn out of my side and finally start healing. If I wanted to start living my best life, I had to let go.
I was ready to admit and face the fact that the absence of my dad had impacted several aspects of my life, without me even knowing. Staying strong and playing cool no longer served me, deep down I was in pain and hurting. AHHH….That feels nice to say.
I masked my hurt and pain because I had developed this very shitty system of coping. A system that “worked” for a while as I easily glided through the day-to-day. If anything/anyone tried to break my system, well good luck, wasn’t happening. The song Butterfly Kisses, by Bob Carlisle, well it was on my do not play list FOREVER! See, you can’t be hurt, if you don’t face any pain. Perfect plan. NOT. Smooth sailing doesn’t rock boats if ya catch my drift.
I was like Fort Knox. Such an ugly way to live honestly. I didn’t trust (new) people easily, accept (new) people until I felt comfortable, I had a hard time, expressing certain emotions and being vulnerable. I had been refusing, for all of those years, to acknowledge my loss, which caused me pain and hurt. Therefore, I stalled myself emotionally by ignoring what was truly going on. I was hurt. I realize now, how detrimental stuffing it down, had been in my life. There is no longer room for hurt in my life. I had to focus on my children and my husband and only share my happiness with them. The question at the time was how?
When I realigned the way I viewed my pain, and focused on growing from it, my life dramatically changed. My relationship with my kids grew stronger, more importantly my relationship with my husband improved too. Being that I was emotionally unavailable at times, there was a period of time where we suffered. We had a rocky period, which in turn caused a great deal of growth. I am so grateful that we experienced my awakening together. I needed to let go, of the true hold up, if I wanted to save and nurture our relationship. I made a vow to be more open and to release my shit. Free from the baggage that littered my heart at the time, we were able to forge our new path together.
Without that rocky time I would not have realized how badly I needed to change. I was “fine” with navigating my life the way I always had. The truth is I wasn’t fine. I was far from fine, I was just doing the best I could, with what I had and I was just barely surviving emotionally.
I am so grateful for that experience because I wouldn’t have become a better woman, wife or mother. I would have been a divorced, single mom if I didn’t open myself up. I knew I didn’t want that. I just had no idea what I was supposed to do, I just knew that I wouldn’t quit. That was enough motivation to dig deep and start dealing with shit. It was time to let go.
I mean I knew in my heart that I was the only one responsible for pushing through my own pain. I was the only one in charge of my life. Holding onto hurt and letting pain overrun me became a huge stonewall in my life.
We should not continue to let pain multiply. My pain would have been immense, if I chose not to learn and move forward from it. I knew the only direction I wanted to go in was forward. I had already lived way too many years holding onto something that I could not control. In fact it was controlling me.
Working on myself made it clear to see, the way my emotional absence, almost derailed my personal life and relationship. It all started with my natural guard always fighting to stay up, never-resting, especially with my husband. Do you know the type of exhaustion that creates? When you have your guard up 24/7, you are never vulnerable and you get worn down.
I had always joked in the past that I didn’t have feelings and for a long time, I kind of believed that. I was so conditioned to mask my feelings, that I kind of forgot to acknowledge my emotions, about really anything. I was dead inside. Ya, that WAS me.
I realized that my denial of certain events, certainly didn’t make it go away, regardless of how hard I tried. I was so quick to just forget the pain of all of that, that I never truly worked through it. I mean pain is a huge part of life. So it was a big mistake, stuffing it down and ignoring it, instead of tackling it head on.
My behavior became a coping mechanism so I didn’t have to feel or deal with any pain. Staying in my self-created bubble made me feel comfortable but it was definitely one of the most unhealthy things I could do to myself. I was ignoring my baggage to mask my own pain but that left me unable to cope and develop healthy relationships in life. It took me a long time to truly stomach that my “baggage” needed to be checked and left behind.
I had this deep desire to “fix” myself because I needed to finally be an emotionally available partner and parent to my children. I was unable to be a great partner for a very long time because I just kept stuffing everything inside. Eventually, I found myself self sabotaging myself because my feelings bled out and I just felt so frustrated. All of that was unnecessary and easy to avoid. If I could just become more self-aware, in regards to my emotions, things would and could improve.
I knew that I was withholding my emotions, refusing to be vulnerable with my husband, which eventually wore me down anyway. I had this misconception that being vulnerable meant you were weak but I found out slowly, it actually meant you were stronger. I made a commitment to myself, that I no longer wanted to be held emotionally hostage, I had lived like that long enough.
I mean let’s be real for a minute. Everyone deals with things from their childhood. Clearly, they have a hand in shaping our emotional state but that does not mean that we can’t change. It is just that most people don’t know how or don’t want to change. For a very long time, my problem was that I just didn’t know how. As I do more reading, listen to self-improvement podcasts, learn more about others, I am able to see just how important it was to figure out how to change and grow.
At the time, I wanted to change solely for myself which I know is the most important factor. I had this commitment throughout my life, which was my saving grace. I would never be held back by excuses or circumstances. I feel for the most part I have always prevailed in that area. Thank God.
You see I would say this is just the way that I am. Bla, bla, bla but it was all bullshit. I literally would freeze up and cringe if someone went to hug me. That is not a good sign, despite the fact that “it was just the way I was.” No. No. No. I knew I had to change. I knew I wanted to change but how could I do that? When I had lived over thirty years being emotionally unavailable?
So much so that most people would say their first impression of me is they were “intimidated.” Ugh, I’m not cool with that, at all. I want people to feel my true warmth, generosity and kindness that I had left hidden in me. I finally knew what the problem was. I just didn’t trust people. Until they proved themselves.
I did not want to go through life, particularly as a parent, shaping the minds of my three beautiful kids, to not trust easily because I didn’t. I knew what caused my emotional state, to protect itself. I knew I would not utilize that as an excuse. It has impacted my life so much so, that I knew I wanted and needed to change for them. As I peel back the layers though, I wanted to change for myself mostly because I was sick of living my life so closed off. I slowly got a taste of what it was like to feel vulnerable and I truly liked feeling more free with my emotions and feelings. It made me feel more alive.
About three years ago I committed to opening myself up more. I became more transparent with my thoughts and feelings because I wanted to be myself with no holdup. I would be lying if I told you this was an easy process, it hasn’t been (you know the whole can’t teach an old dog, new tricks has some truth to it.) Along the way I would regress depending on the situation. I had encountered many times where I would quickly retreat back to my old ways. When I endured something that caused pain or discomfort, it typically caused me to revert back into my turtle shell.
This journey of letting go of the negative emotions, relationships, and feelings that no longer serve me in my quest for peace has been an interesting one. I have found my quest for peace to be astonishing, painful and one of the most impactful events in my life. I have uncovered myself again. I have released negative feelings towards people, which I kept hidden. I acknowledged them, truly forgave, released and moved on. It is important to participate fully in your own life. I no longer wanted to be sidelined in my own game. I want to be the MVP.
Stop for just a minute.
Ask yourself this question.
Do you want to play or sit on the sidelines of your own life?
With your honest response, it is time to start developing a workable plan. You see as Tony Robbins says, “If you stop growing, you die.” I want to continuously make changes, improvements, adjustments, and release negativity. Clear head, clear heart and that is the only way I want to live my remaining years.
Keep in mind, Rome was not built-in a day, so be patient with yourself. Know and believe, that you can and will evolve. It is so worth investing time, into your own life. That looks different for each of us. Yet, it is the same. We all suffer. We all celebrate. Choose to celebrate. Invest in yourself, your happiness and freeing your emotions. Make changes, continue to grow and create the life you are meant to live. It is time to let go and start living your best life.