But if you didn’t come
And find me…
I would die.”
― Shirley Bassey
Some would argue the following but I think one big thing that distinguishes humans from other species is that we are emotional beings. Our ability to feel is precisely what drives us to do what we do – be it in our career choices, creative expressions, our interests but most especially the people who we choose to spend time with. So it is safe to say that we aren’t able to really and truly live if we don’t feel…wait, is that actually possible – not to feel?!
I have been blessed with an old soul which some have humbled me by equating it to wisdom. And T’s ‘wisdom’ has been taking some notes in the last couple of years as my own work on Self has been progressing. AND since sharing is caring….read on! 😉
I have become aware of the increase in the number of people who are walking around ‘not feeling’. Some of them walk around shuffling their feet, others putting on the biggest smiles, some yelling and screaming at anyone they can, but most of them are ‘normal people’ just like you and I, walking around doing ‘normal people’ things in ‘normal people’ ways. Yet I can never turn away from their gaze without seeing that glaze over their eyes which to me, just screams…well it screams many things – fear, pain, self removed from the world. Now remember, you would never be able to know what it is that that person has gone or is going through. The only thing that you will sense is their emotional disconnect which makes it hard for them and for you to effectively connect/relate to and communicate with each other.
Take a minute and think – have I just described you or someone you know? Don’t stop reading – you are not being judged. I still think that you are amazing. Take a big breath and remember, you are not alone.
Just like a person has many layers to them, some of which aren’t always complimentary but are actually contradictory, so do feelings! Every emotion we feel has its own truth, time and place. It’s not about breaking down the emotion and labelling it as good or bad, but taking it as what it is and allowing it to be expressed in an objective way – similar to different aspects of our personality, huh? The thing is, we’re not always taught how to deal with emotions, communicate our feelings or express them in a way that doesn’t consume our whole being so we take it to the extreme – either by getting completely lost in them and allowing them to control our actions and reactions OR by suppressing them. Being someone who has done both, I can honestly tell you that neither of them are healthy for any part of our being.
Getting lost in my emotions paved the way for draining, incoherent arguments which were damaging to the relationship and both parties involved. They would leave both people feeling absolutely exhausted and confused as to how things escalated to that point. I understand now that I was holding on to feelings from the past I hadn’t dealt with, which actually had nothing to do with the conflict I was dealing with at the moment, but because these emotions (past and present combined) were overwhelming for me, I couldn’t see myself outside of myself nor outside of my emotions….well until someone who I love and highly respect pointed it out to me and literally changed my life (shout out to S.A.M.!).
I’ve also suppressed feelings which…well to be honest I suppressed feelings which made me feel pain, embarrassment, anxiety, but I also suppressed love. You see, as a result of an unhealthy relationship, combined with unique childhood circumstances, death of my hero, and a splash of growing pains which I simply ran away from, I blocked myself from feeling. I didn’t think I did this of course because I was still social, and fun, and did things, and travelled, and interacted with people….except that I wasn’t really able to BE. It was as if, I kept myself busy with everything that I felt was good for me, just so I don’t have to feel certain things. ‘WHY?’ you ask? Because I was scared.
I feared feeling. Not only did feeling lead me to emotions that I didn’t understand how to handle in a healthy way, but it also led to pain – “Even when I loved, it sometimes hurt so why would I do that again?”, I thought. But the thing that broke my carriage was all that heavy baggage…and garbage. You see, we can only suppress feeling any emotion for so long. At some point you come to realize that something is just not quite right because that ‘success mountain’ (success could be any personal advancement, be it love, career or family) whose top you’ve been trying to reach has suddenly quadrupled in size because you have too much ‘stuff’. And then you realize that you gotta stop and take a break wherever it is that you are at that point to sort through all of that ‘stuff’ which you’ve been carrying around and not dealing with.
Now I’m going to keep it real here – sorting through your ‘stuff’ is NOT easy, it is A LOT of work and it’s NOT always fun! However, very quickly after engaging in the process (which by-the-way is unique to everyone), you start to realize how much lighter you feel, how much more meaningful your interactions with others become, and most importantly you realize how much you’ve grown. No longer is the ‘child’* inside of you, who does not have the right tools, experience or knowledge to deal with emotions, telling you to hide, but you’re actually consoling it and nurturing its growth and maturity. You took your ‘child’ emotional state by its little hand, and walked it along the path of love really.
I can already sense some readers thinking “Love?! What’s love got to do with any of this? We’re talking about not feeling here! Stay on point T!” but the truth is to truly love anyone, including Self, we have to love ALL – the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’, the ‘happy’ and the ‘sad’, the ‘angry’ and the ‘forgiving’, the ‘serious’ and the ‘goofy’….that’s called UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. And if we’re suppressing our emotions because some of them don’t make us feel good, then it’s the same as not accepting the multitude of layers of our personality – we cannot love unless we embrace and accept ALL. Our feelings and emotions are reflections of us and truths of who we really are. They’re not always going to be lovely and nice. They’re just going to BE. And we have to allow them to be and feel them in order to climb the ‘success mountain’ which has now become almost a flat plain with bumps and hills and mountains and valleys along the roads but it’s not so draining walking it anymore. The ‘stuff’ isn’t heavy now and we’re so much more fit for any rough terrains and weather conditions…well that’s been my experience anyway.
I would not be who I am today if I didn’t have all that ‘stuff’ but I would not be able to keep going if I didn’t deal with it.
Love yourself, embrace and feel your emotions, and LIVE your life fully.
*I use the word ‘child’ here not because it is a reference to things from our childhood but to highlight the fact that, in a way, not dealing with our stuff and not feeling OR allowing our emotions to control our actions and reactions, suggests that we are in a child-like emotional state and that there is a need for growth. It is not meant to be derogatory or bad or to make anyone feel bad – after all, that is how I would have described my young Self – but it’s just my perspective.