Yeesh, with all this pressure to have our shit together all the time its no wonder we have warped vulnerability into being something of a weakness....to be accessed only in the worst case scenario, avoided and a last resort. When did needing help become a source of shame? When did having feelings make us intense and too much to handle? What if feelings are a wonderful source of information to allow deeper insight into ourselves and allow connectivity with others? Furthermore, the communication of this information encourages others to meet us where we actually are, in that moment...and maybe, just maybe provide us with the love we really need.
*note: I do not claim to be an expert in communication or relationships. I am a person...trying to figure it all out man...so back off. I mean, come closer. I need your help. Just don't judge me and let's try it, together. Sound good? Good.
"I'm feeling scared and alone and am hoping you can be kind to me."
"That hurt my feelings and I would like to talk about it to understand where you are coming from."
"My mind is cycling negative thoughts and I would appreciate you helping me find clarity."
"My feelings are really intense right now and we should revisit this when I am more calm."
"I see my part in your difficulty and I am sorry I caused you pain. Let's use this as an opportunity to understand each other so we can continue to communicate more effectively."
Whoa. Radical right? But who the hell talks like that?! Wouldn't it be so awesome?! A girl can dream ;)
Radical honesty and vulnerability are actually super powers and aid in allowing ourselves to get some pretty basic core needs met. You know, like love, understanding and a sense of belonging and connection. With mindfulness and radical self-acceptance we can transmute our triggers to become our allies in letting us know where the healing is needed and how to better communicate our actual needs.
So, what is stopping us from being real about our feelings? Sometimes we get so caught up in the feelings that we don't even allow ourselves to be real with ourselves as to why we are actually upset in the first place. For example, I was neglected as a child. My parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. They said they were going to do things and then, well...they didn't. I don't blame them, I love them very much but them are the facts. I have come a long way in my healing and it was recently that I was able to put together why I am so hurt when people blow me off, make me wait around and or say they are going to do things and well, don't. Not ideal behavior from others, but you know, shit happens. I'm a reasonable person so it started to become apparent that there was something more to my upset. Do I really need to let down the iron gate, pull up the drawbridge, fill the mote and release the dragon just because someone is late? Damn, it was so much easier when I got to feel justified in my disappointment and blame others for my frustrations. When allowing myself to get so upset, I fed the story that people will always disappoint me , I can't count on anyone, I am alone and have to do everything myself...and so on. At one point, as a child, I needed those thoughts to survive, to protect myself. As an adult, it is my job to know when I am projecting and learn to ask for what I really need. Revolution.
Accepting myself and my hair trigger reactions (vs denial and blame) allowed me to ask if maybe I was being too sensitive and limited in my beliefs...and ask myself why? What is the information my hurt feelings are providing? What is my subconscious mind trying to tell me? Soooooo, recently, when I was faced with opportunities ( withholding love from a late friend and blowing up with anger after having been blown off by a date) I went within and asked myself what this tendency is all about? I validated my feelings and created space for information to surface. My wounded inner child came forth and she had some shit to say.
Looking into my eyes in the mirror, (doesn't have to be in the mirror but I'm creepy like that) it went something like this:
Caring Adult (me, the one who has learned to love and be free from past hurt):
"I care about this pain. I want to know what is needed to be free."
Wounded Inner Child (also me but traumatized and suffering me that lives within my psyche creating chaos until I finally listen and give her the love she needs to heal):
"Don't abandon me."
CA: "I'm so sorry that I did. I am here now. How can I make you feel safe?"
WIC: "Show me love."
CA: "I love you so much. I am here."
It's really really important to take caring action that will show your inner child that you do in fact care about their healing. I decided to read some self-help crap (just being cheeky but serious Tara Brach is a goddess) and relax in bed. This made me feel so much better. My thoughts became less anxious and I was able to create a new pathway for experience. Wounded inner child work for the win!
Just this small gesture was enough for me to reclaim a part of myself. The truth of who I really am...which I choose to believe is a person who has the ability to create a new reality for myself. When I am projecting onto others the disappointments I felt from my parents, not only am I keeping myself in a state of hurt which causes me to push play on the tape player of all my worst thoughts about humanity, it also signals the release of the all too familiar playlist of how it all probably means that I am unlovable and not worthy of having people in my life that I can rely on. This cycle causes my inner child to feel abandoned. Intense right? We all do this on different levels and in different contexts...its subtle and unconscious you see. Now, knowing this tendency within myself, I can choose to be transparent and share my struggles. Instead of shaming others, attacking and treating them poorly, I can give them the information as to why it is hard for me and let them know that I am working on being more understanding and forgiving.
Sure, there will still be times in which I just get pissed off, I've been this way for a long time but when I am in a place of transformation, I can take my finger off the trigger and give myself the love and care I need. This will allow me to be patient with others and I can be kind even if my initial feeling is to grab the drawbridge. I'm not suggesting accepting repeated disrespectful behavior from others and taking all the responsibility. Discernment is paramount in understanding what is ours and what is others areas of growth. I am advocating honesty, self-acceptance, vulnerability and talking about why we are upset by someones behavior, when it is actually happening.
If you are like me you often devalue your own feelings and tell yourself you shouldn't be as upset as you really are. It's not that big of a deal, we say to ourselves,...or we let other people tell us that our feelings aren't valid. Just relax they say, don't think so much they say. It wells up and becomes worse, ack! Feelings don't just go away the more we push them down. We are not trash compactors with built in incinerators. We need to talk about our feelings. It's not so scary. They are just feelings and feelings are more importantly, information that can lead us to empowerment and self-love.
There is one more aspect of this process I should mention. Sometimes, even when you do have all the right beautiful words and our intention is clear and you just splayed your heart out on a silver platter and handed it to someone...they, uh...well, may not be in a place to receive it. Do not fret my friend. YOU GOT THIS! You can still Heal That Shit Babe™ (more on this later) because you are the only one who can give you what you truly need anyway. The healthy and supportive folks in your life will be there with open hands, hold fast to these treasures, true loves are gold. But, if people in your life aren't able to hear your truth and listen to what you are deeply yearning for then you need to reevaluate if they are healthy to be connected to and alter your boundaries accordingly.
We can still be kind when feeling a persons lack of emotional availability/openness. There lack is again, important information that allows us to be clear on what we can ask of others. We don't have to explode and shame the other...what if instead we told them that we are sad and disappointed because we thought we could count on them and our feelings are hurt. Furthermore, when we stand in our truth, we allow others to be radically honest and share their feelings. We may even come to realize that perhaps we were asking too much of someone. Again, there is no need to keep putting yourself in situations in which your energy and love is not being reciprocated. Our understanding of everyones unique levels of development is a much needed consideration. Do the inner child work and truly connect with yourself, find compassion for those who can't and wish them well on their healing journey. In doing this soul work, we become more mindful of our feelings, there root cause and how to trust effective communication...and part of that trust is knowing that the other may not react the way we want but that we are going to be ok because we can give ourselves the love we need. Radical self-acceptance for the win!
May we all be brave enough to slide on to the slip n slide of consciousness. I welcome you, slip on into my heart baby. Its a garden that needs some tending...but perhaps you can help me pull some of these weeds? Let's lighten the load we all carry and open up to our true feelings. It's fun!!! We really need each other and thats a beautiful thing.