You can be so dramatic....
When was the last time you were able to experience raw emotions? Why is it that in our society if we talk about emotions, it seems as though they have negative overtones and are called “drama?” We encourage individualism yet we tend to act more and more like each other. If you dare to point this out, you’re labeled as difficult or dramatic. Have you noticed that?
Now I do understand that within our communities and social norms we must be able to conform sometimes. This is merely due to social influence. This influence is solely based on others’ opinion of us. Since being different labels us, many of us decide to “go with the flow” instead of being at risk of rejection.
I am not encouraging or discouraging this kind of normative response. We all want to be liked and accepted by our peers. In a professional setting we must conform to meet professional expectations and standards. This is where compliance is observed by others since publicly we accept and live up to the expectations, though we might not necessarily agree with them in private.
In certain social settings we must, to some degree, remain flexible with our concepts and be open-minded. Sometimes there are those who emulate the behaviors of others to the point that “self” is completely lost. We may identify with a group and really admire everything about them so that we might very willingly be part of that group. But, at the same time, we might not choose to alter our own sense of self and our own beliefs. However if we choose to comply and change behaviors and our thinking to fit into a social group, we must evaluate whether this social setting is genuine or not.
I always felt a bit like a misfit in certain social settings. I eventually realized that, being an introvert, the social settings I picked had to have great value for me. I soon discovered the draining affect of superficial connections. I learned to give myself permission to limit time in certain settings and altogether opt out of some. It is important to realize that it is ok to do this. However, that is not to say that your true tribe will not challenge you to be a better person and point out some flawed emotions, feelings, and thinking you might have. This is great because nothing is static and anything that enriches our growth we should look at.
Of course there are the social settings in which the connections are so deep and energizing that you just can’t get enough of them.. Filter your social settings, give yourself permission to surround yourself with genuine and authentic connections. Do not sacrifice your true self to fit in because the choices we make complete us and the healthier those are, the healthier we are.
How can we express a genuine self if we fear rejection? The feelings we have are stored in our system from all the experiences we have had in life. These feelings , then, are driven by those experiences and they can be triggered at any give moment. You know that little, still, gut feeling you can have? Well, that is emotion and that is instinctual. However, something by being emotional is, therefore, irrational. The limbic system, which is our emotional processing center, does not govern conscious thoughts and reasoning. So we can be emotional and we can have strong feelings. What does that say about us? I know when it comes to hard decisions or events related to my loved ones I really struggle in this area.
We as a society tend to associate feelings and emotions in a very negative light. Feelings and emotions go hand in hand since the feelings that we have are reactions to an emotion stemming from an experience. Emotions are event-driven and your feelings are simply the reactions to that. How you react and behave as a result of these feelings is where we must focus. Emotions involve a fight or flight, immediate reaction. Feelings connect the body and the mind and look at long-term plans of survival. Working on this every day...
I spent many years in a fight or flight mode, at least from age three to my mid- thirties. The years between 24 and 32 were the hardest time of my life. I dealt with so much in my life and I really had no coping skills. I had no healthy examples of how to do life, let alone parenting. Being a single mom of four boys by the age of 24, I lived in fear of a husband who was threatening to kill me—and found great joy in letting me know how he would do this.
I was always trying to find a way to survive. My emotions and feelings ruled me and I felt like a ball in a pin ball machine. I experienced the hardest of emotions in the most negative way. There was fear, lack of self esteem, anger, resentment. I hated myself. I felt like a failure in almost every aspect of my life. Sadly my greatest failure was not being able to deal with this. I was just focused on surviving. In the process I was alienating and hurting the people I cared about the most. This is the most damaging way of handling your emotions and feelings. I did what I knew until I learned that there is a better, healthier way to manage emotions and feelings. And that, of course, is with with healthy behaviors.
Right now I encourage you to really look deeply into yourself. Ask yourself when was the last time you were free to feel? By that I mean to feel your whole range of emotions. All of them. In the moment when you react, who is there to offer a safe space for you to do so—of course assuming you are not harming yourself or others in that process. This is really important. When these emotions and feelings come up, how you handle them matters. Your behaviors matter. You do not get a green light to be harmful in any way, not to yourself, not to others.
Please read that again! That can be a huge compass to gauge how you behave. Regulating the reaction to your emotions and feelings can create much healthier outcomes and healthier connections with others. Reach out for help as needed, find the right support team to be there for you. Authentic people, who really care.
When I can express myself and share how I feel it helps me process and heal. The hope is that we have a tribe around us and they hold space for us while we are working through our emotions and feelings without making us feel guilty or bad about what we are feeling. When I stopped sharing my emotions and feelings to keep the peace, I started getting ill. Yes, you read it right; I was getting physically ill. Headaches, body aches, lack of energy, which in turn led to weight gain and more health concerns.
Your body will respond to the toxic emotions it is storing. I realized this after a few years when at last I was not in a toxic setting. I started healing and feeling healthier than ever. Not just physically, but mentally.
We have to do the work that creates change. Change begins with looking within and then outward at our environment. By making better choices I was having healthier outcomes. By making necessary changes to have a healthy environment I was getting stronger and I had more peace. I found that sometimes things do not need to be talked about and it is ok to walk away. Not every fight is yours to fight and not every person has that meaning in your life. Sometimes it is ok to be still and wait...
However, this does not mean that you cannot express emotions or feelings. You should. You should not feel that doing so will have a very negative impact on your well-being and relationships. Managing these without denying them is the key to a healthier, happier, and deeper connection in life. I can think of one emotion that is perceived as very negative due to how it is handled. And that emotion is ANGER.
What did this word awaken in you as you read it? Did you know that anger is good for your health if it is managed and addressed in a healthy way? Sadly I feel that so many of us hold this emotion hidden due to the fact that it, often, can have a negative outcome. I am here to say it doesn’t have to! I learned to accept this emotion and sit with it, try to see why I am feeling this way, but also, work through is without causing harm to self or others with that. Words can hurt too not just physical acts, sometimes the words have a greater lasting affect on us and others.
We all have moments in which we feel things we cannot express or fear that if we do it will not be in a healthy way. However, I encourage you to find a way to do this and do it in a healthy, safe setting. There is help if you don’t know how; find that resource. Ultimately if we handle it properly, we are breaking a cycle not just here and now but for generations to come. If we lose our voice, we lose ourselves along the way and more negative emotions and feelings set in. Avoid this by addressing situations as they come up, but do this from a place of love. Meditate and build a peaceful place in your heart, build a bubble around your body and reach out to God to give you peace, before you address difficult matters.
When something unpleasant happens based on our beliefs, we can misinterpret an event which in turn awakens our feelings and we are ready to react. Now it’s important to stop! Ask yourself what outcome do you want? Challenge yourself to create new pathways of interaction and try to implement new adaptive behaviors. Of course this is easier said than done. But, you can do it! It’s possible to do in social settings where you can be genuine and express yourself in a judgement free zone, in a safe space.
Imagine a life where you can have peace, contentment, love, happiness, deep joy, and still be able to be you. You can express all emotions and feelings within a healing circle that offers calm and tranquil stillness when the chaos overtakes you. What would that look like to you? Instead of being judged and punished for your emotions and feelings, how would it feel to be accepted and have the tribe that helps you alter the subconscious strategies of survival you developed to gain peace and healing?
I strongly encourage you to sit down, close your eyes and every time you have an emotion or feeling come up, sit with it, validate your own emotions and feelings. Try to find the root of it, take deep breaths and tell yourself it is all right; it is all right to feel this...fear, anger, love, peace..etc...and tell yourself that “I CAN CHOOSE WHAT I DO WITH MY FEELINGS...” as long as I do not cause any harm to self or others. I will accept me and develop healthy strategies of expression.
You can do this...I did....One thing is for sure, there is a higher level of emotional intelligence with a greater ability to develop authentic connections. My faith is a huge part of who I am today and what I accept for my environment or from others. God set a standard of living for me that I choose and I am thankful for. What is your core? What is your compass? Evaluate who you are. Change is hard but change must begin with us. Your changes will create change for generations to come. What you heal will heal for future generations.