Emotions Aren't Problems
When experiencing tough emotions and anxiety I probably get the most frustrated with all the circles that I can walk myself in. That's on top of the circles that others can lead me in, there's an unwarranted stigma around emotions and especially about expressing them freely or publicly. The ability to experience vulnerability is a stigma. Honesty is a stigma. Emotions are a stigma. It's true that everyone is fighting their own battle, but I think that pushing emotions down inside of you because you were taught to, teaches others to do it, and in turn teaches us that we are to fight our own battles alone. Sometimes I can, but always? No, I'd rather not.
To work myself through tough times I've learned that it takes an enormous amount of concerted effort. I had to practice finding peace and quiet, then I had to plant my feet into the ground and sit and meditate. I had to really stop myself and after taking that pause I had to do a little bit of glancing back into the past. A place where I may have or may not have left a lot of unturned stones. Then there was the practice of being present, this disrupted my peace quite a bit. The present is not always pretty, in fact it was what had me looking back in the first place. Thinking forward was my next step and then finally assessing what's not serving the forward vision. This is how I came to understand that there was a very confusing disconnect between the path that I had meant to take, the path that I had taken, and the place that I wanted to end up. The disconnect played the heaviest role. The place in my path between my past, present, and future that was turning me in circles instead of taking me forward. When I finally found what it was, after lots of difficult digging, it was overwhelming to see just how many circles I had walked myself in, specifically, just how many times I had walked myself in and out of the same emotional state, over and over, and never found that I was creating toxic paths in the process. Toxic paths that led me to poor behavior that I was accepting, enduring, pushing on others and then complaining about. Toxic paths that were my responsibility to eliminate for the sake of others and for myself.
Mapping out what I wanted to be in the future changed how I acted in the present, but that seemed to never be enough, I grasped that concept. It's a fairly simple one. What led me to the right track took more than just sitting down and writing down what I wanted in my future, there are so many places you'll read "write it down" "work it out" "The End" "that didn't work." I have always wanted the same things and the same successes. I'm a solid person in that respect. The loves of my life simply won't change, but the things I'm letting hold me back are emotionally present in my being, and they absolutely have to be addressed. There is no way around getting to the point without taking the up hill route and there's no way to get the train back on track if there are no tracks leading to my desired destination. This is where I came to understand the next vital part of my process, that my emotions aren't problems, they're the beginnings to my resolutions.
Emotions aren't problems, they're the beginnings to resolutions.
When I would experience negative emotions I would do what I thought it took to protect myself. Sometimes protecting myself meant hurting a lot of other people or putting myself away. I definitely push away people who repeatedly hurt me. That is not a problem, but how short am I stopping? And how soon am I jumping into the same pattern with people that don't have good intentions in the first place? How much of myself am I sacrificing to stay safe from my difficult emotions? I don't have to be everyone's cup of tea, but I do need to be careful with others and be careful with myself. A part of being careful was intentionally taking the time to get to know me, my needs, my faults, and the best part of all, my strengths because I'm going to need them and I'm going to need to cherish them. All of those discoveries were important and I'm working to make those the forefront of my being. That seems like a really simple notion for a lot of people, but for me, it has been a fight. I'll never stop running into someone trying to stop me. I've found that out and some of those people try to stop me whether they know they're doing it or not. I haven't gone without experiencing difficulties, but honestly, the difficulties have felt better to work through than any time that I hid myself away or jumped back on my same old route. The challenge has been more enlightening and refreshing than sitting still ever will be. When I finally discovered my choice of emotional circles I put a plan in motion to walk forwards instead of around. This was so not easy, this took practice and intentionality. Walking forward with confidence sometimes, if not all the time, is walking blind and I found myself not knowing where I was headed, but I had to get there. Which at first led to mostly hitting walls. Thinking I was on the path, then stopping and learning I took the wrong path. Part of hitting those walls were my attempts at avoiding fear. "This route looks easier," I'll take it. Bam. "This route looks safe," I'll go this way. Bam. I had to be really wrong first and accept my failures as they came. I had to admit to myself all of my faults that were contributing to that circle walk. Which brought on a lot of painful discoveries and a lot of difficult emotions, that I learned to share first with a therapist, and then with those closest to me. With the help of those who really cared, I saw myself through them, that's when I realized that I was getting the answer to my question: What do I need to do or change to make this better? Once I knew what it was that I was genuinely avoiding, that's when I had to take the hard route, "This route looks difficult, but I can see the end this way," that's the one I have to take. That's the one I've been unwilling to admit, I've been avoiding. So many old cliches, one liner wisdoms, came to my mind in the process. Songs I hadn't fully understood when I first fell for them. Sayings that I never doubted were right, but I didn't know would be THIS right. I didn't know they were, as clear as day (there's one).