Having a Hard Time Expressing Emotions
Just when I think I’ve got it all figured out; when I have it all together, something happens and I slide back a few steps to discover that there are lessons I have yet to master. Such has been the case over the past couple of weeks. Instead of just admitting that my feelings had been hurt, I allowed myself to lash back in anger, or resort to silence. Clearly, neither of these were effective in the end, as the conflict continued, even into today.
I have never found it easy to be vulnerable with or around anyone, but I find it especially hard to do so with my adult children. Just as I convinced myself when they were young that it was not okay to cry or lose it in front of them, a germ of that still lives inside me, preventing me from just saying the words: When you did/said that, it hurt my feelings.
For many people, it’s all so simple. They live, the love, they feel and they express those feelings. I’m not one of those people. My parents both had trouble expressing emotions and my dad leaned towards the stoic. I only saw him break down twice in my life: once when he told us that his mother was dying of lung cancer, and once when he called to tell me my mom had died. Beyond that, he held his emotions in check, at least when I was around. No, that’s not true. The one emotion he didn’t hold in check was anger. I saw a fair amount of that from him, though I’ve learned over the years that it is the easiest emotion to express, so clearly, there was more to his anger than what he let me see.
My marriage was never really meant to be as I chose a man before I’d learned who I really was. Having my daughters was the right thing to do for all the wrong reasons, and being alone to raise them from the time they were four meant that I had to cover all of the bases, parent-wise, at least in my mind. For years, I was an emotionless wall of brick until something happened to crack my walls and then, the dam broke. But once the storm was over, I just rebuilt the walls and carried on.
When All is Said and Done, We’re All Just Works in Progress
A friend reminded me today that we are all constantly evolving. We meet challenges, learn lessons, add tools to our virtual tool box, and sometimes, we find that a lesson we thought we’d mastered wasn’t really mastered at all. That’s when we need to take a good, hard look at the stories we’ve been telling ourselves, and finally admit, if only to ourselves, that we still have some healing and forgiving to do.
Such was the case for me today. I am close with one of my daughters while the other is absent from my life along with her 5 1/2 year old daughter. Even though we are close, we don’t always see eye to eye, and we do things which are hurtful to each other without ever meaning to. We just get caught up in our own worries and responsibilities, and stop, for just a moment, being sensitive to each other. Eventually, it does pass, but not without taking a few nicks out of each other in the process.
I continue to lie to myself about the daughter who is estranged. I tell myself it doesn’t hurt that she’s adopted another family as her own, nor that the family she adopted used to be a close friend of mine. I do, however, accept and appreciate that it was time for the friendship to end. Maybe I’m not entirely lying to myself as most of the time, it doesn’t hurt. But sometimes, it does.
Vulnerability is NOT an All or Nothing Prospect
I need to put the above sentence on a big piece of paper and stick it on my wall where I can see it every day. It is a lesson I have yet to learn. Over the years, I’ve either allowed myself to be fully vulnerable to someone (on very rare occasions) or I show no vulnerability at all. I still haven’t figured out how to find that happy medium. But I believe that half the battle is recognizing the problem. Just as an alcoholic won’t stop drinking until she admits that she has a problem, so is it true for any other challenge in our lives.
The lesson I need to take with me tonight is that it is OK to show my soft side some of the time. It is OK to be the needy instead of the needed…some of the time. It is OK to drop the facade because facade’s by their very nature are nothing more than false fronts. In short, it really is OK to be yourself and let the world see you for who you truly are. That is not to say that there will be times when you need to play it close to the vest, but part of the process is learning when it is safe to be vulnerable and when it’s not.
My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for friends who teach me new lessons.
2. I am grateful for lessons which keep repeating because convincing myself that they’re learned does not make it so.
3. I am grateful for the yummy chicken adobo my son-in-law made for dinner tonight, and for the leftovers I’ll have next week.
4. I am grateful for my cats with whom I can always be vulnerable and for my two semi-ferals who are doing a terrific job of keeping my house and garage rat-free.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, sensitivity, support, happiness, friendship, challenges, lessons, peace, harmony, health, prosperity and philanthropy.
I hope you’ll take a moment to visit my Facebook pages at https://www.facebook.com/SheriLevensteinConawayAuthor?ref=aymt_homepage_panel and https://www.facebook.com/HLWTAccounting . Please also drop by my website, http://www.shericonaway.com and check out my Hire Me Page. I’ve created these pages as a means of positive affirmation and would be very grateful if you’d “like” them or leave a comment! Thank you!