For most of my adult life I did not want anyone to know that things weren’t rosy behind the white picket fence. I thought if I admitted my struggle, it was a negative reflection on my character. It meant I was weak, incompetent, lazy, and maybe even stupid. Pretty harsh words, huh?
I was acting a part. I was the perfect wife, mother, friend and professional. What I didn’t know was that if you play the same role for years, you begin to forget who you are. You drift further and further away from your true self and become a character from your imaginary life; just going through the motions.
Avoiding those feelings or then deciding not to seek help meant that I could tune out what I didn’t like——-shut off the critical voice. I didn’t have to hear how horrible I was, however, there was a big price to pay. There were days that I would BLOW without provocation. More often I would cry in the bathroom or in the car – that is where I could touch up my makeup so no one knew I had been upset. Put on a pretty face and carry on!
Last week I touched base with a friend who seemed different but I couldn’t put my finger on it. They asked me for advice on how I remain positive despite the many things I have on my plate. I truly am happy despite living in one of the most stressful times of my life. My secret? Once I started to admit I wasn’t “FINE” every time some asked me, I started to feel much better. It sounds simple because it is.
Now I don’t go on and on, in intimate detail every time someone chirps, “Hi, How are you today?” I am not obligated to say FINE. I’d rather to say something I am happy or grateful for. It shifts my thinking over to the positive side.
Let me interrupt this thought with an important reminder. Before you start giving anyone advice, ask them if they WANT YOUR advice and if they do, speak only from YOUR OWN experience—that is your truth. If not, zip your lip.
Why did I choose to check my emotions? What was I avoiding besides the critical voice?
I thought my friends would judge me when they knew I was struggling. THEY DIDN’T.
I thought I would have to justify or defend my decisions. NOPE.
I thought they would abandon me to avoid the drama. NOT A CHANCE.
I thought I may intensify or attract more of what I wanted to get rid of. This is something to pay attention to. If you feel stuck and you are repeating yourself, there may be another issue at play. I am talking about letting the words flow through you—looking for a release and ultimately resolution. Solid and stuck versus fluid and liberating— can you see where I am going?
Acknowledging what you are feeling allows you to keep moving. Did I feel better when I gave up my Oscar worthy performance? YES!!! I could breathe. Instead of stuffing my emotions, I could use the same energy to focus on myself. Yes, I can be sad, impatient, annoyed, irritated, afraid, etc. but you know what? The moments I spend in that place feels safer because I don’t sit there alone.
From the heart,