I Believe You. Those three words are so helpful to hear when I’m struggling with self-acceptance. As a child I wasn’t believed. I would describe what I was feeling and promptly talked out of my experience. I was told not to cry, be quiet and don’t upset your mother.
Simple directives became an emotional prison. My inner critic was born, standing at attention, pacing the perimeters reminding me to follow directions if I want to survive. Plain and simple.
I learned early on to deny my emotions.
I grew up ignoring my feelings.
I am an emotional being.
An internal war began.
In 2014, I was working a particularly stressful job supporting the office of an interventionist dealing with clients in crisis. I had demanding tasks. I screened telephone calls, sort of a hotline, for people in dire need.
I was in dire need.
My daughter was spiraling down in her health. My elderly dogs were showing signs of transition, and my main support system was 3,000 miles away. I was barely coping holding it together.
I learned a fundamental lesson that stays with me to this day.
Honor my emotions.
Every hour has 60 minutes.
I focus on my tasks for 50 minutes of every hour
I focus on my emotional needs 10 minutes of every hour.
I set my alarm.
Made a plan
Paced myself through the day
Hour by hour
At the designated time
I laid my head down,
Closed my eyes, cried if I felt like it,
Worried, sagged, whatever I needed.
When the timer rang, I pulled myself together
For the next 50 minutes.
It seemed ridiculous at first. I don’t need to do this. What will people think? I don’t want to reveal what I’m really feeling!
I ignored my worries.
I felt relief to breathe and just be
I stopped resisting
I demonstrated to me
I believed me.
I believed in me enough to set aside
Time to just feel my real emotions.
Nothing changed about my circumstances
Everything changed on my insides
I felt heard
I honored my feelings and learned self-acceptance.
I have a human right to feel my emotions.
I have a human right to take care of my needs.
I take the responsibility to listen within.
I choose actions that support me.
In the name of honoring our emotions in times of need, it’s helpful for me to remember my rendition of the Serenity Prayer.
God, Goddess and all that represents love and light,
grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
I move forward
I hear my pain; I honor my pain.
I hear my worry; I honor my worry.
I hear my joy; I honor my joy
Emotions are always changing
Flowing in and out
Emotions get stuck when I deny them.
They hang around demanding to be heard
The resistance is exhausting
When I listen and believe me
The war subsides.
Leaving me clearer to deal with
Life’s joys and despairs.
That was very powerful. I remember, I had a problem not feeling heard. I was walking along the beach with friends. I said something and my friend just ignored me. I stopped in my tracks and I said to myself out loud, I hear you. That started a practice where I started to give me what I needed so I was not in a wanting, needy place, depending on people around me for my mental health. I started listening and hearing myself and it made all the difference in my life. Thank you for that reminder.
I don’t know if anyone remembers Loretta LaRoche who was on PBS a good deal. She was a comedian and also was wonderful in terms of advice. One of the things she suggested was this sense of taking care of yourself. One of her techniques were if you found yourself in a very tense situation, just take a spin. When you spun around, it would get the endorphins going. We were going through a reduction in my job. People were incredibly nervous and distressed. I was in my boss’s office and there I am one of the only women in the entire organization. He started talking and I said “just a moment.” I spun around and said, “okay, you can continue.” A reset.
It reminds me when a dog shakes, starting from the head all the way to the end of the tail. That’s a reset too to switch gears.
It’s hard, especially in Covid, to want to be heard because there’s no one around to hear you. Also, to rescue you. I just want to be rescued, and we all know we are our own best saviors.
I love that spin, or shake. Lately, I’ve been wondering what to do next. What’s my next project? I wasn’t getting any clue. So I went to my litmus test which is: if I’m at the end of my life looking back and wishing I had done something, what is it that myself is telling me to do? Myself is telling me that I wish I had had more fun. I wish I had lightened up and been more silly. I find it hard to be silly in general. It feels like dead weight. I’m going to try that spin next time, maybe after this meditation, maybe even now.
I belonged to a women’s choir and one of our exercises in warming up was to chatter in a silly, made up language. You had to do it with other people. This huge group of people were chatting away in nonsense sounds. It was embarrassing at first, because we weren’t making sense and we were being silly. But I could feel the walls coming down and it was fun. I started adding emotion to it, and movement with my hands and arms and whole body. It was a real release. We laughed and it helped us relax. Thanks.
How many times do we hear ‘don’t be silly.’
I wish you all a gentle day and awareness of spinning, shaking, letting it go, laughing. And don’t forget to glance at yourself in the mirror and say I love you.