Are you someone who "sucks it up and soldiers on"?
Keeps a stiff upper lip?
Perhaps you push through, numb out and avoid feeling painful feelings?
That was me. And even now, I still grapple with my old, and very well-ingrained habits.
I've got to be honest, yesterday was a tough day. I'm in the midst of starting a new job and the intense training that goes along with it and at the same time trying to find a new place to live. Far from ideal. But I've been dealing.
Or have I?
Yesterday I found out I didn't get the apartment I had my heart set on. NDB, right? WRONG. As I was driving home from seeing yet another less-than-stellar apartment, I started crying...uncontrollably. And then I got mad, FURIOUS in fact. My inner mean girl started tearing in to me about the state of my finances, my "irrational" move from a permanent job to a contract position and how I would never be able to get a decent apartment as a result. And I believed her.
I believed her.
I didn’t get the apartment…there must be something wrong with me.
I have credit card debt…I’m not a reliable or quality tenant.
I’m working on contract…I’m not good enough, smart enough or successful enough to be able to pay my rent over the long term.
Those were the thoughts that were running through my mind at hyper speed. It was as if my inner mean girl had opened the floodgates and I was powerless to stop the brutal onslaught.
You teach women how to love themselves…HA! What a crock!
You’re supposed to have all this figured out…phoney.
You’ll never be successful as a coach, you’ve still got A LOT of work to do.
I felt like I was sitting in a boat that was rapidly taking on too much water.
Have you ever felt like that?
You see, the truth is: none of us ever figure this “stuff” out completely. Life is still going to happen. Stuff is still going to come up. There are always going to be good days and bad days. It’s a fact of life. It’s about the CHOICES we make in those moments that define what happens next.
After I’d had a good ol’ ugly cry, and a delicious glass of McManis – my favourite red wine du jour – I realized something pretty significant…
I hadn’t let myself truly feel my feelings. Sure, I had a little cry after finding out I had to move a couple weeks ago, but then I “bucked up”, pushed forward and started my enthusiastic search for the perfect apartment. And never looked back.
But I didn’t allow myself to feel. Not truly. Because if I had, I would have recognized that I was feeling overwhelmed. Scared and seriously frustrated that now that I’d found an apartment and a neighbourhood where I was finally starting to feel at home, I was being forced to move.
Rather than judging what I was feeling, and feeling like I should just “see the positive” or accept that “it is what it is”, I could have instead considered why I might be feeling the way I was feeling.
Emotions are energy in motion. If you let them move through you, they move out of you.
When we push them down, numb out and “soldier on”, without really feeling whatever it is we are supposed to feel, the energy gets trapped, only to be released at another time.
When I chose to experience and feel the emotions that were tucked away, out of sight, out of mind, I was able to finally release them. When I let go, I became free. Now that’s not to say I no longer am cognizant of the fact that I need to find a place to live or I’m not bummed out that I have to move at a less than ideal time, but the emotional anguish about the situation is no longer there.
There is nothing wrong with wanting a different result, nothing wrong with striving for something better, something different. It’s when we collapse our goals and pursuits with our worth as an individual that poses the greatest threat to our happiness.
I am a fantastic tenant despite the fact that I didn’t get the apartment I applied for.
I am valuable despite the fact that I have credit card debt.
I am successful despite the fact that I am working on contract.
Having compassion for myself in the face of difficulty is what allowed me to untangle the collapse of my self-worth with my housing situation. My self-worth is not tied to anything external from me; it comes from within. This experience was a powerful reminder that not only is self-love a journey but that there is so much freedom in surrendering to what is.
If you’ve ever heard the old adage, “what you resist, persists”, I want you to do me a favour.
Allow yourself to surrender to the feeling and let yourself be free. Feel what you feel, without judgment, and then let it go. You’ll feel lighter and much more able to move forward without the attachment that currently has you in a vice-like grip.