Disturbing the Peace: Listening to Our Inner Voices
“I can’t be that person anymore”, I said out loud, in response to what I was thinking.
I can’t keep living in wounds. I can’t keep being who I am not, just to help other people be comfortable with me. I can’t keep up the façade.
I have always wanted to be acceptable to (and accepted by) those that I love, which has led to me altering or disregarding my own needs.
It felt like such a random thought. I didn’t know that it would change my life.
Have you ever just felt different, but couldn’t quite put your finger on it? You knew something had changed…but not what, exactly.
The day I had the realization that I just can’t, started so normally. I woke without realizing just how much my life would be altered.
As I drove my daughter to her homeschool co-op, we discussed emotions, thought distortions, and limiting beliefs. She’s only 12, but I want her to grow up to be a healthy functioning adult, so I give (what she calls), “Mama talks”.
At one point, I was in tears after an extended silence. When I spoke, my voice was full of sadness. She tried to comfort me from the backseat, but I explained the importance of being able to feel our emotions and not shut them down.
I used Stephen King’s, Pet Sematary, as an example. If you are unfamiliar with the story, animals and people that are buried in the Pet Sematary come back to life. Unfortunately, they do not come back as the loving animals and people they were. Once they claw their way out of their burial site, they return to their family/owner and the real tragedy begins.
The danger in not being ourselves and not feeling ourselves is that the emotions don’t go away. Buried feelings come back damaged and destructive. Our repressed feelings can have a way of haunting us.
Learning to Listen
Our emotions speak to us. They give us vital information about how we are feeling, how we are processing the world around us, and help us to understand what matters to us. They can also give us insight into old wounds that haven’t healed. The caveat is that we have to feel them. We have to be willing to listen.
Sometimes, negative emotions are difficult to accept and feel; maybe that is the source of the notion that negative emotions are bad and need to be shunned.
Repressing and suppressing our feelings is the equivalent of telling a part of ourselves to sit down and shut up because what they have to say doesn’t matter.
Over the years, I had learned to suppress my own emotions in order to just keep going in whatever situation I was in. For me, it had been more important to be liked or loved by other people than by myself. I wanted to feel “strong” and expressing my emotions felt like weakness.
When we don’t feel our emotions, we, in a sense, invalidate ourselves. We stifle our growth. We become stuck in place. More importantly, we compromise our mental, emotional and spiritual health. Rather than becoming stronger, we slowly weaken ourselves and our resiliency.
Unfortunately, sometimes, this is a result of how we were raised. Healthy communication and the healthy expression of our needs is often not talked about or modeled in our homes.
For some of us, we can get the idea that our needs don’t matter. It can lead to us not valuing ourselves and fostering relationships with people that are incapable of valuing us.
We learn to hide our feelings from others and ourselves. Ultimately, we lose our ability to “self-communicate” in the process.
Deciphering the Messages
Self-communication is the act of being able to observe, listen to and understand what our minds, bodies and spirits are attempting to tell us. Learning what to listen for and how to listen can be very difficult. Sometimes our inner feelings are expressed in what we say to ourselves and about ourselves. These statements become so automatic that we no longer hear them. Many times, they surface in the form of negative self-talk. Common utterances may sound like:
I am so crazy I can’t believe I’m so stupid I am (fill in the blank)
What I have noticed is that people don’t seem to hear themselves or understand the implications of what they are saying. As a listener, it is heartbreaking to hear what their inner voice is screaming, as it continues to fall on deaf ears.
Sometimes, our emotions may express themselves in our moods. Depression, anxiety and mood swings can often be the result of inner turmoil, of which we are not aware.
I remember one incident, in which I was able to successfully defeat all of my thought distortions. I remained logical, but my body was still reacting. I was in tears and could feel how upset I was, but I had no words to explain it.
I relayed this information to my therapist who described “hidden emotions”. These are emotions that are subconscious and can easily escape our grasp.
Although I wasn’t able to put words to the feelings, I recognized them as anxiety; an anxiety that I was familiar with. I was able to decipher it as stemming from a loss of control.
Our bodies are powerful tools in the self-communication process. Learning our triggers, understanding the signals and using the information to our advantage will put and keep us on the right path.
How does your body speak to you? Leave your answer in the comments.
Originally published at https://charbdollfitness.com.