I remember reading Geraldine Ogwe’s article titled ‘my encounters with love’ thinking ‘wow that is quite an experience!’ It should not come as a shock that we all share similar experiences… the cycles of hurt, rejection and starting over. We go through different relationships before we finally settle down with ‘the one’; but we cannot deny that all these relationships leave our inner self a little broken.
I personally believe divorce these days don’t JUST happen. They happen because we have perfected the act of entering and exiting relationships, which is more like a semi-divorce and the trickery bit is, the path to emotional recovery is a slippery slope. How many people have considered themselves whole, only to experience a particular trigger and then lose control? What about behavioral patterns we have inherited from someone one else’s bad behavior?
If we are being honest, emotional pain is something we don’t like feeling, and we do all we can to get rid of it quickly. I listened to a TED talk which spoke about future invention of pills for heartaches and emotional pain.
Everybody numbs pain in different ways but do you know that there are side-effects to emotive repression. People are scared to confront negative emotions (myself included) because we were raised to be picture perfect always. How many times have you seen your parents cry? In my twenty something years in life, I have only seen my mother cry once. Sometimes I wish my life was quite as put together as hers. I feel that our culture does not really pay attention to emotions or mental health because we simply just ‘deal’ or zone out. We stay silent till it magically disappears … or perhaps, pray our way through it. I am completely for prayers but I also believe in pro activity when it is overwhelming.
Here are few examples of the ways people avoid feeling their emotions.
• Ignoring your feelings
• Pretending something hasn’t happened
• Eating foods loaded with sugar and fat
• Excessive drinking of alcohol
• Excessive use of recreational drugs
• Using prescription drugs such as tranquilizers or Prozac
• Exercising compulsively
• Any type of compulsive behavior
• Excessive sex with or without a partner
• Always keeping busy so you can’t feel
• Constant intellectualizing and analyzing
• Excessive reading or TV
• Working excessively
• Keeping conversations superficial
• Burying angry emotions under the mask of peace and love
So, how do we deal with these suppressions?
Negative emotions should not be feared: You are not a bad person for feeling emotions of fear, anxiety, insecurity, bitterness, anger, resentment… Name it! The only bad thing is to ignore their existence rather than dealing with them. Imagine yourself having conversations with these feelings like they were people, try to know them, try to be comfortable with them, acknowledge them, be alone with them and slowly they will begin to feel smaller and finally disappear.
Pay attention to triggers: I have been on the receiving end of silent treatment, and I got damaged to the point where I start to physically panic when I sense any slightest reminder of that situation. You haven’t healed completely until you can look at your pain in the eye and feel nothing. Triggers are there to warn you of the residues of pain, don’t ignore them.
Nobody is going to save you: I really wish there was a more fanciful way of saying this but there isn’t. The truth is, a victim mentality will hold you captive and that will hinder the healing process. Even if it is obvious that you did not deserve a particular situation, still seek out the part you played in that situation. Taking self- responsibility will help you forgive yourself, and once you do that you can forgive others. Please note that you cannot forgive someone without forgiving yourself first. Everybody you meet is an indirect reflection of who you are.
Keep a journal: If you feel a certain way, writing them down will help you understand them and help them diffuse faster. There are certain memories that may not go away, write them down and describe these situations in detail. If you are seeking closure to an event you have no answers for, draft a letter to that ‘particular event’.
Cry, scream, and let it out: Do not be afraid to grieve. Cry till you feel peace and move on, go to a lonely place and scream till you feel peace. Alternatively, you can get a punching bag, and punch till you feel peace. I know they sound quite drastic but trust me, it is worth it.
You are not alone: Always remember that you are never alone in your struggles. It happened to you, it has happened to someone and it will still happen to another person. There is great comfort in accepting this truth.
I urge everyone to be in touch with their inner selves. Do not get too busy keeping up with the outside self that you forget that your inner self is suffering. Peace over everything in life.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Vadymvdrobot