It was a lovefest evening. My eldest daughter arrived home last night for a weekend visit. We drove back from the airport, picked up her sister on our way home and then sat on the deck as the sky turned from peacock-blue to indigo. One by one stars peeked out from behind night’s blanket as we chatted and laughed and shared and caught up on the happenings in each other’s lives.
It was bliss.
This morning, I have an early meeting and a busy day ahead.
And then this evening, I get to do it all again with ‘my girls’ when C.C.’s daughter joins us for dinner at our favourite restaurant, a place where we have spent many an hour talking about everything from heart throbs and heartaches, leaping hurdles and tripping up, dreams and bad ideas and what will happen if…
The joke in our family has long been that if Alexis, my eldest daughter, and I sit in a restaurant together, she’ll inevitably start crying. It’s not that I say something to make her cry! It’s just that Alexis (as she demonstrates in her blog every day) is so in touch with her emotional self, so connected to her feelings, and so willing to be vulnerable and open about where she’s at and what’s really going on within her, our conversations quickly dive into the heart of our human connection. And the water-works follow.
I admire her capacity to express her true self. I admire her ability to be who she is, without trying to cover it up with a brave face, or false bravado.
I am not as open. A lifetime of trying to pretend everything’s A-ok, even when the sky is falling, holds me back. It’s not that I don’t want to be as vulnerable and open. It’s often just, I don’t actually know what I’m feeling. Having disguised my feelings behind my smile for so long, it takes me awhile sometimes to actually figure out — what am I feeling in this moment? Is it anger? Sadness? Am I ok with what just happened? What is it about what just happened that is distressing me? What do I do next?
I know I’m not alone. In a conversation the other day with a very dear friend who is highly evolved and emotionally aware, she shared how it had taken her weeks to finally figure out that what was going on in a work situation was not okay.
I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling the way i was feeling, she shared. Especially because at first, I couldn’t name what it was I was feeling.
In the heat of a situation, I often revert to my adapted learning that would have me stay silent in the face of fear, anger, sadness, embarrassment, confusion, shame and a host of other emotions that I am more apt to run away from than face.
In my silence, I tolerate the unacceptable. I minimize my feelings, my needs, my desire to be seen, heard and real. In my silence, I lose myself to my fears and forget to turn up authentically. I regress back to that place within me where I make other people’s bad behaviour ok, or, as happened recently, I let other people’s bad behaviour be my excuse for not turning up.
Silence is violence when it is not filled with Love.
And in my silent acquiescence of the unacceptable, I am committing a crime against myself. I am lessening my joy, minimize myself and dimming my light. In my silence I become my own abuser.
I am 100% accountable for everything I accept in my life. When I accept the intolerable as permissible, when I conspire against my own well-being, I am not treating myself the way I want to be treated.
We teach people how to treat us.
When I let my silence hold me back from being present, I am teaching myself it’s okay to be invisible, to be unseen, to be disrespected, abused… whatever it is that is happening around me, when I let the not ok be ok, I am telling myself, I don’t matter.
We all matter. And that includes our feelings.
There is no right or wrong to our feelings. They just are. And when we let our feelings flow free, they don’t pollute our well-being. They don’t dam up our expression of our gifts, talents, light. They don’t stop up our magnificence.
We are born to shine. Let’s do it!