Don’t worry it is something many of us do! However, in that moment when something uncomfortable bubbles up for us, we often push it aside or deny it saying “no, no I’m fine” when our truth is very different and that is where the trouble can begin.
Physiologically any emotion unexpressed stays trapped in the body. Emotions are “energy in motion” and when we stop them moving inside us, avoid and hold them in, we live with the consequences. Many ancient traditions recognise this fact, unexpressed emotion overtime grows into pain, stiffness and disease.
Let me share with you how I found my way out of what I believe can become a destructive pattern…
I realised about 10 years ago I had become a master of repressing how I felt and had actively chosen this for myself. It was triggered when my dad left home when I was 14 years old, as I was the oldest of four children, I felt I had to be strong, especially as my mum was devastated. I decided to bury my own feelings, it was all too much to handle and I built three rock solid allies to avoid how I truly felt.
Firstly, I distracted myself with achieving, at the time it was school grades, but later it became the next promotion, the next pay rise, buying a house, a car, you get the idea!
Secondly, I found escape when I wasn’t working in substances, chocolate and alcohol, which led to sex being added into that mix. The chemicals either masked or overcompensated for my emotions but overtime these sticking plaster responses stop working and pretty quickly gave me other problems to deal with.
My third ally was taking care of others, always being the strong one, the advisor, the calm stable one who was there for everyone else. Nice distraction from what was really happening on the inside within me!
Most people play out these avoidance patterns in some way and perhaps you recognise some of this in yourself?
The difficulty we face of course is that these coping mechanisms, while getting you through the really tough bit, if you allow them to become how you live, start to bite back. Your health suffers, I certainly put on a ton of weight and needed physio for the injuries I caused myself using a laptop for too many hours a day for decades. I hit my physical low at 30, thankfully the wake up call I got then of my joints being under so much pressure walking was painful triggered me to seek out answers that no one was giving me at the time.
Now my path to healing took me down the long road but yours doesn’t have to. The biggest thing I wish someone had told me and I had really believed sooner was that saying exactly how you feel, being radically honest, is not only the key, it saves you and everyone around you, a hell load of time, energy and heartache!
Imagine for one second just how liberating it would be if you dropped all your overly polite bs manners and just said what you felt. “I feel shit today because…” “I am feeling really fucking angry because…” “I feel really sad right now because…”. You can master how to do this as a way of authentically expressing yourself and make sure those you are expressing to don’t feel lashed out at. The difference is taking responsibility for those feelings and knowing while that energy in motion in our body is real how we put it out into the world is our choice.
The brilliant thing is once you get the hang of this your world starts shifting. Mine did. My old feeling avoidance allies started to hang out with me less frequently. I simply didn’t need them anymore and putting me and my feelings first gave other people the permission to do the same. And my body also started to respond because it wasn’t weighed down by old stuck emotions anymore. And yours will too.
So today I invite you to get bold, and when someone asks you the question “How are you?” don’t brush it off with the usual reply. Take a deep breath and honour the question with a real answer.
I promise you that you will be amazed how much better you will feel and how you will connect at a new level with the person asking.
So, how are you today? Post below and be radically honest! Let’s hear your truth…