During my journey to heal myself form the inside out I had a mass period of growth. I had been studying positive thinking for weeks and everything I had been reading and hearing was like another eureka moment. For days I was walking around high on the new found sense of peace and unadulterated bliss. I then hit a roadblock. I started to realize I was beginning to feel really sapped on energy. My foundation started to feel a little shaky and the words I had been reading that were keeping me high daily were losing their potency. I once again was beginning to feel anxious and question people’s motives. Memories of my past mistakes and bad experiences were not so easily brushed aside. I tried meditating harder…grasping for my Zen fix. I expressed gratitude more, but the words were forced. I went through my notes and quotes I had written down from books, I prayed “Please, God what is going on? Why I am I losing it?” My answer came to me in the form of a shame punch that literally knocked me off my feet. Old memories, thoughts and feelings, came at me all at once. It was a full on attack and I was completely defenseless. I have never felt such internal pain. I remember thinking, this is why people commit suicide. I never wanted to experience what I was feeling ever again and in order to finally do this I had to face all the thoughts and memories that I had for years and decades refused to face.
I confided in David what was going on, when he asked what he could do I just told him “I want to be left alone.” Which has now come to mean, “I have too much on my plate, I can’t worry about another single thing, but please don’t leave me alone.” I began to write down in great detail every shameful, hurtful negative memory that had ever haunted me. It was not easy and at times my hand felt so heavy. With every memory taken from the vault and put on hard copy, I experienced relief. It took a few days for me to get balanced, but despite being physically shaky, I had such a deep sense of peace and confidence that has since stayed with me. I began to have eureka moments again and it’s now easier to recover from setbacks, which still do happen. If I had known my reward for dealing with my suppressed pain was forgiveness, self-love and peace, I would have done it a long time ago.
The idea behind self-love and positive thinking is not to walk around like Botox infused smiling zombies, but to be honest with ourselves. You will never truly feel at peace until you look at those painful memories and feelings that keep surfacing. Big or small. If it keeps coming up then you need to face it. When my neck is stiff I move my head around until I find the spot on my neck that hurts and then I stretch it that way. It really hurts to do it, but after a few times of stretching into the pain it feels better. The same goes for painful thoughts, memories and feelings. You need to stretch into the pain to make it better. Stretching into the pain means getting to the root of it. A negative situation can create a negative feeling which can create a negative event which then creates another negative feeling. For example, a teenager’s parents are divorcing and are too preoccupied with their own pain to notice their teen is feeling lonely and insecure. The teen begins to hang with the wrong crowd and act up and do things which as an adult they are ashamed about. The adult has shameful memories but is unaware that really, the reason behind the event was because they were lonely. This discovery is very healing. The adult identifies the loneliness and *poof* the shame is forgiven. And so is any other event or feelings that are branched from that loneliness root. The memory will come up again, but the adult shows themselves compassion and says to themselves “I was very lonely.” This gives reason behind the event that caused the shame. If a painful memory or feeling is harassing you despite accepting it, then identify the root feeling. If you are like me and sometimes don’t know what the heck you are feeling, having a list of negative emotions can help.
Being honest with ourselves is the first step to loving ourselves. Identify your pain, stretch it out, and then let it go.
“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”
― Brené Brown, I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame