I recently talked to a person who had 700 friends on Facebook, friends to whom she told everything, in vivid detail, …daily. Before I knew they “Were the center of her life,” I blabbed on about how we don’t really connect with each other any more and how Facebook makes that harder. Her face turned the shade of hot steam and she left the table with a glace back over her shoulder that screamed, You know nothing. You are old! Part of that was true. I am old.
When it comes to connecting however, I do know some things. I first learned the importance of connected relationships, or the lack of them from, growing up in an empty room filled with beer cans and sinks filled with unwashed dishes. The first relationship I ever had was with my self, and a tiny spider who sprinted from linoleum tile to linoleum tile across the bathroom floor, in a space otherwise known as my hideout. At the ripe old age of four or five I was listening to the voice inside and trying to understand feelings I couldn’t even name. Now, I invite the feelings in for tea and we talk…why are you here, what do you want, how can I help? I learned early on, that the most important relationship one can have is the one we have with our self and it has to be based in truth or we can and do con ourselves into a mess it could take a lifetime to clean up. I also learned not to lie. My Mom and Dad were liars and the cost of that was the loss of any safety.
I wasn’t always present in my own life or anyone else’s. However, I learned that you miss the gold when you’re absent. Whether it’s with a family member, a friend or a beloved, nothing that ignites your heart, expands your soul or pushes your spirit forward can happen if you are not truly present. That means you need a willingness and the ability to be uncomfortable temporarily with the unfamiliar, scary or hurtful feelings such as loss, betrayal or disappointment. Yes, it can be hard, and the truth is that I have never lost a client, friend or family member to a feeling. And more importantly, no feeling can be resolved or healed unless we embrace it. Feelings are temporary and most of the time feelings ARE NOT FACTS, even if we act as if they are. If you are not willing to embrace all your feelings – all of which are normal including the ones you dislike- there is no way to be present in your life or anyone else’s. So if you really want the gold in your life and relationships, you have to learn how to embrace and process your feelings. Here are some simple tools.
First breathe and then identify the feeling. Name it and literally invite it into your awareness. Ask it it sit on the couch with you. Your mind doesn’t know that isn’t really happening and it allows you to feel separate, not be engulfed by the feeling so that you can explore it better.
Second, ask yourself what percentage of the feeling is from the past and how much is present day. Once you identify that you can make a decision about what to do. You can store the feeling from the past until you feel safe enough to work on it with a friend, a sponsor or a therapist. Create a little safe box or room in your head to store the feelings in and lock it until you feel safer. This is called Emotional EQ or learning to safely process emotions no matter what you experience.
Then, you can explore what steps you need to take in the moment, to deal with the part of the issue that is a now concern. Under almost every feeling, there is a fear that is creating the feeling. When you identify the fear, you will be able to decide whether it is real or imagined and what you need to do about it.
When you are able to embrace and process your own emotions, you will feel much safer in sitting with the emotions of those you love. You can only help heal another to the same extent you have healed yourself. After a while the process becomes easier and you’ll be excited as you watch yourself resolve old feelings from the past that no longer bother you. When you do that, there is much more room for joy! Showing up for yourself opens the door to showing up for others in a profound way that deepens your connection and the amount of love in your life.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2016. All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.