"I need help to clear my mind, know that I'm on the right path"
Hello, I am so glad I found your healing site. I'm 38 years old. In the last few months, I've made some major life changes - I left a six year relationship, I moved across the country, and I quit my job. I also got into therapy, to deal with emotional issues I've been carrying around for too long. I've always had low self-esteem and doubted myself and my skills, even though I've had a successful career. Therapy is bringing up issues, and I feel like I'm "processing" them, but now it's almost like I've gotten "worse" in terms of overthinking things and being self-conscious and scared. I even got anxious and nervous around my dad, who is the kindest, nicest person in the world. I'm trying to wrangle my mind but some days it's really hard. I don't know if it's that I'm so self-conscious these days, excessively so... or that sometimes I feel like I don't really even know myself. I feel like I'm at a turning point in my life, I've cleared out my life in preparation for making these changes. I am not even sure what I'm asking for... maybe just help to clear my mind, know that I'm on the right path.
Hi - thanks for writing in. Glad you found the site and feel it is of use for you.
When a person begins to deeply explore and root out the causes of issues in their life, it's like stirring up mud from the bottom of a lake - things get all churned up and muddy looking for a while - but that's to be expected and is an important, crucial part of the process. It takes time and great determination to walk to the other shore, and while you are making that journey, the mud under your feet will definitely be all churned up, and the piull of the current (old ways of being and thinking) will tug at you to go back. That's why a lot of people don't make this kind of journey, or begin it, because the process is not "comfortable". You are stepping out of your old comfort zone, what you knew, what you've made adaptations to, leaving the familiar life you knew behind - not only physically - aka your move, etc - but emotionally as well, and that is bound to be very uncomfortable.
But, that is exactly what is needed. We all tend to want to stay with our old, familiar shit, even though it IS shit (pardon my French) - and to leave it behind you, you first have to face it - and, because it is painful stuff, and smelly, it's not an easy thing to go through.
But, THE WAY OUT IS THROUGH.
Because these issues and the emotions hidden under them have been buried for a long time, there will be many deep, usually and often distressing feelings and fears that will arise to be faced, processed, and then released. Sometimes, for a while, it won't be clear with they even came from - but that is the work - to explore where they came from so that you can be free of them. A good technique to do is to sit in meditation, and when you have become still within, using your breath to quiet yourself, think of an issue that you want to resolve and understand, and ask:
"What is the origin of this belief? And what is the emotion that goes with it? When did I first experience this emotion, and what did I decide about myself or life when I first experienced this emotion? See if there is a short phrase you told yourself when you first experienced the trauma that gave rise to this emotion. For instance, take that feeling of "being self-conscious and scared. I even got anxious and nervous around my dad" and as you sit in meditation, concentrate on that feeling, and then ask to be taken back in time to the first time you experienced those same emotions. It won't necessarily be the same kind of experience or even with the same person- it may not be with your dad, but what you are asking for is the first time you experienced those same feelings. Then, let yourself be shown what there is for you, let it come to you in whatever way it does. You may then see how that belief and the emotion that goes with it has been a part of your life - how it operates in your life. The crucial thing here is to feel how it feels in your body. Just be with it, not trying to escape it or go numb or get away from it. Really just sit with it, be present with it, allow yourself to feel ALL of it that is there that comes up for you.
If a physical pain comes up, you stay with that until it changes into something else. Then you stay with whatever shows up next. With an emotion that comes up, you stay with that until it changes, and you STAY PRESENT with it, feeling it and then whatever is next. You will know that you are done when you think back to the current emotional charge you felt, in the present moment of your life, and it isn't there. If there is still a charge with it, then keep on working, perhaps then, or perhaps another day, with this process until there is no charge left when you tune into it. In that way, you will allow it to flow out of you.
It's not enough to understand the process mentally or intellectually. You have to sit with the emotions that got stuck within you, like buried splinters that have festered for a long time, and feel them, and in that way it gets completed and it can leave. It's like taking an emotional shit, actually. (I know this is graphic, but it's the best analogy I have for this). If you go to the toilet to take a shit, you don't get off half way through, right? You have to sit there until that particular movement of energy is done. And taking one shit doesn't mean that you have gotten it all done forever. It is an ongoing process, that whatever is next ready to be moved out and released comes, and then you go to the toilet, and you sit with that next piece until it's done. It's the same with old emotions that have come into the body and gotten stuck. A piece that is ready to be released will come up, and you will feel it, once you allow yourself to feel it and be with it, so you just sit with it until it's done, until the intensity of the emotion has passed - but you need to FEEL IT and be with it until you feel that it has passed through you and is done, completed, that particular piece of it.
It helps and is very important to put your hand on your heart the whole time - this keeps you present in your body and not moving away from experiencing, or blocking out what it is that you need to feel. Because the original trauma was painful or frightening that we went through (or any trauma we go through), we tend to leave our bodies so as not to have to feel it. But what then happens is that the emotion and the energy of that trauma gets stuck, buried in us, and it never gets completed so it can be released. This is a way to clear it and finish it up.
Hope this helps.
Hello again, thanks for the advice... and it does make sense to "sit with" my feelings. But I have two issues - sometimes when I sit with one, it seems like the floodgates open, and I get taken on an emotional train ride that gets me feeling even sadder and confused. Or, sometimes I feel bad, and WANT to feel my feelings, but it's like I can't access them. I vascillate from being overemotional to being numb. Do you have any advice on that? I saw on some of the other posts that you were able to intuit some feelings about the posters' situations... do you see anything for me? Thanks again...
This is a challenge for you regarding, again, the discipline to sit with your feelings when they do come up. If you're numb, then sit with that, and do the same process - feel it, where did this numbness first start, etc. I'm not getting any other info to tell you. If the floodgates open, then sit with the intensity of that. There isn't a balance here yet within you, and by sitting with what's up, whatever it is, and dealing with it consciously - working with it consciously - you will begin to balance out. If you go numb or get so emotional that you're not really dealing with the feelings, then you won't be transforming it - neither end of that spectrum is you choosing to work consciously with what's inside of you.
There is confusion here - and confusion usually results when you have given your power away. Sit with that question, and ask about that. When did that first begin, and what is the emotion that goes along with that? What's the fear about? Where did it originate?
This is all about YOU taking charge of your life - in your first letter, you had a flavor of a sort of feeling a bit lost, a sort of "well, I don't know why I'm writing, but maybe you can help" - it had a sort of vague energy to it - i.e. "I'm hurting but I don't really know why I'm writing in, etc...." That's what you have to tune into - this vague energy you operate from - there's a lot behind that, and it's up to you to find out what that is all about.
By writing in, you are sort of taking charge, a bit, a good first step, but YOU are the one who has to turn yourself into more of a laser-like energy. You are the one who has to be truly and deeply committed to doing this work with a determined sharpness of focus in order to help yourself. This means that you need to take your power in hand and choose to deal with what shows up. You need to hone in on what you feel and deal with it consciously, and not either drift away in numbness or be swept away by it. There isn't anything in you that you can't face or handle. It's been carried along inside of you all this time anyway, so it isn't new - facing it head on can only help you to finally be able to release and be free of it. You've already had it, and experienced it, but you weren't yet ready to bring it out into the light. To do so, you need to choose a time to sit down and decide that now you will face this, focus on an issue/emotion that is up for you currently, and trace it back as I suggested with that healing process - and deal with it.
Right now you are wanting me to give you any other information rather than this, because what I am suggesting is difficult and you are having resistance to it - true? "Tell me anything but that," sort of thing - but this is what you need to do - it's one way to do it, at any rate. Facing your feelings consciously can be a huge challenge, especially when you have trained yourself not to do so - but it's what allows you to stay in your power and gain the strength you need in yourself. You can start by giving yourself permission to do this, and to trust that you can handle it. If you need some support while going through this process, see if your therapist is open to it, and he or she can be there holding the space for you while you go through the technique. That might be a good way to do it, so you feel supported, as it can be a very intense process. You might tell him or her about it, and see if that works out.