I’m often amazed by how a book I’m reading speaks right into what I am living.
In January I shared what I encountered during my first Counselling Course weekend: On Finding Our Unique Voice. During the following three weeks I began to realize that yes, I am strong, but I can also hide behind my strength. And that is not such a good thing!
At this month’s workshop, almost immediately, the returning students were all speaking up and I soon realized that I don’t have to be strong in that room. I can be vulnerable and allow myself to feel things that I haven’t felt in years. During the course of the weekend I experienced sadness (tears rolling down my cheeks), vulnerability and even intense shame. Some of this shame was triggered by everyone laughing (in enjoyment) over my strange vowel sounds: think New Zealand accent in a room full of English ones. I knew in my head they weren’t laughing at me, but my body responded as if they were and it felt like déjà vu. The incredible thing for me was being able to stay in that room in that vulnerable state and then later share my vulnerability with a few of the others and feel totally supported. For the first time. Ever.
After the weekend I continued reading Rising Strong by Brené Brown and I just happened to be in chapter four, The Reckoning.
CURIOSITY is a SHIT-STARTER. BUT THAT’S OKAY. Sometimes we have to RUMBLE WITH A STORY to find the truth. p44
“One of the truisms of wholehearted living is You either walk into your story and own your truth, or you live outside of your story, hustling for your worthiness. Walking into a story about falling down can feel like being swallowed whole by emotion. Our bodies often respond before our conscious minds, and they are hardwired to protect – to run or fight. Even with small every day conflicts and disappointments, physical and emotional intolerance for discomfort is the primary reason we linger on the outskirts of our stories, never truly facing them or integrating them into our lives. We disengage to self-protect.” p46
Brené also writes: The rising strong reckoning has two deceptively simple parts: (1) engaging with our feelings, and (2) getting curious about the story behind the feelings – what emotions we’re experiencing and how they are connected to our thoughts and behaviors.
I realize that on my journey to where I am today I analyzed my painful past in my head and then moved on. Now I understand that it’s time I walk back into my story again, allowing myself to feel my emotions, get curious about them and integrate my past more fully into my present. I know it’s not going to be an easy process but I am rather excited about it.
Would you like to join me? Next time you feel strongly about something how about stopping a moment to get curious about your emotions and ask yourself some questions about what you are feeling and why. It might feel a little daunting but I believe the price of stuffing our emotions is much higher.
One of the big prices we pay for not rumbling with our story can be in our relationships with our children. Our theory for the second workshop was attachment styles and my tears were flowing as I realized how much I have let my children down because of what I haven’t known. If we didn’t receive what we needed emotionally from our parents then we will end up parenting in the same way. UNLESS we choose to go on a journey to find deeper self-understanding. So I’m choosing not to beat myself up for my failings because I know there is hope for me and for my children because I am choosing to invest time in both myself and in them in order to find healing together.
I can really recommend getting a copy of Rising Strong as Brené does a wonderfully gentle job of leading us through this challenging growth process. If you are intrigued as a parent or a future-parent-to-be and want to research further here is a little introduction: How Your Attachment Style Affects Your Parenting. I can also recommend another book I’ve just begun but already feel like raving about and that is: Parenting from the Inside Out – How a Deeper Self-Understanding can help you Raise Children who Thrive. I don’t know about you but that has always been the desire of my heart – to put wind under my children’s ‘wings’ to help them to fly far!
So, have you walked into your story yet? Or are you living outside of it and still hustling to find your worthiness? I am passionate, not only about walking this journey myself but also about supporting others on their journeys. I welcome you to contact me via my Contact Page. Looking forward to meeting you!
The opposite of recognizing that we’re feeling something is denying our emotions. The opposite of being curious is disengaging. When we deny our stories and disengage from tough emotions, they don’t go away; instead, they own us, they define us. Our job is not to deny the story, but to defy the ending-to rise strong, recognize our story, and rumble with the truth until we get to a place where we think, Yes. This is what happened. This is my truth. And I will choose how this story ends. p50