My belief has been that my very survival was threatened if I spoke my mind, spoke the truth, or was my authentic myself. To me, survival can be just getting by, not feeling fulfilled, or not experiencing success from within.
Perhaps it is as we’ve heard said by many people…”I spoke up about the giant elephant in the room that everyone knew was there, but everyone is afraid to mention, and I was shamed for it.” Or maybe, it’s the fact that I saw something and spoke it as truth…for example, if I made a statement “the sky is blue” and someone said, “No Maria, the sky is red” (ok at sunset it is). If that type of thing happens again and again, a child with that type of conditioning will most certainly doubt what they see. And that potentially continues into adulthood. One thing I know for certain, feelings don’t lie and intuition knows truth. Feelings may be exaggerated if they trigger past repressed or suppressed pain, but my body knows truth. In fact, the practice of kinesiology (muscle testing) shows the body’s energy field expands with a “Yes” answer and contracts with a “No” answer. Your body’s intelligence knows truth, trust it.
How this has impacted my life…
I felt if I expressed what I felt, thought, or observed about someone who was covering up something (whether a lie or their insecurity), that my very survival would be threatened. Love would be taken away. So I learned the best thing to do was to shut up and keep quiet. I held my voice back, I didn’t want to rock the boat; I doubted what I felt and thought I saw. I took on shame and guilt and thought it was mine. I repressed anger because I knew what happened was wrong, but I believed I was the problem. I felt unworthy and wrong.
I began to deny, block, and repress what I felt. I thought what I was feeling must be wrong and began to doubt myself and what I felt. I don’t have many memories from before being a teenager, about age thirteen. I have few memories and they are fragmented. I allowed people to manipulate, coerce, intimidate, and bully me because I thought I was the problem.
I believed love would be withheld if I spoke up and all care would be cut off. I felt my very survival depended on keeping quiet. What I felt would be manipulated or twisted. I would be told I was wrong and that I was the problem.
I believed I was deprived of love and nurturing care, and from that I learned to deprive myself. I’d hide myself. I thought I was wrong or the problem. I tried desperately to win back other’s approval, to smooth things over, to fix the “problem” I thought I created. I felt ostracized, isolated, alone, terrified. I kept other people’s toxic secrets. I felt other’s behaviors were my fault and I was responsible for them. I thought intimidation and bullying were normal. I backed down for fear of being alone, isolated, not loved, and terrified that my very security would be threatened. I merely survived. I suppressed all my self expression. My opinions about life and what I felt were filled with self doubt. I felt if I upset someone, I didn’t deserve love and they would leave, abandon me, or threaten my very security. I believe others could take what I had and I had no rights. I was powerless and helpless. I never allowed myself to express myself. I apologized or was always sorry because I thought “things” were my fault. I’ve been told so in dysfunctional relationships. I blamed myself, criticized and judged myself, for not being or reacting perfectly and upsetting someone else. I repressed anger because I didn’t think I had the right to get angry. I thought I was the problem. I didn’t trust myself. I had no boundaries. I couldn’t say no.
The good news is that I’m getting better every day. Each day, more of this pattern is revealed to me. I’ve learned and am continuing to learn as a result of all these experiences. This pattern has played itself out in my life again and again. Through my awareness, more is revealed to me little by little. I feel so much better about myself and it comes from within, not outside of myself. My life has been, as I’ve said, my journey to genuine self-confidence. My confidence comes from my ever-deepening connection to my higher power and from acceptance of what I’ve done or haven’t done in my life. As confidence grows, I accept all of me and know that as long as I continue my spiritual practice, I’ll always be taken care of. Then these messages, beliefs, and patterns I’ve learned transform into positive messages about myself. I trust what I feel and through each experience, I trust myself more. Life gives me more opportunities to dissipate the energy of these beliefs every day. And as I allow the repressed emotions to reveal themselves, as I sit with them, care for myself, let them be and fully accept them, I change and grow. Life becomes more satisfying and fulfilling every moment.
I’m certainly not saying I don’t ever feel or think these things anymore; I do, but can begin to watch them and know they aren’t me.
Life continues to bring me that which dissolves my own self-imposed limitations, thereby allowing me to be in my natural state of freedom and love as I am truly only ever bound by my mind and unresolved emotions.
The best way in which I have discovered to resolve them is to watch them, feel them, and let them be ok. I also talk about them with people I genuinely feel safe with, write about them, and surrender them to my higher power. Once I am able to accept them, they cease to have power over me and I am in my natural state of freedom and love once again.