When I Don't Give Myself Permission to Feel, I Don't Give Others Permission to Feel...
It's uncomfortable, so I try to change it. It's all my fault - make it stop! Let me relieve the discomfort, by ultimately making it worse. I don't like how you feel. I can't cope with how I feel when you feel this way... Head spinning, searching for resolutions to the pain. Heart aching, not knowing how to make it better. Make it better! Make it better! Unaware that this too shall pass, and that you can relax on the calm grass until this blows over. The winds coming to whisper relief. I just can't stand this! The worry grows but this moment bestows a lesson to be learned... that others have permission to have uncomfortable feelings. You're allowed to sit in the discomfort with them... This too shall pass.
My lessons of empathy continue to be revealed to me in life all the time. Most of the time I am reminded of the power of how to express empathy with myself and how that impacts my experience on life and my relationships. Every thing that I learn in my relationship with myself in my healing has an effect. I find that most of my answers are resolved within my own healing journey.
Conflict is a great teacher for me. I also feel grateful for all the relationships I've built in my life, old and new. I feel so grateful to be on this path of healing. If I wasn't on this path of intentional healing, I think I'd have relationships like I had in the past. They seemed tumultuous, combative at times, hard, unforgiving, toxic..... Now in life, I am able to find forgiveness during conflict and a sense of reflection over what happened. I truly account this to my healing journey.
The more that I have learned to love myself, know my own worth, and take responsibility for my part, things feel incredibly different in my relationships now. I feel more peace. I feel more security. I feel less fear of abandonment and less hurt. I have more acceptance and patience.... well sometimes. I am human. I do get quite impatient at times. I often get worrisome and anxious while things feel unresolved. I also have trouble letting others around me have their own emotional experience, when it's uncomfortable.
A recent conflict in my life taught me a few things that I want to share:
1. Other people can get frustrated and I don't have to internalize it.
One of my biggest lessons in life is that I am not responsible for others feelings. I am not guilty of causing them. Of course, there is responsibility. I take responsibility for my actions and if they have an effect. I do (blank) and someone feels (blank) in response, but I personally do not cause them to feel that way. The other person has their own emotional response system, in their own unique and individual body and self.
I live with a lot of shame and guilt at times.... simply for being. Something, at times, is inherently missing within me that reminds me that I am enough and I am worthy. Due to forgetfulness of the TRUTH, that I am worthy, valuable, and enough, I project my shame onto others. During conflict or misunderstanding, I internalize the other people's feelings as further evidence of my false belief system that I am worthy of shame and guilt. The truth is, we can have conflict. We can have uncomfortable feelings, and they will pass. We can move on, and it does not reflect anything other than we are human and we have emotions that come and go.
This is a lesson that I am choosing to reflect over as I move forward in life. It really really is uncomfortable to be in a conflict. It's also uncomfortable when someone has frustrations that involved you, but you are not "bad" or "wrong" as a person because of someone else's feelings.
2. Self-empathy impacts my ability to be present with someone else's uncomfortable feelings. Empathy truly holds the capacity to be present with all feelings. Self-empathy is practicing the capacity to hold space for yourself and all your feelings. Empathy doesn't try to change the feelings, push them away, make them wrong, or shame us for having them. Empathy understands. Empathy has compassion. Empathy can be present. The more and more I am learning to have empathy with my own experience, the more this ripples out to the people I love. If someone is frustrated, and I try to appease it, or change it, or talk it out of feeling that way..... I'm not holding space. What I am learning is that when I do this with other people, it is just a cue for me to practice empathy within myself, so that I can be a better friend, family member, and partner to those in my life. Relationships trick us. They make us think everything is outside of us. The conflict seems to be between me and this person.... actually the conflict is within myself. My recent conflict led me to realize that the only one I truly need to be at peace with is myself. Now, ultimately, it did work out between me and this individual. Like I said, I am human, so knowing that this conflict was resolved totally gave me a sense of peace; and up until I knew we were good, I felt anxious and uncertain. I felt worrisome until I knew that this person wasn't too angry with me. Conflict is hard. Conflict challenges us. So, I admit that I am in no way perfect at this. This is something I am learning all the time.
However, I was at a war within myself. The conflict was within me. I faced feelings of unworthiness, regret, fear, abandonment, etc. This all started when I attached my identity to another person's feelings. I didn't give them space to be human.
The truth is I would want others to give me space to be a human and feel my feelings. If I would want that from others, I need to be able to do that with others first. Also... I need to be able to do that with myself.
How often do I deny my own feelings and push them away?! This is something I am going to be bringing my attention toward for more healing and growth. I would like to allow myself to feel it ALL! EVERYTHING!
3. Self-empathy leads to improved relationships.
There is an unseen magic in this truth I learned for myself. How it works is literally magical and miraculous. Whether this takes the form of unhealthy relationships falling out of your life, you setting boundaries with individuals, creating new relationships, or simply.... shifts that only make sense through the healing Power of God....... the practice of self-love improves the quality of your relationships. We are never meant to stay in situations that are toxic and emotionally unhealthy for ourselves. Self-love teaches us how to use our discernment.
Even greater than that though is the shifts of the spirit and soul within our relationships.
Maybe before we used to get extremely impatient, judgmental and unforgiving. Now through the practice of self-empathy, we are more understanding with others. We free others from our inner pain. We allow others to have their own pain, and we can see them through eyes of compassion. This is a miracle. I personally have been through enormous shifts in how I am in relationship as I have been on the path of radical self-love. Due to my intense fears of abandonment, I experienced situations from this fear often. I truly work on looking back over my life and shedding no sense of regret of who I was and what I was capable at those times. I made poor decisions in my communication. I couldn't think past my emotions and fears. I was irrational at times, and I often would be unforgiving. I would think in black and white terms often. I couldn't see grey areas, and I was extremely uncomfortable with conflict. I couldn't see that people sometimes made mistakes, and I would judge them for their behavior as if it would ALWAYS be that way. I lacked compassion. I was filled with bitterness at times.
Thank God for healing. Thank God that I can let Unconditional Love work through me as needed. This takes a lot of work, mostly inner work. I of course have work to do within my relationships still, but how I experience them is deeply reflected by the relationship with myself. I feel so grateful to be healing trauma, healing hurt, healing falsehood - healing it all...healing the heart and soul.
I look forward to how holding space for myself empathically will continue to ripple in my relationships. I want to be able to be present with others while they are having an emotional experience. I want to be able give others permission to feel. I want to give myself permission to feel.
I am learning to love unconditionally every day. My relationships teach me this. My relationship with myself teaches me this. Can I cope the moment when I feel uncomfortable emotional? I am learning new skills each day to apply to my relationship with myself. This life is here for me to heal. I am here to heal. I am here to know love, and so are you. So are all of us! Love truly heals everything.
I am here to love it all.
ALL OF IT!