There is a website out there, Blessing Manifesting, that I love. Dominee is incredibly inspiring and insightful and she speaks in a way that really makes me think. Today she wrote a post, Be Honest With You, that was about being honest with yourself about your own feelings. All the time, people ask "how are you?" but how often are you actually honest when you answer? Most of the time, I give the socially acceptable answer, whether it is true or not. But the point was not that you should be more honest when answering the question to other people, but that you should ask the question of yourself and be honest with yourself.
"Don't push your feelings down just because everyone expects you to be happy." That's a sentence from her post and it was a "light bulb" moment for me. I do just that, all the time, and it is almost automatic. When I was a kid, being the child/grandchild of lawyers in a small town meant living in a glass house. And living in a glass house meant, keeping that sort of thing to yourself. It became a habit, I guess. I grew up, moved out, and moved on, and things gott freer for me for awhile. I lived and I trusted and I loved. But a series of really bad love moments came my way, which only reinforced the "keep it to yourself" mantra. I had an ex who didn't care what I felt as long as I did what I was told and kept my mouth shut. Any deviation from that earned me a slap, a punch, a bite, or worse. It's a pretty effective method of behavior modification when you are young, on your own, and scared out of your mind. I was a new soldier then, and packing up and running away isn't that easy when the Army owns you and you PCS when they say you can. But I got out as soon as I possibly could and never looked back. But the damage was done. I stopped standing up for myself and I stopped allowing myself to feel what I had every right to feel. Marrying a serial cheater didn't help. I took his issues and made them my fault, even though they never were about me, something I didn't figure out until years later. (Random tangent… he and I are sort of friends today, 12+ years after our divorce was final.) But those kinds of things shaped me and totally messed me up love-wise. There are others, believe me, but the details are too personal for a "public to the world" blog, at least for the moment. I am not nearly that far in my evolution for all that yet!
Having someone else clearly not give a damn about your feelings kills your self-esteem and makes you feel completely worthless. And after awhile, it becomes easier to believe the bad things and harder to remember that you are worthy. After awhile, you stop giving a crap about yourself. And soon it becomes a habit and lying to yourself about how you feel becomes as automatic as the socially acceptable answer you give when others ask you. But the bottom line is that it just simmers and undermines everything good. It serves no purpose and does nothing good for you. So what is the point of lying even to yourself about how you feel? There IS no point. But it is a ridiculously hard habit to break.
My husband is always telling me that I need to take care of myself, that I need to take time for me, too. I have been reading a lot of blogs lately about taking care of yourself, your soul, your heart. Reading Dominee's post on top of that made me realize that refusing to acknowledge my own feelings is completely derailing me. It's a vicious circle, but I won't ever get out of this rut if I don't do exactly what Dominee says and let myself feel what I feel. It sounds overly simplistic, but it really is the absolute foundation of getting out of my rut.