I’ve spent quite a lot of my life acting as if I was immune to all sorts of things. Keeping my feelings below the surface quite a lot. Behaving as if I was resistant to pain, fear, hate, grief.
There is something about keeping going that is almost addictive. Because I feel it’s driven by a tiny little niggle that eats away at my certainty and will power. The thought that if I stop and feel my feelings I’ll never get going again. So pretending to be immune is a good tactic. I’ve used it as a form of protection. And sometimes even thought I was exempt from certain feelings. Like all things in life though I’ve discovered that immunity is a variable state. So I felt the grief of loosing my parents. Raw. Full on. Inescapable.
Also the pain, anger and hopelessness of failed relationships. Times when I’ve been drowning in despair. Or pulled deep into depression. Lost and alone in darkness. Perhaps what I did in response to these feelings was a protective shell. I fooled myself that I was immune so I wouldn’t have to express my feelings to myself. Or the world. I went into hiding from myself. But the reality is that I carried those feelings like a burden. Heavy baggage I was reluctant to put down. I had to wait until I was ready to see the stuckness this brought about. Perhaps even to keep battering my head against the wall I’d built around those feelings. Because that tiny little niggle made me feel weak.
If I am weak then I am vulnerable. Worse things can happen. That’s the logic of that mis-shaped thought. Better to be immune and exempt than infected and in need of help.
Because accepting help can be really hard too. I feel that we are conditioned to be helpers. Not receivers. Being in a state of needing help also sometimes ties in with feeling like I can’t handle things myself. Yet the strange thing is there are plenty of people who want to be able to help me. When I started to think about this idea of immunity from feelings I realised that it’s also a way to deny helpers. It’s easy for me to say I don’t need any support if I believe that I don’t have certain feelings. Yet I know, in the end, feelings exist. They are there first. Long before our cognitive abilities develop we feel.
But that leads to another thought. What feelings did I feel in my early years? What feelings was I allowed to have. Love certainly. Fear aplenty. Definitely anger, sadness and pain. These are all part of my human inheritance. Somewhere in all those feelings I developed a set of rules telling me what I was allowed to feel and express. And some rules about the kind of feelings I needed to be immune from. I say this not as a criticism. Or to blame. I learned how to handle feelings from the adults around me. I also learned to become a giver rather than receiver. These deeply held rules have governed my life. And I didn’t even get to negotiate or agree to them.
It’s time to put away these rules. To release myself from feeling immune to certain feelings.
It’s important for me to love my whole self. I can’t do that when I’m hiding from my feelings. Or refusing to allow myself to experience them. I need to love myself enough to allow my vulnerability to emerge. Learn to take the offers of support and kindness. Make myself a whole human being because I can feel things so deeply. And above all else, reminding myself that learning the opposites to love gives me a choice. I can pick the life experiences that boost the amount of love in and around me. Or I can stay behind the walls with my hidden feelings and await the next catastrophe that life throws at me. My choice is always LOVE.
Day 466 of my blogging challenge.