This post was first published on 8 February 2015 on The Humble Pilgrim WordPress blog I created back then (doesn’t exist anymore). It was an anonymous blog page I started when I was going through a journey of self-exploration.
The younger version of Sarah was feeling a great sense of emptiness, a pain for a loss of something she didn’t understand, and she was resentful of her parents. You could feel it in her words. She resented them for not showing her functional ways of managing her emotions. The truth is that most people didn’t have the emotional education that is currently available to us to better equip ourselves and our children to lead healthy emotional lives. So they could have done their absolute best to take care of their children in every aspect possible, but the emotional element may have caused us to feel un-seen, misunderstood and isolated.
And while it’s okay to feel resentful for a while and grieve what never was, it’s equally important to move on and take our own wellbeing in your own hands. I’m now grateful for what my family were able to give me, and for teaching me how “not to live” as much as “how to live”.
This journey has most of all showed me that our primary caretakers are as much human as we are. Growing up, we idolise them and we think they are super-humans, we expect so much from them as our caretakers. But as life passes us by, we realise that they are just as fallible as we are, and that they mostly did their best with what they knew.
There’s this nagging feeling inside, almost like white noise, it’s there, you know it’s there, but you do everything to distract from it. It only just dawned on me that there’s a deep feeling of melancholy, like there’s a hole inside me that’s desperate to be filled.
Thanks to Teal Swan, link to her video here I realize that perhaps it’s linked to emotionally neglected childhoods. Alot of this is true for me, my parents were both too distracted with their own control dramas. I guess this feeling has been with me ever since. And so what ends up happening is that I get stuck in a pattern of neediness, apathy, chaos, lack of inspiration or motivation and ultimately a persistent sentiment of not feeling good enough.
The light side is that it has driven me all this time to achieve professionally, to exceed expectations and form effective relationships at work, all in an attempt to feel accepted and validated. The shadow side is that I’m looking to plug this hole inside me with external factors, external approval, people’s validation, acceptance and inclusion. And this causes great pain, because when people cease to validate me, I go back to my needy state. It’s a horrible feeling of desperation and in reality, the only way to fill this gap is through my own self-love, validation and acceptance.
This means that I can spend days lurched on my sofa, in a chaotic home, longing for human interaction, praying for more emails, texts and calls to come to me from friends and family in a desperate attempt to feel worthy. While people get in touch, I don’t even have it in me to respond and invite them into my life. It’s a common pattern for me to ignore friends’ attempts to hangout with me.
Could it be that out of my neediness, I cannot even invite people to be present in my life? I spend weekends wasting time watching junk TV or Youtube, laundry piling up, dirty dishes all over my living space, some days I don’t even move much further from my bed. These are what I call non-functional days; I’m literally incapable of looking after my own self, let alone other people. All the while another part of me is itching to go out there and create, to feel the vitality of my body and to make my time productive and worthwhile. Somehow the dominant part is the one that just wants to curl in and hide, reinforcing my belief of not being worthy of vitality.
The trouble is that part of me doesn’t know what this healthy self-nurturing looks like. Perhaps it’s been modelled once or twice, but I have learning difficulties internalising a new pattern. Of course the easy route is to revert back to the comfortable and familiar behaviours of self-deprecation, and feeding my addiction to validate my theory that I’m not good enough, not worthy of love, creativity, health or success. The key is for me to stop resenting my family for neglecting my emotional health, and for not teaching me functional ways of interacting with myself, but to start moving towards acceptance, forgiveness and compassion into a place to accept what was, what is and to take responsibility for my own wellbeing. I must reach out to people who can teach me new patterns, new language to teach my inner layers and the different parts of me, and get the help I need to lift the fog and open my heart to a new light to shine through.
An then somehow miraculously something happens that changes my perspective. Today the sun came out and it energised me with that little bit of hope that there is some light in this tunnel, which is why I decided to start this blog, something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. In an attempt to share my journey to the light, to know my self and learn how to love and nurture the layers of me, I want to share this with the world in the hope of helping others if not to find functional models of behaviour, at least to feel that they’re not alone on this pilgrimage.
Welcome to being human.
Love and light
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