We are taught as children – particularly those of us raised in the South – to always behave in a socially acceptable fashion. For some of us, our childhoods were such that even more than that, we were not allowed to express our emotions.
In my family, my mother was the only one ever allowed to express displeasure, anger or rage. I won’t speak for my father or my brothers, but I learned at a young age to “stuff” my emotions. Only in the last 10 years or so have I learned to express anger & rage. I also suffer from Tough Girl Syndrome which is directly related to not feeling safe to express my emotions while I was growing up.
For anyone who grew up in an extremely abusive family, it’s safe to assume that the end grown-up result is someone who is “lost” and unable to fully experience or express most emotions at all. Hence addictions to alcohol, food, drugs, sex, gambling, etc.
One of my definitions of a “Warrior” is someone who fully experiences their emotions. That doesn’t mean that each day is a rollercoaster of tears, maniacal laughter, rage, and depression. That means that, when it is appropriate for a Warrior to do so, a Warrior feels and expresses emotions.
Starting today, give yourself permission to fully feel and experience your emotions. When the time came that I began to feel the need to cry over my BreakUp, I decided to allow myself to do so as long as I was in a physical environment where I felt safe. Sometimes that meant I had to hold the tears back until I was alone or home. There have been several days where I cried off and on all day long. I have cried myself to sleep, and then cried myself awake.
I’m here to tell you that giving yourself permission to fully embrace your feelings is cathartic and liberating. Find that plastic baseball bat and beat the hell out of your bed when you’re angry. Sob – really sob that runny nose, blubbering sobbing – in the middle of the floor and don’t forget to throw in some wailing and fist pounding.
Remember to laugh, too! Find things that make you laugh and spend a day or an evening doing them or watching them. I believe it’s humanly impossible not to laugh when watching Singing In The Rain. Recently I discovered Grace & Frankie on Netflix. (Disclaimer of a real personal, deeply held belief: Jane Fonda is a piece of human trash. I promised my son I would watch the show despite my immense loathing for her.) It’s hysterical. I’ve laughed until I wet my pants.
Start with baby steps if you have to. You may not be able to go full bore feeling your emotions just yet. Start small. Make the decision. Promise yourself (and me) that you’ll try it for a week and see what happens.
Decide to become a Warrior. What have you got to lose?
Walk on, Warrior!