Where do you go when things get uncomfortable for you?
We all have that thing, or that space, that we run to whenever something gets uncomfortable. If we recognize it, we may wonder where that even comes from.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I know for me, when things get uncomfortable, I turn to wine, or cleaning, or exercising, or some form of escapism so I don’t have to deal with the discomfort of being me. Instead of dealing with whatever uncomfortable emotions come up, I turn to something to numb them out. I’ve been this way for years.
The problem with numbing it is that we can numb out the uncomfortable emotions for a time, but it numbs out the ones we need and want as well. I have learned that there’s really no such thing as selective numbing.
Emotions that make a lot of people uncomfortable run the gamut from anger, fear, jealousy, irritation and frustration. While these emotions create negativity, for whatever reason they tend to be my personal go-to. And who sees them the most? My family. The safest place to reveal negative emotions is to those we spend our most intimate time with. Why? Because it’s easy to take them for granted. We expect that they’ll accept us at all costs and be around to love us through all our bullshit anyway.
There’s something else, though. I recently realized there’s another emotion that makes me uncomfortable, and that is love.
How many of us have tried to numb out feelings we didn’t want only to realize later that we have numbed out love, joy, compassion and creativity as well? The years of numbing out the negativity I had from years of absorbing negative energy numbed out the joyful feelings, too.
I believe karmic energy follows us from previous generations in our family history. If genetic traits like brown eyes or blond hair can get passed down from generation to generation, then the same can be said for personality traits. How can it not? We can usually see similar personality traits with grandparents and their grandchildren and we might take that for granted, but we shouldn’t. Children are like little sponges absorbing everything around them. A lot of people now-a-days blindly call themselves empaths without really understanding what it means to be an empath. Children are the ultimate empaths. I think we’re all born empathic, and for whatever reason many of us lose that ability along the way. Even if we don’t consider ourselves to be empathic, we still absorb the energy of others around us all the time. It takes awareness to be able to recognize it and behave in a way that serves our highest selves and those around us.
How many of us with children have said to ourselves, “I’m going to do better than my parents did.”? And then how many of us did some things better only to realize we messed things up in a lot of other different ways? Things never quite go as we planned, and people don’t necessarily take things the way we intended, children included. The path to hell was paved by good intentions. How our parents were parented effects how they parented us, even when they did better. Everyone still messes things up without intending to. No one gets things right on the first, second or even third try.
It’s so easy for me to attach to negativity instead of love and looking at what I know from my family history, I can see some of where it comes from. Negativity can be easier to run to, and I can’t sit here and blame my parents or their parents or their parent’s parents for it. I can’t blame the people who didn’t let me in the cheer squad who made me feel inadequate, and I can’t even blame the toxic people that I allowed to hurt me. While I believe the karmic energy of past pain in my family was handed down to me, I know it wasn’t intentionally. And besides, I have free will to decide how I manifest my life today. We all have the free will to decide how we manifest our lives with the tools that were handed down to us from generations past. It just takes some awareness, and the ability to sit in the discomfort of our imperfections.
So today I sit and reflect on some shitty behavior I’ve had lately and I don’t even want to say a word. I want to drink wine and escape and its not even 8am. I want to change. I am ashamed because I thought I had changed. I know I have changed a lot in the past 10 plus years I started becoming aware of my own issues and that I could change them. Before that, I thought that it didn’t matter what I did, and that I didn’t control anything in the world, not even myself. That we were handed the personality we got and that was that. I honestly believed I was just a rotten person and that’s how I lived my life.
Pretty shitty world view, huh?
Now I know differently. It was yoga that helped guide me on this journey and today, I realize that even though I’ve come so far in the ten years I’ve been practicing, I’m not finished. Old wounds still come flying out of the mouth without me even pausing to understand where it’s coming from. Can anyone else relate?
Maybe we never really finish, maybe we just keep picking tools up along the way that will serve us better on our path while we put old tools down that are holding us back and no longer work for us.
Expectations is something I need to put down. It’s through expectations that we create attachments, and it’s through attachments that we create our own suffering. Through attachment I have been controlling, nasty, judgmental, and consumed by fear. Through attachment, I have forgotten how to love. Through attachment, I have forgotten how to be loved.
If we all sit down to think about it, most of us have a fear of letting go of attachment. We may say to ourselves, “If I don’t control everything, then things won’t be the exact way I want them to be.” We may be afraid to let go of it because we think our way is the best way and others should conform. This spills over into every aspect of our lives, and if we don’t pay attention, it starts to control us. If we don’t pay attention, then a whole drama is created that didn’t need to be there.
So, I try to ask myself now what can I let go of without compromising my boundaries? What can I let go of without compromising myself and my happiness? What am I holding onto that’s holding me down, and can I let go of that without attaching to something else in the process?
That’s the real practice of yoga. When people hear yoga, physical postures of a bendy female with her feet behind her head usually comes to people’s minds. But for me, the real practice comes after the physical practice. It comes from off my yoga mat. As much as I don’t like to use clichés, this one is particularly true.
Other people are just a mirror of ourselves. I have had that punch me in the stomach this past week. There are still people who have hurt me who I need to distance myself from for my own protection, but I also need to see people for what they are as well, and that is just human. Maybe by remembering this we learn to grow our sense of compassion, even for people we may not particularly like or agree with.
So, we can tell ourselves today to let that shit go, pick up on love, and ground down into our own being, who we really are under all layers of ego and personality. That means recognizing and letting go of toxic patterns we created in ourselves, with the tool belt we had handed from birth, filled with tools we’ve collected along the way. And perhaps throw away the broken tools that aren’t working anymore. Perhaps we could become aware of our toxic patterns and understand why they are there in the first place so we can work on creating healthier patterns, without judgement. That means being in the present moment, in every moment. For me, that means being right smack in the middle of my discomfort, admitting I was wrong, and making amends. No escaping.
So, where do you go when things get uncomfortable, and how can you use that knowledge to sit and be still with the discomfort, so you can let go of something you don’t need, and pick up something that will serve you?