I never really learned how to deal with my emotions.
It was kind of an embarrassing thing to cry in front of my parents. I would often be asked – why are you so sad? You have everything that you could ever want or ask for!
My parents always gave me whatever it was that I desired – toys, clothes, food, etc. So it makes sense to me now that they would ask those questions to me. They were doing what they thought was necessary. Any parent would ask those questions.
And yet, the lesson I needed to learn – in fact this is likely one I wish my parents would also learn, is that, so called “negative” emotions have their place of importance just like all of the “positive” ones. Of course, as a parent, I imagine that you would always want your children to be happy and one would do anything to make their child feel happy again.
However, with that school of thought, I unfortunately learned that all negative emotions were something to run away from, hide, deny or ‘numb out’ from. I paid a huge price for learning how to deal with my emotions that way.
In high school I suffered from depression and anxiety. A lot of my sense of self worth came from the outside and whenever I didn’t measure up to my own expectations, I would feel as though I wasn’t enough. Whenever I looked in the mirror I would tell myself:
- you aren’t smart enough
- pretty enough
- thin enough
- funny enough
- cool enough
- GOOD enough
I was on medications, I went to counselling, nothing really ever worked to shake those feelings inside. It wasn’t until I started diving into my past that I finally figured out a few things. One of them being that the way I handle my emotions isn’t very healthy.
Even now I still experience challenges with this; however, it is getting much easier. After watching a Disney movie called Inside-Out I felt that I could actually experience my sadness, anger, and fear, without actually being ‘afraid’ of feeling my emotions. I had been told over the years to just feel my feelings – that it was ‘safe’ to feel them. But after suffering from depression for so long, feeling like I was going to drown in my sadness, I learned unhealthy coping mechanisms which led me to numb my emotions. I just didn’t want to feel them anymore.
This movie opened my eyes; it’s incredible how answers to your questions can present themselves it rather strange ways. I don’t see my emotions as a threat anymore. I allow myself to feel and express my sadness. I realized that in doing so, I wasn’t falling into more and more sadness. Rather, a sense of feeling validated rose inside me which led me to a place of calm after shedding some tears.
I still have my days, but it is getting better. Each day brings new hope and opportunity to try again.
During my darkest days, I was failing to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think though that on some level my soul knew that there indeed was a light. It was that glimmer of hope that kept me going. Still does to this day.
#disney #inside out #pixar