Life is one long emotional journey! From our formative years as we begin to develop and form our individuality and persona, we are subject to our environment and the people around us.
We quickly learn what is seemingly right and wrong in the eyes of our parents or guardians and generally look to please.
However, it’ also in this period that our fragile psyches are exposed to trauma that also help shape the person we will become.
Our emotional journey begins at birth and will accompany us throughout our entire lives, whether we like it or not.
For me personally I find that as I age my emotions are drawn closer to the surface of my day-to-day life.
Was I always this sensitive?
Perhaps so, but as I look back on my childhood, I was programmed to not show emotions.
Keeping everything inside me bottled up in case we show how we really feel about a situation or moment was the expectation.
Punished if we showed frustration, anger or and form of emotions, I believe hindered my emotional journey.
Now layer on top sexual abuse, poverty, and alcoholism for good measure to see the impact on me as an adult.
Years, and I mean years of counselling to help me come to terms with some of these factors in my emotional journey.
Today, I find myself tearing up over the smallest of things…
This is particularly true when I see someone showing real emotions, particularly of loss. Yep, I instantly feel the tears welling in my eyes.
Not that I’m embarrassed by my tears, but I find it interesting that even as an adult they come much more quickly than they ever have in the past.
Perhaps I’m crying for my loss…
It’s not about blame or being portrayed as the victim.
We each have our own challenges to bear in life, few people have the same experiences but it’s how we react and are able to digest and live through them that make us different.
The important positive in this emotional journey is that I have allowed myself to dig deep in my feelings and emotions and continue to learn about myself.
I’ve found that reflection time has been incredibly helpful as I untangle my emotions and why I often feel the way I do.
There have been times in my emotional journey that I didn’t believe I was worthy of love.
Ultimately it was a sense of shame that was blocking me. Afraid that if others knew my background and past that I was unlovable and would be rejected.
I think we all want acceptance and love… from those close to us.
But to achieve this we have to be brave and talk about our emotional journey with the ones we love, including all of the things that make us most vulnerable.
I made a conscious choice to share my story with Zach and Sam so that they could see me for who I am. This included telling them about my childhood experiences, and the counselling that I’d undertaken over the years.
As parents we are often placed on a pedestal by our kids and take on the persona of super dad or super mom. So, it was important that through this process they saw me human and that I had challenges and issues just like everyone else.
Each of us has a past, and not always with the picture-perfect narrative that we often portray to those around us.
I found it incredibly powerful to open up to them and share my past with them. It wasn’t just one conversation as they needed time to digest and to ask questions.
At first, they were afraid to ask me questions as they didn’t want to upset me and feel like they were opening up things that were painful to me.
I didn’t have to hide the inconvenient truth any longer. I shared the sense of struggle, loss and suffering, and yes there were tears both from me and them…
But the courage to have this conversation brought us closer together.
Similarly, as my relationship with Judy progressed to beyond being just friends I knew I had to have this conversation, no matter how scary it was going to be.
As with the kids, her acceptance, support and love have been vital in bringing us closer together.
No longer having to keep secrets or feel like I have to shield others allows me to be me.
It’s a liberating feeling as there is nothing worse than having these shadows looming over you day in, day out.
Ultimately it feels like I can breathe again.
I realize that my emotional journey will continue in the coming years and is an important part of who I am.
As you know I’m an explorer at heart, and therefore will continue to reflect and delve into the real me.
Have you come to terms with who you really are?
What aspects of your emotional journey need some reflection time?
It’s never too late to begin… trust me I know!
Until next time