“But your tears? Oh, they are liquid magnets drawing others in. They are a river of reality. A healing for hurts. A bonding for brokenness.”
“You see, it’s through your tears that people are united. It’s what makes you a safe person to others when you simply whisper, ‘Me too. Me too.’” Lysa Terkeurst @ It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way
I rewrote this blog post a dozen times during our recent move. I couldn’t get my thoughts quite right the same as I couldn’t get my emotions quite right. You know, “right” as in tidy and presentable and pleasant. For fear of sounding way too emotional or downright unhinged, I gave up on posting in March.
We sold and had to be out fast after having our home on the market for nearly three years. We found a townhouse better than we imagined and in the community we hoped for. My husband John and I worked together easier than ever before.
So, what’d I do? For 30 days, I cried every single one of them.
Although I did my same old stuff – I said sorry to John for crying and I tried not to cry and I wanted to hide my crying (and I did hide from y’all), something different happened this time around. I honored how I felt and he did too … even when we didn’t know what the tears were about.
I used to hate crying in front of anyone, especially him and our children. That’s why I’d curl up in my closet with the dryer running, and take my blanket and a box of Kleenex with me. I wanted to be alone so no one could see or hear me. It hurt to feel my feelings in front of people. They’d either fix me like I was broken, shut me up because I was a bother, or question me for making what they considered too big a deal out of nothing.
Since my emotions seemed offensive to others, they were offensive to me too. Being a people pleaser, my want for permission to feel was greater than my need for relief from my feelings. I reacted to what I thought they wanted from me, which was for me to keep my emotions to myself.
It never occurred to me their reactions were about them, not me. They didn’t want to feel their own feelings.
If you don’t believe me about pushing aside our emotions, ever notice how frequently we ask someone how they feel after surgery, an injury, or a bout with the flu? On the other hand, ever notice how seldomwe ask about a bout with depression, a loss, or a painful relationship? Conversations about physical ailments are easier to come by than ones about our emotions.
After years of trying and failing to figure out how to ease my feelings into relationships and have them be okay, I gave up. I convinced myself it was easier to stuff, ignore, or detach from how I felt.
And it was easier for a while, until …
By the time I married John, set up house, and birthed our two babies, my outbursts at home intensified. I sounded like a drunken sailor even though I felt like a scared five-year-old. I threw things and hit things and brought up things (mostly lists of their mistakes) from days ago and, eventually, decades ago.
Every time I threw a fit, everything hurt – every thought, every look, every assumption I made about what John and others believed about me. I figured people hated me because they hated how I felt. I ended up hating myself for having feelings.
This is what happens when we give value to others judgment of our feelings as right or wrong … when we let them debate how we feel each time they don’t feel the same way … when we stand down and stop expressing how we feel to keep peace. The most painful part is when we join in and discount our own emotions.
Hating our feelings and trying to hide them is damaging at best, dangerous at its worst.
Practice this long enough and we lose our way.
We lose touch with how we feel. We lose connections with other people and ourselves. We lose sight of our purpose and sometimes even our will to live. We struggle to get our own lives while loving the people in it.
The “fix” isn’t comfortable, but if we feel our feelings, deal with them, and heal, our feelings save us. They reveal how to live because emotions put us in touch with who we are, who and what we love, and what we want. We help save others too by setting an example of responsibly dealing with how we feel.
Like Lysa Terkeurst said in the quote at the beginning, our tears (our emotions) heal us and make us safe to be around. With God’s help, our emotions restore us, restore our relationships, and restore our lives.
FEEL. DEAL. HEAL. REVEAL.
What feelings do you need to reunite with so you can feel alive with your people and your purpose?
In This Together,
Ignoring Our Emotions is Killing Us, part 1 (let our feelings catch up to us) http://skimhenson.com/2018/11/15/ignoring-our-emotions-is-killing-us-part-1/
Ignoring Our Emotions is Killing Us, part 2 (honor how we feel) http://skimhenson.com/2018/12/22/ignoring-our-emotions-is-killing-us-part-2/