Day 19 of The Vulnerability Challenge: What am I hiding?
Is this a trick question? As a recovering perfectionist, I’m pretty sure that if I’ve hidden something, I’ll have done a fairly awesome job of covering it up and no one’s going to find that baby any time soon.
So I’m going to need some professional assistance for this one…
Psychologists say that we hide things because we don’t trust that if we showed up with our full range of emotions, other people would still like us. We hide parts of ourselves that we think are ‘unacceptable’… things like anger.
So to work out what I’m hiding I need to think about times when I felt angry but didn’t admit it to myself or express it.
And suddenly I have a flashback to when I was a kid and my dad went downstairs to load up the car for our holiday. 5 minutes passed. 10. I don’t know how many it was before we realised he wasn’t coming back.
And I never got angry about that.
I tried to understand. I tried to make it better. I tried to fix it. I tried to make it the ‘no big deal’ I wanted it to be. I tried everything… except feeling angry. I never let myself cry about it. I never let myself feel sad. I never let myself say, “that seriously sucks!”
I put on a mask to make everything look ok and I wore it so often that I didn’t even realise I was hiding what I really felt.
I wish we learnt in school how to feel our feelings and how to be ok with whatever comes up.* Because without talking about our real reactions to life’s inevitable craziness, shame sneaks in and quickly turns an event into a story and a story into a mask and a mask into a piece of armour we put on every day to hide that we feel some inconvenient, painful, messed up feelings.
But it’s ok to feel those feelings especially in response to inconvenient, painful, messed up things.
So here’s a permission slip if you need one to feel a bit messed up today. It’s ok. It doesn’t make you mad or bad.
Take off your mask. I’ll still love you.
*If you struggle with feeling ok with emotions as they arise, this guided meditation by Kyle Cease might help you
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