We live in a high demand, fast paced, distracting world that makes connecting with our inner selves something of a challenge. Finding the time to slow down, when we equate being busy with success, is hard. We wear masks to hide the things and feelings we are ashamed of, and to portray an outward image of composure – when in reality what we really need to be doing is connecting with the deep rooted emotions we experience to know ourselves better and through compassion, accept ourselves as we are – free of masks.
Growing up, I was a very emotional child. Because I was so sensitive, I was often left feeling as though my emotions were unfounded and as a result I became ashamed of the way I felt. I remember there were several years in my youth where I refused to allow myself to cry in front of people because I had associated crying with weakness. I bottled up my emotions and left them there to fester. I found unhealthy ways to numb or run away from those feelings when they reared their heads, and my self loathing grew when I found I couldn’t control them.
Ignoring our emotions is the quickest way to disconnect from our authentic self. When we allow ourselves to experience our emotions, we can work towards addressing them – rather than suppressing them, which in turn can lead to unhealthy habits such as eating disorders, compulsive behaviours and addictions. When we ignore our emotions by medicating, escaping, distracting or other harmful behaviours – we lose that connection to our being that is trying to get a message across to us, but is being ignored. Listening to these messages from a place of non-judgement and compassion can give you the most incredible insight into who you are and lays the foundation for the road home to yourself.
It is important to be able to label our emotions, understanding what exactly it is we are feeling. I’ve noticed how often I tend to blanket my emotions by saying “I’m ok” or “I’ve been better”. The less aware we are of our emotions, the harder it is to know how to deal with them. We need to stop running away from how we feel and instead honour ourselves and all the broken pieces that make up who we are by acknowledging our feelings, being compassionate towards them, and connecting with their root cause in order to permit ourselves to heal.
Tuning in to your emotional wellbeing is key for self-awareness, self-compassion, and self-love. We spend a lot of time looking for love in others, but neglecting to find love for ourselves. When you learn to listen to yourself and accept yourself as you are, you will no longer feel the need to try so hard to fit in, to make people like you, to keep the wrong people around. Belonging starts with yourself so become the support you’ve been looking for. Get to know yourself, to understand your emotions. Learn to express yourself. As emotions arise, ask yourself about them, maybe journal what you are feeling, try to uncover the root of the issue. If the outer world is to change, it must start from within.
Don’t aim to be understood by others before you understand yourself. – Najwa Zebian.