Day 35: Navigating Life As An Introvert

In my orientation to one of the colleges I went to we took a Myers-Briggs personality test. If you don’t know what that is, it is this LOOOONNNGGG series of questions that you answer that lumps you into one of 16 categories based on your reactions to and perceptions of the world. I came back as an INFJ. What does that mean exactly?

I – Introvert – I am energized by alone or quiet time

N- Intuition – Seeing patterns and possibilities in the world, preferring ideas and concepts to facts

F- Feeling – Prioritizing people and emotions and making decisions based on values and feelings

J- Judgement – Liking the outer world to be orderly instead of spontaneous (I don’t remember why this is labeled as judgement)

Again, what the hell does that all mean?!

It doesn’t even matter, it is a construct that puts people in boxes of which I am pretty opposed to. Mostly because I have never fit into a box. And you know why? It’s because I am a damn INFJ! This personality type makes up just 1-2% of the population. In all seriousness though, taking that test and being “discovered” and realizing that how I saw the world was indeed a “valid” way to view it was comforting. It was the first time in my life that I ever felt some repose in who I was, I felt seen. Even if it was a test, taken on a computer, with no real person attached to it. It meant I belonged somewhere. Looking at the above “definitions” of that personality type it amazes me that I made it through school. They told me and the one other person in my class that was an INFJ that we would struggle (did we band together and support each other, absolutely not, put two introverts together and all you will get a lot of silence haha). What they didn’t tell us was how our personality type would be an asset to our profession or how they would support us in our journey. That’s probably because they didn’t know… and truth be told, not many traditional institutions will offer support because we are so rare, it is simply not financially sound to help the outliers, cover the 80% under the bell curve and call it a day… well thank you very much, I will do it on my own anyways!

**As an aside I find it so interesting that everyone strives to be unique, to make their mark in the world, yet we fear so much being different or being seen, and that we derive such satisfaction from labels because it makes us more understandable. It gives us permission to just be…. but that’s a topic for another day (and obviously one which I am not immune to). **

INFJ’s are really cool. We are highly empathic, compassionate, perceptive individuals. We travel by a set of deeply entrenched personal values and are very idealistic. We are often discouraged by the harshness of the world but still choose to take positive action. We have intrinsic motivation to create a better society. We profoundly value deep, authentic connections with people and we realize those are few and far between so when we have that we cherish and tend to it deeply. We do not shy away from a person’s complex problems as we realize we are complex ourselves. We can appear gentle and reserved, but have a depth of spirit about our ethics and morals that can show itself with the ferocity of a viking warrior if those values are under fire. We feel intensely and deeply and if we do not feel appreciated we will withdraw. We can be stubborn and obsessive when we are under stress. We can come across as extroverted because we care deeply and connect deeply with people which can be confusing when we retreat to a quiet sanctuary. We are intimate with a very small, chosen few and even from them we sometimes pull away completely to recharge.

As a young kid, I knew I was different. I was told time and time again I was difficult. Difficult to get along with, difficult to love, just plain difficult. I shunned so much of me for so long. I used to hate who I was, that I felt so out of place and didn’t know why, that I couldn’t seem to figure the world out. I was so disheartened and confused by the darkness in the world. Seeing on paper what I was feeling and what I had known about myself for so long was oxygen to a dying soul. It would be another six years before I would find a group of people who would accept me for who I was and in that would find a person that encouraged more of me to come out of my shell. Now when I read that paragraph of attributes it makes this warm feeling in the center of my heart, because those things are pretty cool, and very powerful. To be able to connect deeply and to seek to create a better world, to allow only authenticity… these, to me, are super powers and I feel… proud… proud of me, of what I have to offer this world. That is such a new and novel feeling. Knowing some of these characteristics and being able to read more about the psychology of my particular personality type allows me to evaluate blind spots more effectively. As long as they resonate with me of course! Yes, INFJs are difficult. But it is only because we don’t really fit well into this mold of society. We are labeled such because people don’t and often can’t understand us because we are the way we are. I for one wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s a really interesting dichotomy to grow up how I did. I never fit anywhere. But I also never tried to. I hid myself instead, I think because I knew inherently that I belonged SOMEWHERE, I just didn’t know where it was. I think it was my want for authenticity that left the core of me intact. It was covered in a lot of layers of shit and negative conditioning, but now, each layer that is revealed is like a shiny new object. Even the negative or darker stuff. I am able to step back and say, wow this really interesting thing is coming in… here is why and here is how I can shift perspective on this. I do this a lot with being an introvert. I get told all the time I need to be more social. I need to get out more. I need to do blah blah blah… People don’t get me, but I do. And more importantly I can appreciate me and feel a sense of pride and understanding in myself and my differences. I no longer feel guilt at needing space to recharge or for not feeling more social because I know that my solitude makes way for those attributes that I so deeply value, and taking time for me supports my highest self. And I also know that if I am shying away from people it means that their energy doesn’t feel completely authentic and to find those who I fit with I actually DO have to get out and explore a little more.

Image by si_kor from Pixabay

So how do you travel through life as an introvert?

It’s the same as anything else. You love and accept yourself. You learn to see yourself for the power that you do have. You embrace the fact that you don’t fit in and understand that that means you can present a really powerful new perspective to the world and you accept that you have a lot to offer.

And when you find those select people in your life who just seem to get you, or maybe they don’t get you but they accept you… you hold onto them. You create a support system and you put your energy into those relationships that do fill you up knowing that they don’t come along very often. And even if those relationships don’t look how you think they should, or love doesn’t show up in the way you imagined, you adjust to accommodate those special people in your life.

I, for one, love being an introvert. I am so firmly one that I have never even considered trying to be more extroverted. It’s far too draining and I know would never work for me. I know some introverts who try and succeed and can manage the energy pull, but not me. I will forever need recharging, and that’s okay, because when I do show up in the world it is as a massive fire ball of love and affection and it has the capacity to heal (at least this is what I am told!) and I am starting to see that evidence. Each time a person says thank you, or you’re inspiring or your support has really helped me, I take those words and plug them into the part of me that needs evidence to see my potential, and while I will never feel that I am doing enough, or saying the right things, or showing up enough, I will know that I am making a difference.

Being an introvert shouldn’t be shunned. Being different should be celebrated and honored, even if it is in a quiet, gentle manner done in the sanctity of a comforting solitude. There is nothing wrong with any of us. We all fit in somewhere. We are all a part of this pulsating energy that makes up this global collective. It may be the amazing 80% that dictate society, but it is the 20% that brings in more diversity, that sees the world differently and offers perspectives and passions that bring an additional layer of beauty and joy to life. Let me be clear here, I NEED that 80%. Those are the people who bring light and energy easily into this world, they create so many of the gregarious and beautiful things that we have. I could not survive without that 80% nor would I be different if they didn’t exist. The people under the bell curve drive society. And…. We are all unique. We are all special and we should all celebrate what we are, because at the end of the day we are all gifts to each other and shouldn’t strive to be anything other than authentically ourselves. ❤ ❤

Lotus Image by Carl Chen from Pixabay

Day 34: “You’re Far Too Sensitive!”

We live in an age where emotions are starting to come alive in a healthy way. People are looking inward for change and are seeking to experience the world from a new paradigm, where our emotions do not rule us, but are simply sign posts and guides to show us what it means to live in our intended frequency.

As a kid I used to hear some iteration of the words above, “you’re too sensitive,” “why are you so emotional?” Hearing those things made me feel like I was defective, like what I was feeling was wrong, the way that I felt was separating me from the rest of the pack so was threatening. I learned a long time ago that showing emotions was dangerous and resulted in conflict. The one other person in my life who was and still is very emotional is my mother. But there is emotional, and then there is emotional intelligence and her emotions often go unchecked and run rampant leaving a trail of destruction behind them. It was from her that I taught myself to shut in and hide the things that I was feeling, because I saw the wake it left and I didn’t (and still don’t) want to be like that. The result was this fantastic emotional constipation that resulted in a completely stifling apathy and an almost total breakdown.

It took me about six months of inner work before I started to feel anything again. Now, I feel … a lot…. it’s almost overwhelming at times to try to manage. I had gotten so used to navigating the world through this wall of defensiveness and anger that living any other way seemed really vulnerable and scary and really unsafe. Now, I cry…. a lot. Sometimes it’s super annoying, but I can also appreciate that I am feeling again and that crying is just an expression of this overabundance of emotional energy, and is a sign of a passionate awakening that is happening in my heart. I also love, so deeply that it warms my body and floods me with light, and I feel everything in between.

Looking back, I can see how far I have come. I can see myself starting to open my heart to people. I can see myself beginning to express love and not NEEDING other people to reciprocate. I am learning to put it out in the world in a way that gives back to me.

So why is this coming up today?

I work with an assistant on Saturdays. She is young, I think 19 or 20. She feels things really deeply. She is this effervescent kid who really REALLY tries so hard to do a good job. She started in our company in one of the lowest positions that she could be in. She worked that job, pretty happily for over a year. I knew that she has had some issues with depression and had some tendencies to let her emotions get the best of her at work. I watched her work her ass off for a year only to get passed up for promotion after promotion and I started to ask people why. It was really interesting the perspectives that were out there. To me I saw this super eager kid who was looking for someone to give her a chance. She is smart as hell and quick as a whip. She has this awesome sense of humor and cares deeply for all living things. She thinks ahead and anticipates needs and runs circles around some of our other assistants. When I started asking why she was getting passed up I kept hearing the same thing, she’s too sensitive, she’s too emotional.

Now, I don’t have kids, I don’t profess to know how to raise them, but I do think it is our job to teach future generations how to manage themselves instead of hiding who they are. I could see so much love and passion bubbling out of her and each time someone gave her feedback like this I could see it cutting her to her very core. And let me tell you, it hurt her something fierce. She would come to me in tears trying to figure out how she could exist in this world and I felt for her so much because I went through that struggle too. Her and I differ in that I am a lot stronger. That’s not a judgement, but a fact. She was on the verge of ending her life several times over really trivial shit because it felt so damn big to her. And I had been there and I knew what she was going through and while those thoughts had crossed my mind I realize I can endure a lot of pain. It is one of my strengths because it also means that I don’t compromise and I don’t settle. Anyways… this isn’t about me…

Back to E. Her and I would chat, and once I realized what the “problem” was we started to talk about it. It absolutely broke my heart to see her going down this path of self doubt and trying to figure out how to fit in this world by making herself smaller. One day we were in the car and she was really upset about the latest person passing her over and she said she knew she was too emotional and I told her “No, you aren’t too emotional. You are just right, you are passionate, you feel and love deeply and sometimes that comes out in ways that make other people uncomfortable. It is okay to feel what you feel and to express what you feel, you don’t have to stifle yourself, you only have to figure out a way to manage constructive expression while still being true to you.”

I have no idea if anything clicked or if what I said made a difference, and I probably never will. I don’t need to know. What I do know is that once people started seeing her through a different lens, and she started to see herself through a different lens, things at work started to go much better for her. The next promotion that came along… was given to her.

She still struggles with this world. A lot at times. And we still talk, but she doesn’t need the same support anymore. It has been pretty cool to watch her grow and blossom in her new role and amazing to see her stepping into who she is. Everyone that passed her up is starting to see it too. We talked today about the goings on in her life and what she was doing to show up for herself in the face of adversity. I am really proud of her.

So is there such a thing as too sensitive? No. We are all perfect just as we are. It’s all in how we choose to use it to show up in this world with the gifts we came here with. Yes, there are times when I feel like I don’t belong here, that I am too sensitive for THIS world, and then I realize it is actually a super power. Feeling like I do means that I have a huge capacity for love and caring and empathy and compassion. It means that the people that I choose to shine my light on can bask in an ocean of love, as much or as little as they can take, because I have that capacity. It means that my heart can take a lot of pain and has a passion and sense of right in it that means I will, and do, stand up for what is right in this world because I want the world to be a better place when I leave it.

I don’t always get things right in the “wild.” It’s much easier to write about how I am inside than it is to express it out in the real world. But, each word changed, each expression realized, each awareness brought to the surface brings me closer and closer to authentic expression in all areas of my life, not just behind the keyboard. It brings me closer to speaking my mind without worrying about what other will think. It brings me closer to unlocking my true power. It brings me closer to love. With each exploration of depth of these glorious emotions I can start to see how truly powerful I am, how richly I feel and I can start to realize just how much I have to offer the world.

And so do you, if you are brave enough to look.

Too sensitive, nah…. perfect from where I’m sitting. ❤ ❤

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Day 33: Drowning In A Sea Of Crazy

There is this phenomenon that happens when you are in the midst of transformation. It occurs when the life you are living no longer fits but the one you are creating isn’t ready for you to step in.

In the personal development group that I am in we call this “The Crazies.” And damn is that an appropriate term for it.

The crazies is not a fun place to be. It feels like you are drowning in a violent sea that keeps battering you, wave after wave comes just at the very moment you are gasping for breath. It feels like falling down an endless well, clawing at the stone walls, unable to grab hold, breaking your nails off in the process. It feels like a torturous, endless death. Time slows down, hours feel like days, days like weeks. You get the idea. It is not pleasant! And unfortunately, it is a prerequisite for growth. I have yet to meet someone that transitioned smoothly into their new life. Perhaps for people that feel a little less deeply than I do it isn’t quite so dramatic a transition, but for me… it’s almost always brutal.

I am in the thick of the crazies. It has come after some pretty big momentum which was born of some pretty massive hurt. The momentum carried me through a couple weeks, allowed me to focus on what I want for the future and just when I feel like I am getting my feet underneath me, the crazies come in full force. They show up in the negative self talk that clouds my mind, the constriction in my heart, the concern for the future unwritten. They make me feel like I am losing my mind, like all of the things that I have learned the last year have meant nothing, that I have not made any progress. Even though I feel that way, I know it isn’t true. Just the fact that I am recognizing what is happening and am able to sit in it knowing I will come out the other side shows huge progress. A year ago I would have lost my mind. Now, I do what I need to get through, knowing that I will indeed get through.

So what do you do when the crazies strike?

For me, I take a deep breath. I recognize them for what they are and for what it means about my progress and my future. I reach out to a friend for support, if I have one that isn’t traveling through the same darkness. But probably the most important and the whole goal of this blog….. I show myself compassion. I listen to what my mind is saying, I evaluate the words and see if they are true and then I change them. Sometimes I literally say “Okay, if I was talking to a friend what would I say?” I zoom out and evaluate the situation from a different vantage point. I look for resources to keep supporting my goal. I drink water. I force myself to work out and maintain all of the good habits I have created the last few months and I love myself. Resisting this phase is pretty useless and only prolongs the suffering. Most of the time the crazies only last a few days. For me this has been going on longer and much longer than I would like, but each day brings me closer to the end and nearer to the future that I see for myself.

Today I woke up in tears, I realized what was happening and thought to myself, “bring it on, bitch,” cause I know I am strong enough to weather the storm. ❤ ❤

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Day 31: Pushing The Edges Of Capacity

The only way to grow is to push your boundaries. When one is working out and plateaus at 12 reps, the only way to grow more muscle is to push yourself and do more reps. This is pushing an edge.

In new relationships, once the romance period slows down and real life sinks it, boundaries and edges get pushed and adjusted with each hurdle. This is what makes a relationship grow and thrive.

In the workplace each new task that requires gaining or honing skills pushes the edge of what we know and results in mental (and sometimes physical and emotional) expansion.

You get it, you have to push the edges of your capacity in order to expand.

When there is a goal in place and there is a lot of motivation, pushing edges is easier. Maybe not easier, but more enjoyable than when we are forced to expand.

I am being forced to expand right now, in several areas of my life. I am on my third night without power and once again am writing this hunched over my phone in my car. The storm we are having is producing 60 mph winds and there are down trees everywhere. It is amazing I had power today for as long as I did.

My patient that I mentioned previously also died today. It makes me really really sad and I am currently in the process of examining my every move to be sure that there wasn’t more I could have done. And while I made the best decisions that I could with the knowledge I had, I can’t help but feel that I should have done better.

My work situation with the guy that was threatening me has become very uncomfortable and I no longer feel any sense of security there.

Mr. X asking for us to be friends and not knowing how the future will work for us… this is pushing an edge.

These are boundaries I don’t want to be pushing. And they are also boundaries that I don’t really have a choice about expanding. Well, that’s not entirely true. I could choose not to expand. I could put my patient out of my mind and not make the necessary evaluations and just say I couldn’t do better and choose to not learn from it. I could have let the guy at work get away with what he did resulting in him doing this again to other people and ultimately allowing some really aggressive, toxic behavior in the workplace. I could walk away from Mr. X completely. I could choose to not write this blog and cease all my daily activities and give into the fact that I have no power but none of those things would serve my goals of personal growth and expansion. We are lucky in that every day we are tested. The field is set for constant expansion if that is what we desire. For me, I am still not fast at shifting things, so I need this training ground.

Just because I realize that, does not make it easy.

I wanted to throw in the towel today. I wanted to just not care so much about my patient, move to a place where I could start fresh where I didn’t have to deal with snow and winter. I wanted to quit my job and I wanted to run. Instead I am sitting here, tears streaming down my face, completely overwhelmed by my life. Those nagging voices are starting to get louder. The ones that are saying, “why did you think you could be a good doctor,” “you should just start over where no one knows you,” “you should just give up.” I know these voices are there as an echo of past circumstances. I know they are a product of fear. When I evaluate them further and feel into my heart I realize that right now, today, I don’t feel safe. I feel very alone and in some ways a little helpless. And if I boil it down even more I realize that I don’t want to walk this world alone. I am tired of doing everything on my own, of figuring out life on my own, of coming home to a house that occupies one person, of relying on my dogs to keep me sane. I want a man in my life. Right now more than anything I want someone to hug me (let’s be real, a certain someone), to tell me that I did all I could for my patient, to listen to all of my trials at work, to help me take care of clearing the snow, to make this power outage an adventure instead of an inconvenience. As the darkness sinks in and I sit, listening to the howl of the wind through the trees, the stillness in my home beckoning sleep, I realize I am just plain lonely.

I have to be pretty low to feel like this. Low on energy, low on reserves. Realizing that, I am searching for what will serve me best to fill my tanks. Right now that’s a kind word from a friend and a mug of tea that I have heated over a camp stove. It’s snuggling up with all of my blankets and the dogs and bedding down for the night knowing I have done all of the critical things. It is expanding the edges of my appreciation and forcing myself to not just find things to appreciate, but to actually appreciate them – with the feeling in my heart. And it is to be kind to myself, to be my own cheerleader and to show myself some grace in being and feeling human. It’s to accept that nothing that I am feeling is wrong, that I am okay, that this is all expansion and is serving some greater good. And it is knowing that I can handle this, even if I am alone.

Growth is not easy. Awareness gets easier the more you practice it, but actually using it and choosing differently is not easy. It’s simple, sure, but not easy. And it’s okay to have rough days, to feel overwhelmed and in need of some help. It’s okay to reach out, to cry, to ask for support.

And it’s okay to feel lonely. I know these feelings will pass. I will just institute the advice that I offer to everyone else. Just. Keep. Going. Tonight that means going to bed early, trying to get some sleep and starting fresh in the morning. ❤ ❤

Image by Jills from Pixabay

Day 30: The Art Of Resilience

Man oh, man.

Sometimes I look around at the stuff going on in my life and I wonder how I am still standing. A lot of people wouldn’t be, but here I am… doing my thing…

If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is how to be adaptable. Adaptability leads to resilience. The quicker one lets go of expectations and resistance, the easier it is to fall into adaptability. The strength gained from that resilience is unmatched and when appropriately utilized can be a tool for overcoming so many obstacles.

If you read my post yesterday you will remember I was without power for much of the day. If you didn’t read it, good on you for not being in front of a computer screen. Anyways… power came back on early this morning. I was able to enjoy about an hour of it before leaving for the gym. My gym is normally an hour drive, today, with snow and down trees and a million other little annoyances it took me an hour and a half. We were the only gym open for miles and I was the only one to show up. One thing people don’t realize about me is if I know someone is expecting me, I will find a way to show up, and I knew this trainer came in anticipating that I would be there. Since no one else came for class I got this badass one on one personal training session, being resilient really worked in my favor there.

Work was a motherfucker. I am dealing with a really critically ill patient that likely won’t survive the night and it breaks my heart cause I have worked hard to keep him going. It is also such an uncomfortable/toxic environment right now with the *ahem* gentleman that I am having issues with that I no longer feel I can work at my desk so I am kind of displaced and falling behind on some tasks. I kept my head up today though cause I haven’t done anything wrong and focused on my patient and actually managed to have a good time with my assistants, despite all of the other pitfalls.

Then I got home, my glorious sanctuary from the world… and my fucking power was out AGAIN! Clearly had been for a while, as my house was frigid with a capital F.

Now, I have to look at this as the epitome of resilience and adaptability, because otherwise I will just come off as crazy.

Desperate times… I definitely heated up a veggie burger over an open candle. It is scented like Autumn so added an air of cool breeze to my burger. I also bundled the dogs up and we are currently sitting in a heap in my car, charging my phones and using the internet from my hotspot.

All in the name of keeping up with this blog!

I could be upset with my circumstances, it is certainly inconvenient. I could be mad and sad about my patient, and I was earlier today. I could bemoan my existence and damn the state in which I live. Or, I can choose to adapt. I can snuggle with my dogs, waiting for the heat to come back on. I can chat with my friends while my phones charge and I can take the loss of electricity and resulting darkness to really focus and become present with some things that are important to me. It’s amazing how much you learn to love your company when there is no other option. I have chosen to make this fun, to make it memorable, and not because it sucks so bad, but because it is making me laugh. It is allowing me to have a focus that I normally don’t when I have a thousand different screens running at once. It is giving me the chance to solve puzzles, which I really like to do. It’s opening up doors to solutions that I never would have seen if my awareness wasn’t directed that way, and will provide resources that I may be able to use in the future. It also provides a stern contrast to how cushy my life usually is and makes me realize just how good I have it. So in this moment I am very appreciative of the life I have built and that I have the chance to reflect on that. I am also loving the sheer number of friends that have called or texted to check in on me, so I know that I am loved and supported.

The easiest way to be resilient?

Find all of the strengths and up sides to your situation. Latch onto them so firmly that they are the only things in your awareness. Make it fun. See how you can take a not so pleasant thing and turn it into something that supports you and propels you forward.

For me this blog is creating a body of work that will give me inspiration and credibility for my coaching career. The darkness and cold are honing my senses and causing a ridiculous amount of clarity and focus on a few aspects of my life. All of these things are supporting me in moving towards the life I want to have and it is great training ground for working on my language and attitude.

So am I happy I am without power? No. Am I appreciative though of all of the things it is providing for me? Yes. In this moment I am able to see my strength, my resilience and ultimately, my progress. And that is priceless. ❤ ❤

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Day 29: The Cruciality Of Support

I’m feeling pretty defeated by the world this round. Like, knockout defeated.

We had a snow storm last night and got about 8 inches dumped on us in a region of the USA where there is typically not much snow fall which means there is not a good system in place to handle that. So my power has been out intermittently for the last 18 hours. 13 of which was a continuous blackout so… no heat. I woke up to quite the chill this morning.

A patient that I referred for surgery took a turn for the worse and died today. Another is likely headed for the same fate this week. The second one I have been working on for the last four weeks.

I was in the middle of making food and once again, no power. It’s 5 PM, pitch black and cold and here I sit. I’m writing to you on my phone, curled up in my blankets like a gnarly little gremlin.

To be honest I’m not even sure that cruciality is a word and I don’t want to waste precious cell phone battery to find out. That’s what we are working with here.

There are things in life that we require to survive, food, water and shelter. Once those base needs are met and satisfied a whole host of options opens up. Having the freedom from the stress of survival allows for breathing room and the focus can shift to creating a life worth living.

And creation is what it’s all about.

When I started out on my journey to self love I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own. Even though the actual process of self growth is a solitary journey, having the right support can make or break your travel.

Support can come in so many forms. It can come in the form of a cheerleader, a mentor, someone delivering tough love or even the circumstances that crop up in life.

If you are able to look around and realize that even the tough times are supporting you somehow it can make dark times seem a little less heavy. The tricky part here is having to trust that they are delivering you somewhere that will be of benefit which is, admittedly, hard to do when you are caught in the thick of it.

For me tonight my support showed up in the form of a phone call from a friend. He reminded me that even though I had a rough day, I still showed up for myself. I didn’t let the trials stop me from doing the things that I know will benefit my future. I worked out. I took a call from a coaching program that I am looking to join. I was able to shower at the gym. My day has been a little tough but it’s been a good training ground for changing my mentality and luckily for me, barring any unforeseen catastrophies, I will have a chance to try again tomorrow.

I hope you are all warm and cozy out there. ❤️❤️

Photo by Sasint from Pixabay

Day 28: How To Fill An Empty Heart

Oh man, today has been quite a day.

I’m currently involved in two “hard” conversations with two different friends and fuck is it wearing me out. As usual I can see everyone’s side. I can see their love and concern for me and for them and I can sit firmly in their shoes. I know that having hard conversations and coming to compromises and conclusions based on both party’s input is the stuff that creates lasting relationships but the middle parts, the actual work, it can be messy. Feelings get hurt, words are sometimes misunderstood and conversations are often times drawn out and heavy.

That’s a good word for my day, heavy.

My heart feels like it has a hole in it the size of Texas.

So what do I do when I feel like this?

I took a few minutes and looked back at my last couple of years of relationships with these people and I recalled all the good and loving times and I brought them into my heart to sit. Then I looked at all of the ways I have grown in the last year and I congratulated myself for taking steps to have healthier relationships and for not running away.

And the last bit of the hole that I couldn’t fill…. admittedly I stuffed a donut in it.

Image by Shurriken on Pixabay

I used to be a really emotional eater. I would sneak food and hide it from my family so I didn’t have to hear how no one would think I was lovable if I was fat. I would have ice cream every night, that sweet, silky softness caressing my tongue. I would have cookies in between meals and sweets after every lunch and dinner. Sugar played a huge part in my life. Self soothing. In my 20s I was actually worried to move out on my own because no one would be around to shame me so I thought I would gain a hundred pounds.

It turns out, when you remove yourself from a stressful situation you no longer need coping mechanisms.

I am not perfect by a long shot but I have learned to listen to my body a lot more in the last few years. I have always had some digestive issues so mindfulness with food has been a big goal. I know how much I should eat to feel my best. I know when to skip meals and when to eat fully. And occasionally I revisit an old pattern, and have a donut or two and I do this because it does feel good and for a few minutes I do get some relief. The biggest difference now is that I don’t hide it. I acknowledge what I am doing and why I am doing it before I even open the box. Then I allow myself a certain quantity and I sit there and really enjoy the hell out of it. No shame. No guilt.

So how do you fill a hole in your heart? You practice compassion. For yourself and for others. You stay open and present and mindful. You love yourself no matter what kind of mental chatter pops in. You practice appreciating what you have in life. You approach each situation with curiosity and the desire to grow. You find things that light you up and you do more of them.

And sometimes you allow yourself a guilt free donut. ❤️❤️