After hitting the snooze alarm for the third time. I finally got out of bed. I was going to be late to work, but I just couldn’t get myself going. I’ve struggled with this before, but today was a monkey beating on my head. I knew that something had to change.
Fast forward twenty years and my mindset and energy levels have totally changed. Yes, I have more energy now than in my twenties. Depression has a way of holding you down. This memory of waking up and afraid of putting my feet to the floor still surprises me. You should have thought my bed was over hot lava. This is the power of our minds.
Most of us are taught to stuff our emotions down. It’s time to stop this pain and let ourselves free. It’s been quite a journey and I want to share how it started and how I got to this joyful state.
I grew up in a strict household. My father subscribed to the “You better listen or I’m going to scare you with my fury” attitude. At eight years old there didn’t seem like any other options besides being a compliant kid. I was too scared to plead my case. My mom brought balance and encouraged us to speak up, but there is still a deep rooted fear that I am making a mistake.
It’s tough being in my own head. I bet you struggle with similar issues. Our minds are complex laboratories that can often confuse us.
The stories that I’m uncovering now as a forty-four year old man come from my experiences. Digging into these stories in therapy, journaling, conversations with my wife, brother, mom, and friends, have helped me process my thoughts and emotions and be more self-loving. It’s about asking myself great questions. I continue to do deep work and uncover old stories and beliefs. This work has been hard, but I not only see my internal pain more clearly, but all the subconscious choices that I was making which led to a lot of my unhappiness.
You don’t see most people’s pain. They hide it from others because it’s what they have been taught to do. As you get older, pain becomes a source of shame.
You should never be ashamed of your thoughts and feelings. I know it’s easy to say. I wish I could snap my fingers and “poof,” you are deeply in touch with yourself and appreciate every single thought and emotion. It’s tough to appreciate the thought that you’re not good enough, but it’s just a thought and you can choose how to process and learn from it. The dichotomy of this work is that you have to learn how to appreciate both the pleasant and tough stuff. The tough things that you’ve overcome are what makes you stronger. This is where you have to train yourself to see these struggles as opportunities instead of as barriers. This encourages you to dig a little deeper and try a little harder if it really matters to you.
It’s why I’m sharing this with you right now. I’ve overcome a lot of pain, internal struggle, and health issues, and they have all contributed to my happier state of mind. I’ve been through depression, addiction, relationship issues, Cancer, and I’m still here. I’ve even found a way to see the bright side of my son punching me in the crotch. When my youngest son was just two years old he punched me in the crotch and dropped me to the floor. It was one of my favorite memories because I figured out how to be grateful for that moment. I never thought that was possible. That’s the beauty of a gratitude practice. You can truly appreciate anything.
I’m far from perfect and I still get angry, sad, frustrated, tired, etc., but I’m also able to appreciate these feelings and use them to help me connect with my joy and fly again. That’s why the dig to fly method is so important. You need to dig down into your stories and habits, learn from them and make adjustments so you can soar again. I say again because when you were a kid you probably felt like you were flying on a regular basis. Young kids aren’t good at suppressing their emotions, happy or sad. They let their feelings loose, process them with their emotional outburst and then they go back to soaring through life.
When you are able to recognize and acknowledge the emotion as it pushes you up or down like the wind pushes on an airplane, this is when you begin the process of mastering your thoughts and emotions. You navigate the turbulence as you head to your destination.
Photo by David Cassolato from Pexels