As cliché as it sounds, I have been doing a lot of soul searching this past year. I am at a point in my life where I am going through what some people call a spiritual awakeness; in deep search for how I can authentically live my life filled with love, joy and peace. Part of this process has pushed me to face my unresolved trauma, particularly from experiences that have impacted me and affected the way I navigate my relationship with others. For anyone that has or is going through the constant learning and learning of oneself, you’d be able to understand how emotionally exhausting it is. Things come up and instead of burying them, I feel like I have to confront them in order to achieve spiritual growth.
A friend once told me that negative emotions continuously come up because they are begging to be heard. The more we push them away, the more they resurface in what we do, say and think. The voices get louder and louder, forcing us to bury them deeper and deeper. Instead, all they need is space. Space to be heard, space to just be. Once we learn to live with our negative emotions, we are able to have more positive experiences.
For me, one of the feelings that kept coming up was rejection. Now, I have always known that I am a prideful person but I never really understood why. I remember always being sensitive to being left out to a point where I have dropped friendships out of this fear. The fear of being unwanted and not being enough for others. Before they can do it to me, I talk myself into doing it to them so it becomes my decision rather than theirs. Instead of talking it out, I take myself out first as a defence mechanism. This way, I have done it first and avoided the feeling of complete abandoness. This has also caused me to be a people pleaser. Always on edge on what someone thinks of me so I overcompensate by catering to them in order for them to like me.
Once I started noticing my behavioural patterns, I traced them back to where they come from and I realised that it was from when I was a child. A lot of our traumas stem from childhood but we are so used to ignoring them that they manifest themselves in different ways into adulthood.
I remember my sister being born (she is 2 and a half years younger than me) and noticing the shift in my parent’s attention. My sister was premature and struggled after my mother gave birth to her so it makes a lot of sense that most of their effort would be projected towards her health and development but a 2 year old me did not understand that. That was followed by the fact that we moved to another country where I quickly learnt that I did not belong. Being black and an immigrant who hardly knew English, I was bullied and constantly left out. All these experiences rolled into a big ball of hurt, so much so, some of those feelings that I felt as a child still come up today.
Some of us carry trauma and all of us are faced with difficult emotions. We are carrying something which in turn can have a detrimental effect on our collective wellbeing. Unfortunately, unpleasant experiences happen and some of them take place when we have little control. The best thing we can do now is manage how we respond to triggers and actively deal with negative emotions. For some, it could take professional help to untangle some of the hurt but for those who can do this themselves, sitting with those feelings and letting your inner child speak to you is a way to close some painful doors.
At the moment I am still learning to give space to all of me; the good and the bad. It is not an overnight transformative process, it takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Intentionally being with self and being patient with what comes up is crucial. The only way we can live our full authentic best selves is by working on ourselves. Once we do that, we can fill others with love. We can experience love. We can be love.