We are all a product of our life experiences—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Over time we begin to accumulate experiences—some that serve us, and some that sabotage us. We try to suppress or ignore the unpleasant experiences. As part of suppressing these memories, many times we numb ourselves to the emotions associated with them, and, over time, they begin to accumulate and compound until finally we can no longer carry the emotional weight any longer.
Has this happened to you? Have you had an exaggerated reaction to someone or something in your life because you were carrying an emotional burden of suppressed emotions? To avoid this, we have to make sure to do some emotional unpacking along the way. Experiences can become our story, define our path, and determine the course of our lives. If we do not create time and space to process, feel, heal, and let go of emotions, we can become stuck. You are not your stories. They are just your experience.
It's easy to move forward when we're surrounded by positive stories, but what about the negative stories? The ones that cause us pain? We don't like to look at these. We avoid them. And the more we shove them to the back of our minds, the heavier the burden gets, and the harder it becomes to move forward.
Emotional avoidance is a pandemic. We somehow decided that we didn't have time, that it wasn't professional or cool to feel, or that we were just too engaged in pushing through to the next big goal or milestone to stop and process. Or maybe we've given up.
We have to make time to heal, to feel, and to let go. This is an uncomfortable process. But we have to become unstuck and allow ourselves some vulnerability so that we can grow and evolve.
Here are a few ways to begin this process:
1. Make time to hang out with yourself.
Distracting ourselves with business and being surrounded by people constantly doesn't allow ourselves time or space to heal and feel.
2. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is not a weakness or a flaw. It is an essential part of our expression as people and ensures that we stay balanced and can experience inner peace.
3. Do things that you love.
Experience joy every day by pursuing and making time for the things you love to do. Finding joy in activities that you do alone allows you to become relaxed in your own company and think more deeply about things in your life.
4. Notice the beauty around you.
Practice gratitude and remember how far you have come. Give yourself permission to be a work in progress. You don't have to have it all together all the time—that's unnatural and unrealistic.
5. Love your journey and the growth it has facilitated for you.
Instead of thinking about circumstances or memories as good or bad, take away the judgment. Instead, allow it to just be all part of your path to learning and growth.
Next time you feel overwhelmed or find yourself needing a break, listen to yourself and take some action. Be accountable to your feelings and the need to unpack some of your emotions. This is an essential part of success, happiness, and growth.