Out of Suffering Comes Peace

I don’t believe in the biblical sense of heaven and hell but I do believe they can be experienced. Suffering is a place. A perpetual place of pain the living can and do get stuck in. I was once stuck in this place. That was hell for me. I found a way out through psychology, hypnotherapy, energy work, life coaching and NLP. Moving out of suffering requires

  • Awareness, a knowledge of self
  • Accountability, taking 100% responsibility, and
  • Integrity, living in accordance with your values.

Applying these principles to my daily life allows me to experience peace. Peace for me is accepting that there will be moments of pain and sorrow in life and a knowing that I am able to experience those moments without getting stuck there.

Finding Yourself After a Lifetime of Hiding

I had become an expert at hiding. It’s what I did best. I was actually proud of it. Who wants to deal with all of those bothersome feelings that get in the way of getting shit done? I was under the illusion that I could live life unaffected by my baser human emotions like empathy and sympathy. Strangely enough, I’ve always been very compassionate and kind but that was easy because I didn’t have to be vulnerable to show compassion to others. In fact, I learned, the kinder I was, the more liked I was while never having to reveal the real me.

Heaven forbid I had to share my feelings. That was my kryptonite. Whether to friends or therapists, the relationship was not long lived once I had spilled my beans. Emotional closeness felt like stepping on a slug barefoot, it was yucky. It was also scary. The facade I had created of a successful, strong, capable and functioning member of society was at risk if I let on to what was really going on inside. A tangled mess of confusion, loneliness, anxiety, depression and disconnection.

Watching 3 Mics yesterday on Netflix brought this all back up. The memories of my 20-something-year-old self desperately seeking help for the emotionally broken child within me sobbing uncontrollably as I repeated over and over the story of my childhood in therapists’ office while at the same time running as far away from the pain as I could in the arms of lovers, both foreign and domestic.

3 Mics is a comedy special, a one-man show by Neal Brennan. His one liners were funny but what left an indelible impression on me was his candid revelations of his own journey through depression as a result of growing up with a violent, alcoholic, and narcissistic father. I envy people who can string together minimal words into impactful sentences. Listening to him describe his story and reading comments on his page from his fans sharing how they felt like he was telling their story reinforces a truth that while our stories may be unique, our pain is the same.

He recalls growing up as the youngest of his parent’s 10 children, with a father that took up all the physical and emotional space in a room learning to stifle his feelings so that eventually they atrophied and in order to feel anything, in essence, became addicted to achievement and adrenaline and yet the rush of his successes never quite satisfying his core needs, to which I can wholeheartedly relate.

I used achievement and adrenaline to feel as well. Growing up I didn’t feel seen or appreciated so in school and work, I worked hard to be recognized as talented and dedicated, which was made easy by being an INTJ. Adrenaline came in the form of drama, relationship drama specifically. If I wasn’t having one-night stands with strange men then I was stirring up havoc in my relationships as a result of my love addiction and intimacy avoidance.

Unlike Neal, I’ve never been medicated. I never got far enough with any therapist to have that topic come up. I just learned to cope and hide when things got too real. Until I had had enough of the turmoil. I was fed up with spinning my wheels in life, love, and career. There is no one path to emotional freedom but the result I believe is universal, reconnecting with your true self, your forgotten self, learning to help the broken child within you become whole again.

This is the journey I began about 5 years ago and one I continue on, with compassion and love for myself.

Speaking My Truth: Question Your Beliefs

While relationships are a perfect environment for healing and evolving, there’s usually some growing pains that come before that due to our belief system.

I entered relationships with baggage, baggage from my childhood and baggage from previous relationships. That baggage included a distrust of people, a need to be wanted and approved of, a need to appear perfect, a need to be loved, and a need to be right.

When these things were questioned or not provided, I didn’t go within to question what it was about my belief system that led me to feel hurt, betrayed or powerless, rather I blamed others for not meeting my standards or having unresolved issues and therefore weren’t worthy of my time and affection.

It’s only through challenging my belief system that my growth began. Do not be afraid of what you might learn. Being triggered in relationships is an opportunity to heal and transform.

What behaviors in others or in your mate do you GATHER EVIDENCE TO PROVE?

Whenever I felt my partners losing interest, self-doubt turned to jealousy. My lack of self-confidence and self-esteem supported my belief that I was unlovable and not worthy. That belief then supported the belief that my partners didn’t love me or were cheating on me or no longer found me attractive.

I certainly didn’t have hard evidence but so sure was I in my belief that I was not enough that even words of reassurance couldn’t assuage my growing mistrust and malcontent.

Speaking My Truth: I No Longer Give My Power Away

Relationships are the perfect environment to grow as a person when you are willing to hear your partner’s truth without taking offense and are also able to speak your truth without fear.

For many years, I was unwilling to recognize that I carried with me a lot of hurt and pain from my childhood that affected how I showed up in my intimate relationships. I was needy and controlling and both unsure and arrogant at the same time.

If I was ever at fault, I would blame the other. If anyone deigned to look below the surface and not only saw but pointed out my imperfection, that relationship was not long to last.

Becoming emotionally healthy requires you to look within at the roles you play in your relationships, intimate, platonic, familial and work. The responsibility for a successful relationship falls on both parties to show up consciously and fearlessly.

Do not be afraid to know yourself and allow others the wonderful opportunity to know themselves through relationship with you.

What things do you REACT to in communication and relationship with others? Where is your judgment? What kinds of behaviors and other stuff really trigger you with a partner, friend or family member?

In intimate relationships, whenever I felt less than perfect or when I had disappointed someone, I would go into panic mode and do anything to prove myself. I would get very defensive, unwilling to hear if I had done or said something that was unfair or incorrect or hurtful.

If the relationship was ending because I wasn’t right for someone, I carried around anger for that person, picking apart their words and behavior, making them the one with fault and imperfection.

I wanted to be wanted. I wanted to be my partner’s everything and in turn, they became my everything so much so that when I wasn’t enough, I became very jealous and controlling.

This is what it boils down to

My message, my purpose, this idea I sometimes fail to articulate, that emotional health is foundational to a happy, healthy, and meaningful life was revalidated just now after reading this article. Perhaps what I had failed to get across when speaking about the importance of emotional health was the tieing in of mental health. I think people understand mental health more than the words emotional health. I didn’t speak in terms of mental health because to me, mental health issues begin as emotional issues.

Let me be very clear about one thing. I am an not a mental health professional. I have never studied psychiatry or formal psychology. My training is in alternative healing modalities such as hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming, transformational life coaching and spiritual psychology all of which are flavored by traditional psychology and talk therapy.

I have personal experience with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks and addiction and in my opinion, speaking just for myself and what has worked for me, I have been able to move through these issues with the assistance of the modalities I mentioned before. This is why this subject matter is so dear to me. I am not ‘healed’. I am ‘healing’. My experiences have shaped who I am today. The knowledge I have today due to my experiences provide me a different perspective on the world and the people in it and I wholeheartedly believe that so many of the ills plaguing our world can be resolved with more focus on a person’s emotional health.

Too often, we focus just on physical health or what we can see that needs fixing. A holistic view of a person’s well-being takes into account their physical, mental, emotional AND spiritual well-being. While my main focus is on the emotional well-being of individuals, that one piece affects all other aspects of what it means to be a happy, healthy individual.

My healing journey began when I was in a low place, and I’ve been lower than that but it was a time when I was able to see more than just my suffering, meaning, I could imagine possibility if I just did something. That knowing is something I carry with me today when I talk with people who are stuck in their muck which is that I cannot pull them out until they are ready and they won’t be ready until they can see possibility. I believe it’s my duty to expose some of that possibility to them.

When I took the time to focus on my emotional health, I emerged a better person, a better employee, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister and will be a better partner when I am ready to be in a relationship.

If you are interested in learning more about emotional freedom, I wrote a short ebook , A Beginner’s Guide to Emotional Freedom, on the subject and also designed a workbook to help you start your emotional freedom journey.

By the way, this post just poured out of me and I hope it reads well. Also, I’m celebrating 10 days of my personal challenge to blog daily for 30 days. Yay me!!

Emotional freedom is a choice

Emotional freedom is a choice and the choice is made when you accept you can’t escape from reality in fantasy forever. It’s the moment you decide to become captain of your own ship because you can’t go on living emotionally broken and dependent on others to validate and complete you.

Not so long ago, I made the pivotal decision to slowly transition out of my full time, high paying corporate job and leave a relationship that was distracting me from what truly mattered. Taking those steps were difficult and took courage but what was more amazing to me is where the courage came from and that was from a deep inner realization that I had lived my entire life wanting to please others in order to feel like a person who mattered.

I didn’t and still don’t quite know how I was going to live the freedom lifestyle but I knew my why was in helping women, who just like me are realizing a shift needs to happen in how they are living and in who they are living for, learn how to let go of the need to be validated and loved by things and people outside of themselves and learn how to become self-aware, self-loving, self-supporting, self-validating, and emotionally healthy creators of their lives.

The idea for this blog, The Wandering Lesbian, came to me during a morning meditation a few weeks ago while attending Kyle Cease’s 2-day Evolving Out Loud seminar. While I was sharing the idea with a new friend I’d made, the possibility of what this could be came flowing out of me.

I imagined combining my love of self-discovery and travel with meeting women all over the world and sharing this message that emotional freedom is a choice and that it can be achieved.

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 2.