I have been going to counseling for a few weeks now and one of the main reasons is because I wanted to better understand why I struggle so much with becoming frustrated or angry and not being able to move beyond that feeling. It's like I get stuck in this emotion and even if I feel like it is illogical I can't break out of it.
This last week in my time with my counselor I had one of those moments where it clicked - where it made sense and I understood myself in a new way.
There are two important pieces of this discovery: 1 - I don't advocate for myself and 2 - I am on empty.
First, I know exactly what I want and need much of the time, but I don't vocalize that. I am so afraid to say what I need because I don't want to be selfish, but I also don't see that in order to be healthy I need to take care of myself. I am so afraid to come off as someone who is selfish that I instead let my own needs go. I try to give hints as to what I need and I do for others what I would want to have done for me and then if it doesn't happen for me I get into a funk - which often means I am frustrated or angry. I then get frustrated with things that probably wouldn't normally frustrate me, but I am so caught up in the emotion of it that I become almost irrational.
Second, I am on empty because I am not speaking my needs and I am getting frustrated and angry and then also giving (yes sometimes hoping to be given to in return - but please don't mistake this to mean that if I have given of myself to you that I did not want to or that it was because I wanted in return...most of the time my giving is 100% genuine) so I am left feeling empty. I feel exhausted (emotionally, spiritually, physically) because of this. I so desperately need to be filled up again. I need to speak up what I need so that I don't become empty and thus not so much fun to be around.
One of my favorite things about teaching is when I see a student have a moment where it clicks for them. When they have struggled to understand a concept and I have worked so hard with them on it and all of a sudden they get it - it clicks - it is such a great feeling as a teacher. For me this week I was on the other side where something about my own self clicked - I was not the teacher, but the student - and it felt so good.
It is hard for me to write about this because it is a level of vulnerability I am very uncomfortable with, but Jim has inspired me (through his own blog posts) to be more vulnerable. My friends have also inspired me to share these parts of myself by encouraging me and helping me to see that sharing these parts actually helps others relate to me. Sometimes we feel so alone in our emotions, but the truth is that we probably are not...but sharing the "crap" is so hard to do because it sets you up to be made fun of or for people to walk away from you. We want friends, we want to be liked...but we so desperately want to be safe. For me safety means protecting myself from being hurt by others - but I will never get to know anyone and will never let anyone know me if I am always safe.