Think of Your Fear Like a Wet Suit

2013-2014As I go into the new year I’ve committed myself to an attitude of gratitude. However, that also means that there is a transitional phase from negative attitudes and mindsets that have to be managed. It’s a little like a corporate takeover. A lot of sorting out to do before it all settles down again. Oh how nice it would be to have my very own “Easy Button”!!

Today I noticed that I was feeling really tight in my chest and down in mood. I tried telling myself to stop it, but that didn’t work. Then, I tried closing my eyes and breathing, that didn’t work either. What gives??

As I searched for answers, I remembered what I wrote yesterday about using “LAG” as my new conflict management style and I thought, maybe this will work for conflict within me as well.

LAG is an acronym for a conflict management style I created to help me create the life I want to be living. It stands for these three steps in the process: “Lean-in”, “Accept”, “Go on”. I’ve started applying it to situations where I am in conflict with others and today I learned it could also be applied to internal conflict.

LAG: Step 1: When I “Leaned-in” to the feeling, my mind fought very hard to run away. It did not want to focus on the ill-feeling at all. I kept saying to myself, “Stay with it”. “You are safe”. I kept breathing in and out to stay calm. When I breathed in I said, “breathe in”. When I exhaled, I said, “breathe out”. That kept me better focused.

When I felt less flooded, I asked myself, “What are you feeling?” “How would you describe it in one word?” The answer came – “I feel rejected”.

I thought, ok. Now we’re on to something. The feeling has been identified. I had no idea until this moment how often I actually never knew what I was specifically feeling. It was just “bad” and I wanted to avoid it and get as quickly as possible to good. That’s all I knew.

It makes sense now why my internal conflict never got resolved as it arose. Negative feelings just kept building up until I began to feel helpless and hopeless in my life. I felt like a prisoner who was put on this earth to do her time. As if I were chosen to be unhappy, while others were chosen to have a fulfilling life. I have felt powerless in my own life for a really long time.

LAG: Step 2: “Acceptance” – I said to myself, “thank you for sharing that. I accept that you feel rejected. That must be very painful. How can I help?” Much nicer 🙂

??????????????????????????????????????????????I waited a bit for an answer and then seemingly out of nowhere, an image of myself on a beach wearing a zippered wet suit popped into my head. The suit felt tight and constricting. My skin felt clammy. I could smell the salty air, hear the waves lapping onto the shoreline and felt the warmth of the sun on my face. I just stood there and took it all in for awhile.

A few moments later, a guiding voice spoke to me over my shoulder.

“What if I told you your pain of rejection could be removed at any time you chose?”I said, “Shoot. I’m all ears”. He said, “Unzip your wet suit and let it fall to the ground. Walk forward and feel the warm grains of sand between your toes. Look behind you and see your pain balled up and lying on the ground. You can pick it up anytime you want and suit back up or you can leave it there and go for a swim in the ocean and clean off all the residue that it left behind”.

LAG: Step 3: “Go On” – I decided to walk into the ocean and swim. It felt good to get the suit off. I kept swimming until all the residue was gone and I felt refreshed. I found myself smiling and laughing again. I felt lighter.

After taking myself through the process, I now understand why my initial attempts to deal with the feeling that arose didn’t calm me down. By flat out telling the feeling to STOP, I was completely ignoring and avoiding it. Then, with zero tolerance or acceptance, I wanted to flush it out with my breath without taking a moment to understand its purpose for being there. Very rude of me actually!

I looked back at the wet suit on the shore and thought about how I don’t have to wear outfits just because someone else thinks they suit me well and I can take them off at any time.

In more practical terms. Let’s say you are in fact being rejected by someone or a group of people. Do you have to feel ashamed of yourself and wear your feeling of rejection like a full body wet suit sponsored by, “THEY REJECT ME”? No, not really.

And here’s the kicker. You can still acknowledge to yourself that they reject you because they very likely may not like you or want you around. It happens.

You don’t have to treat yourself like a reject.

That’s where most of us end up in major pain. When we agree with another persons opinion of us, we are subconsciously feeling that other people know us better than we know ourselves. We give them permission to change us to become what they say we are, what they limit us to. This is the express lane to pain, depression & loss of self.

it's not personal

Instead, you can just accept that they do reject you and that it sucks.

Remind yourself that other people’s opinions of you are none of your business.  YOU are not a failure because of this.

You are still that same awesome, talented, special person with so much to offer this world no matter what other people say.

People who try to make you feel bad about yourself are really unhappy people. Believe it or not, it is NOT personal at all. They are just showing you how bad they feel inside. Something in you reminds them of a quality they wish they had inside but they don’t know how to achieve it.

Pray for them. Acknowledge that they are in pain. But under no circumstances do you let what’s going on in them define who you are. It’s separate.

Instead of carrying their load as if it were your own, bless and release them.

You just may not currently be with a person or a group that honors your gifts in the best way. It’s just not a good fit. Focus your energy and talents on honoring yourself and surrounding yourself by people who do honor you.

You’re already good enough as yourself.

Happy New Year and lots of love from aneternaltraveler 😉

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