I know this pattern in myself of holding back what I really want to say, there are many layers to this for me and I have been in the undoing of this habit of protecting myself, keeping myself safe by saying things which are not going to cause a reaction for what feels like years.
Safe from big emotions I did not have the capacity to feel and be present to. Now it is not so useful. Now it harms more than helps.
It is not in alignment with my core value of wanting to create authentic connection.
Now, it can feel to another person I am not being entirely honest about what I am feeling. And I can totally understand how it may feel like this.
It is a long-standing survival strategy I am still in the process of undoing.
If I perceive myself to be threatened my instinct to keep myself safe trumps everything.
Gabor Mate speaks of humans having two needs, attachment and authenticity and when authenticity threatens attachment, attachment trumps authenticity.
This means we will cut away or shut down parts of who we are to stay attached, in connection and in belonging, especially when we are growing up.
Connection has always been what I wanted. And in a roundabout way, by not saying what I mean and not showing who I am in my fullness to the world, I stayed in the acceptable box. Why?
“Because I had learnt that if I wanted to be accepted and not rejected or shamed for who I was; I needed to behave in certain ways and not colour outside of the line’s others had created for me.”
This kind of compromised connection is no longer what I seek. Authentic, raw and real connection is what I choose, and this desire and value are what guides my actions.
Altering what I say and how I say it in the world is no longer an option.
And I am still surprised at how much effort it takes in certain situations to counter this safety mechanism. More and more often I feel absolute delight and joy when I say what I am feeling exactly as it is.
What I do know is that it has less of a grip on me today than it did yesterday and the day before. And it feels like a whole new level of self-care, of deep caring for me is emerging.
Most of us have developed some safety or survival strategies and where they were once useful, they can become harmful.
The only way to begin to undo them is to get to know them, see them and once you have seen them you can start to shift them.