A woman’s journey of self-value
The Western world generally views emotions with negative connotations. As women, we have lost connection with our emotions that possess inner wisdom. Emotions can safely guide us through our lives when we learn how to hear them. The key to emotional wisdom is simply knowing how to listen to them. However, because we tell ourselves that unpleasant emotions are bad, we often try to supress or even medicate them rather than listen to their wisdom. Without realising it, we are not only blocking our emotional system, but also we are losing the opportunity to learn from our emotions.
Allowing ourselves to feel our emotions helps us to work out personal boundaries, likes and dislikes, values, and direction. When we suppress our emotions we lose valuable information that tells us about ourselves and the world. An example of this is when Mary felt increasingly anxious without knowing why.
Mary was afraid of trying anything new. When faced with unfamiliar situations, her heart raced and every now and then she noticed she held her breath. Her stomach was often in knots and she worried about little things constantly. Mary had been in a relationship for ten years with her husband Fred, who often put her down. While her self-esteem was stifled, she did not realise the full impact of Fred’s put downs. Instead she figured she was an anxious person and decided to go onto anti-depressants. She was using to being put down, as her father and brothers had done the same thing when she was growing up. Her mother was also unsure of herself, and often tried to reassure Mary that things would all work out if she was simply nice to other people. Mary could not figure it out, she was nice to other people but still she felt horrible about herself.
When Mary saw her doctor, he agreed that antidepressants would decease her symptoms of anxiety and hep her to better cope in life. However, in the end it reconfirmed to Fred that Mary was the one with the emotional problems, and Mary became even more disconnected from her feelings and inner truth.
It was not until one day when Mary felt deeply disillusioned and depressed, that she finally decided to push through her fears and try something different. She enrolled in higher education where she started studying languages, a field she had always been interested in but never thought she would be good at. Fred continued to dismiss and put Mary down for her attempts at doing something she wanted to, but she was too resentful and disillusioned to listen to Fred anymore. Her self-blame eased as she made new friends and began to adapt a different perspective on her life and herself. Slowly she began to realise that the problem was not her emotions but rather the put downs, both her own self-blame and Fred’s put downs. She started to consciously challenge the self-defeating thoughts with the help of her friends and counselling, until one she confronted Fred.
This was completely new to both Mary and Fred. Neither one of them were accustomed to Mary standing up for herself. Unfortunately Fred simply became self-righteous and angry towards Mary which began to seal the fate of their relationship. Over time, the friction between them grew. No longer was Mary going to remain in a shutdown, depressed and anxious state, but Fred could not understand the changes in his wife.
Eventually Mary left the relationship and continued to build her self-confidence, studying languages and eventually traveling overseas. On her journey, she realised she had no need for antidepressants anymore. While she still sometimes felt anxious and scared, she learnt to distinguish between helpful fear and anxiety that held her back from growing. Eventually she met a new partner who was completely different from the men she knew in her past. Brad was far more respectful towards her and encouraged her to learn and travel.
The moral of the story
This story reflects a common experience where the wisdom behind the emotion is lost. Rather than listening to her fear and working through why she was feeling that way, Mary created a simple explanation that there was something wrong with her for feeling anxious. Unfortunately, by believing that she was the problem and further supressing her emotion, she temporarily lost the opportunity to learn self-value, interpersonal boundaries, and possibly help create a healthier relationship with either Fred or another more respectful man. Eventually she turned this pattern around and learnt to honour her feelings, however she spent over a decade of her adulthood feeling rotten about herself. So the moral of the story is to learn how to listen to the wisdom within our emotion rather than suppress or medicate it.
“Don’t Tell Me To Get Over It”
A women’s guide to navigating through emotional overwhelm
Learn how to recognise widespread emotional patterns, and how to heal them. ‘Don’t Tell Me To Get Over It’ is a self-help book that explores abandonment, people pleasing, generational grief, self-righteousness and shame. Through five women’s personal journeys, we investigate how past childhood wounds continued to impact on their lives, resulting in the formation of psychological patterns. Step by step, this book outlines how to identify the patterns, work through the emotions within the patterns and heal them. The psychological processes endorsed in this book embrace honouring our emotion and learning from our inner wisdom.