I am constantly learning. Learning and re-learning. Sometimes when I’ve learned something new, I think I have just had the most profound, life changing revaluation. But then, only a mere few days later, I find this new revelation has lost all its sparkle and no longer feels like truth at all. Major womp.
Same goes for my needs. At one moment I can think I need a certain something from someone, to only find a week later this really isn’t what I need. And in fact, what this person is now offering me – because I asked them to – is actually doing more harm than good.
But in those moments when you feel you have learned something life changing, or when you have a revelation about something you think you need, do you cast it aside for fear that maybe you will be proven wrong in the near future? Do you stop yourself from asking for this need out of fear that you may actually change your mind later on?
This is a really hard one for me – and was one of the greatest lessons I had this week. I learned that I am very afraid of making a mistake.
I learned how hard it is for me to ask for what I need. Its like I’ve basically lived my entire life sub consciously believing that those around me – specifically my parents – should just be able to know when I am hurting or needing their care. I’ve believed that they should just be attune to my needs without me needing to tell them how I feel.
You know where that got me? That got me desperately trying to scream out for help without using words. That lead me to using my shrinking body to try and tell those around me, “I’m not okay,” “I’m not fine,” “I need attention.” I have been incapable… slash haven’t known how…. to communicate my needs or tell someone what I need from them. There’s a lot that goes behind this – fear of rejection and not being validated, feeling embarrassed or needy or looking “stupid.” A general feeling of not feeling safe. However, another reason is this fear of making a mistake.
“What if I say something that hurts their feelings? What if the thing I think I need is actually not what I need? What if I change my mind and have to tell them I was wrong??”
I’ll just look stupid!
I’ll look out of control and dramatic.
They’ll get mad. We’ll have confrontation. I’ll feel way too uncomfortable. It’ll all just feel way too MESSY.
This translated into my eating disorder as well. “What if I eat this now and then aren’t hungry for my lunch?” “What if I eat the wrong thing and it isn’t even good?” “What if I have too much and then I’m super uncomfortable?” All the mistakes!! Oh what HORROR.
Well you know what, brain boss? LIFE IS GODDAMN MESSY (like my house last week…) I – we – are always trying sooo hard to keep control of everything and know precisely what is going on never making a mistake. We are constantly working so hard to stay as far away from conflict or uncomfortable feelings as possible. But that is not how life works. As much as we may hate it – life is full of uncomfortable feelings. Pema Chodron says, life is all about “groundlessness”
Last week I had an extremely uncomfortable conversation with my parents. Feelings of being unnoticed and hurt were building up inside me and I was trying desperately to – silently – scream out to them that I was needing attention. I didn’t want to eat in front of them, thinking maybe this would spark them to take that notice I was longing for. When I couldn’t hold the tears in any longer, I made the “mistake,” of saying, “I don’t understand why you guys haven’t said anything.”
Maybe I shouldn’t have said this – or maybe just not in this way. One parent got very defensive. I began to feel attacked. It was messy and hurtful and painful. But once the conversation was over, the honesty that was needing to come out had been laid out on the floor. Feelings were heard and needs were met. I felt uncomfortable for the rest of the day, definitely, but the next morning? I felt lighter than I had in weeks. I had the most marvelous day and had zero eating disorder urges.
From my parents side? They were in the same boat as me. All three of us had been tip toeing around the issues and the honesty – for fear of saying or doing the wrong thing. For fear of hurting one of each others’ feelings. For fear of stepping on each others’ toes or making things worse. For fear of making a mistake.
Ya well look where that got us. We – all three of us – were so afraid of making a mistake that we ignored the issues, trying to avoid all conflict, and each of us experienced stress because of it.
Maybe the “needs” I told them are going to change by next week. Maybe I will have to say, “Wow so maybe that’s not what I need from you.” Maybe my one parent wishes they did not get so defensive and said what they did. But we made our feelings known. We each displayed our needs as we currently perceive them. We can’t be afraid to make those mistakes. Especially with family – you will hurt each others feelings at some point. But you will get over it. Because you are family.
We can’t be afraid to feel uncomfortable. We can’t be afraid of conflict. And we can’t hold in our own feelings in order to avoid the risk of making a mistake. This is where growth lies. It sucks. Oh mannnnn does it suck in the moment. But I guarantee you – you will wake up the next day with a hundred pounds lifted off your shoulders. And your family will still be there – probably quite a bit lighter themselves.
Why We Can't Be Afraid of Making a Mistake. #groundlessness #honesty #embracethemess Click To Tweet
Thank you to Amanda for her weekly round up letting us think out loud.
Have you ever had to have a difficult and uncomfortable conversation where you felt a hundred times lighter the next day?
Have you noticed how you are affected – physically and emotionally – when you are not saying something you know needs to be said?
Not a hugely exciting week. But I did get a few nice things…