Your emotions demand to be respected, yet we all have different ways that we cope with negative emotions.
I can tend to be compulsive when I want to avoid something. What am I tempted to do when negative emotions come my way? Shopping spree! Let’s plan a trip! Who wants to go out later?! How can I avoid feeling??
But what happens when I finally slow down? What am I left with in the quiet?
For me, in the quiet I found restlessness. In the quiet, I found frustration.
How did I get here? I would always ask myself. Eventually, I learned that the emotions that you run from will eventually catch up to you.
Now that we know this, what do we do?
We must give space to these feelings.
I have heard it described different ways, but the way that I have been practicing lately has been this: imagine the side of you that wants to run away as your inner child. Our coping mechanisms are learned behavior. We learn avoidance through trauma (whether mild or major) and trauma that we experience when we may have been younger or less mature.
If you could speak to your younger self, how would you speak to him/her? You would be kind and gentle, right? This is how I imagine dealing with my inner child:
Christian, you have been through some tough stuff. The way you want to deal with this situation is not the best way-we’ve learned this. It’s ok that you feel anxious. It’s ok that you feel afraid. Take your time. We will get through this. You do not have to react. You are safe. You are loved. You are worthy.
Emotions can be scary and we can fear facing them. One thing that we have to learn is this: there are healthy ways to cope. We can grow and learn to love and care for ourselves. This takes time, but it is possible for you.
Be gentle with your inner child. Do not be mad at yourself for reacting in ways that trauma has taught you. Breath.
“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”