I’m never as brave as I look. I have to remind myself constantly that it’s okay to be fearful, but that fearfulness is not an exscuse for stagnancy.
My tendency when things catch me off guard, stress my beyond comprehension or scare me is to hide or run away from the challenge. By hide, I don’t mean physically (at first), but I more so hide emotionally. I shut myself off to feelings and can become very clinical in my approach in an attempt to patch it up and remove it from my sight. I become a “1) what’s the problem 2) what’s the solution” type of person. People who aren’t familiar with me and how I handle stress (which is 98% of the population) will often celebrate this side of me because it’s effective. I get praised for having a small to non existent stress response or being able to maintain my cool under insane amounts of pressure, but inside I fully well know that what I’ve done on the inside to get there is less than healthy. I will almost always fix the problem, but at the cost of my emotional well being.
I tend to shut myself down because my emotions are not required to solve the issue and quite often they get in the way. They can be a nuisance to other parties therefore I’ve developed ways to remove them so I can better focus on the issue at hand and not be a nuisance to those present with me.
So far no problem, right? Remove emotions. Solve problem. Bring emotions back. Right? No. See, here’s the issue that I tend to run into, once they’re gone I usually don’t want them back. It’s “safer” that way.
My fear response from early on has been to shut off my feelings, all of them. I won’t feel fear, or nervousness or anger or sadness. But because I’ve shutdown I can also not feel joy, love, pleasure and those things. I go completely numb. There was a time in my life where I had been numb for so long that when I wanted to feel certain things I couldn’t… I realized I had trapped myself into feeling nothing and couldn’t get out of it. That was a rough season full of really bad choices all in a desperate attempt to feel something… anything. I made a promise to myself when I finally broke free of that never to do that to myself again, but my friends that has not been easy. That requires me making a conscious decision to feel love, but to also fully embrace the pain that comes with it and to feel both things as raw and real as they come. It requires me to look my fears in the face, dig my heels in and embrace them even if they come true. Even if I’m alone. Even if I feel like they’ll absolutely destroy me. It requires me to be brave.
We’re always going to be faced with things that challenge us to be brave instead of running away and burying ourselves. They’ll call us to make hard choices, to disappoint those we love, we may face rejection or watch those closest to us walk away but in the end, choosing to stand in the storm strengthens us and helps us to keep moving instead of standing still. This is a transparency post, so I’m not going to walk away from writing this like I’ve got it all figured out, instead I’m going to let you know that I’m still working on this. Convincing myself even to this day that it’s better to feel all of these crazy emotions than to bottle myself away not knowing when I’ll see her again. So friends, embrace it. Live life knowing that you weren’t made to feel safe all or the time, but that it’s important to feel fear and overcome it, that’s where your strength comes from. And me, I’m comforted by the fact that I was designed to feel and feel fully, whatever those feelings might be. I’ll embrace them and whatever life throws at me knowing that at some point I’ll recover. But right now it’s time to be brave and keep moving.