HOW WE END UP PLACES
Updated: Apr 19
Do you dislike the situation you are in but pretend to like it? When we find ourselves in a situation we dislike it is wise to disable our autopilot in the search for the mind's agendas.
The agenda of Ego-mind, the goal of our personal Bodyguard, is to shield us from experiencing pain in every way possible. And because truth has the ability to bring about significant amounts of unpleasantness our mind teaches us to avoid feeling it. With decades of practice we have 'mastered life' by carrying on with our pain locked deeply away, firmly believing that we are stronger for not admitting to the truth of our wounding.
Our Ego prefers to act for us in ways that lead to avoidance of challenging emotions by escaping, denying, or numbing ourselves. Which is beneficial to us when dealing with an acute mental injury - as a temporary measure to prevent systemic overwhelm for us to continue functioning long term. It is similar to having a car accident, not really feeling the true extent of our injuries at first. When in shock, our brain will prioritise our sustained wounds so that they get dealt with accordingly to their urgency based on the amount of pain we are in. It shuts down certain pain pathways for us to notice the rest of our injuries with a delay. This emergency algorithm for noticing our pain applies to us feeling emotionally injured too. When we are in a state of shock whilst being verbally attacked for example, we can just about think of disappearing or insulting others back. It is because our fight or flight mode shuts off our other circuits whilst firing up the lower parts of the brain related to survival. Only after escaping into safety our higher brain circuits can open up, allowing us to integrate our experiences in order to deal with the emotional overwhelm of sadness and disappointment which are always present (!) but somewhat overshadowed by our anger. It is at this point that our Ego steps in yet again because 'we shouldn't feel sad for such a loser of a friend, we certainly shouldn't feel gutted!' For our Bodyguard feeling down, defeated, equals to losing which is not to be tollerated. 'Perk up! Hold your head up high and carry on coz you are no wimp, are ya?!' With repetition we learn to follow our inner commander who has no skills in integrating our truth, similarly to us ignoring a painful feeling in our arm caused by a fracture which intensifies in time to alert us until such time when we are unable to cope...
Long term emotional shut down closes off our internal recovery resources very early on, leaving us unable to deal with our mental injuries. We then carry our emotional baggage into our future interactions. Incesantly competing with others, we come to love the idea of gritting our teeth and carrying on without feeling the internal, truly disastrous effects on our inner core.
We stay in a relationship with our partner for the perceived advantages with our heart no longer in it. We continue working for an inconsiderate and disrespectful employer. Our close friends have questionable morals. We spend our only holiday with toxic family members. We reward our children for being rude and inconsiderate to us out of fear. How much worse can it get?
But we are 'good'. Just somewhat confused when we blow up into a face of someone who definitely didn't deserve it because our Ego is too proud...
By exercising our Ego, we get more proficient at spotting danger which in turn sets our internal alarms louder making us easily triggered, irritable. Similar to someone unknowingly touching our broken bone, we feel that everyone is there to get us. Can we get any more self-important? By being continuosly on guard it seems as though we are doing a pretty good job at protecting ourselves against all those people. But being anxious, angry, resentful, envious, controlling most of our time comes with a price tag we haven’t accounted for.
How much of your time are you calm without expecting things to go wrong? How much peace, joy and freedom do you experience in your day to day life? What would you genuinely like more of in an ideal world, and why do you think this isn't possible?
Do we honestly think that the hold of our Ego is going to give up its grip? Perhaps by humbly accepting ‘I haven't been looking after you very well. You better ask for help because I have failed you’. Yeah right!
In life, we get that if we are to get better at our job or at being responsible financially we have to face the truth of the matter first. Even though it’s initially tough. We are being accepting of having to push through our resistance because the rewards are palpable, if not directly visible, to us. Being emotionally cut off to a large extent thanks to the overwhelming inner pain we know how not to integrate (because we disowned it), it makes it nearly impossible for us to envision ourselves mentally and emotionally well. Besides, quite often our preconceived ideas about happiness are totally wrong because for decades we have forgotten how it truly feels.
Without having a positive experience in sorting our emotional baggage out we cannot gain trust in ourselves. They say don't get bitter, get better, and so below are some pointers on how I have experienced re-connecting with my truth:
With practice I became more confident in noting when I was hurting, in time unafraid of experiencing all my emotions attached to certain unpleasant experiences. My emotional truth needed to be heard without the shameful messages of my Ego which kept the lid on it for so long!
I understood that just by allowing things to surface, I have released some of the long standing overpressure which was damaging my psyche. By doing so I have reduced its long term repercussions on my physical wellbeing!
I realised that like any other healing is a process. It is right that things won't quickly go away. In fact allowing my pain to exist without needing to be in control (which always comes from the Ego) allowed the right amount of time for my healing! I learned how to let go - something the Ego is extremely bad at by the way.
Experiencing safety is largely an inside job in the world that thrives on feeding us threats and negativity.
It takes dedication and daily work to correct the setting of our mind once we have understood its glitch. As proven by the science, a baby will stare at an angry face much longer than at a smiling face. We are wired to consume bad mental nutrition that grows the part of us we (trust me on this) don't want to cultivate and no longer recognise. We also know that doing something scary, stepping outside our comfort zone, is where we grow. Living in denial we have become so good at keeping ourselves occupied by unimportant stuff (to not feel) that we have also stopped feeling genuinely good and free!
Make the first step by being honest with yourself about your truth, not matter how you 'should be' feeling. If noting your truth is truly terrifying for you, ask a wise, trusted friend or a professional for support. Choose someone emotionally mature you look up to, someone who is an inspiration to you and has their life on track. You will probably feel out of your depth at times but do not worry - your emotions cannot drown you!
Learn some basics about emotions here.
Thank you for reading. If my article contributed to understanding yourself, please be generous and share it with others.
Copyright © 2023 Michaela Patel