I was taught not to show my feelings

When I was little and did something wrong, my parents would scream at me, or beat me, and when I started to cry they would shame me with: “Such a cry baby! You feel so sorry for yourself! Go away, you are disgusting!”. When I tried to talk to them after the incident and say how hurt I felt – they would dismiss it and send me back to my room. When I came, however, to say how much I love them anyway – that behavior was encouraged. I would receive hugs, kisses and their approval: I have admitted my fault and accepted proper punishment. Good girl.

So I grew up with the pattern – if someone hurts me, that’s because I did something wrong. If I admit it and tell them that I love them anyway – I would get their love back.

I would pick the type of man who would reassure this pattern for me. Who would hurt me, ignore or neglect me, but I would swallow my pain and would come back to him all nice expecting to receive his love back.

But with the years I started to see that it isn’t working – I don’t get expected love. So I changed my strategy to the opposite: the less love I show, the more I will get in return.

I started building walls, years after years, to protect any of my feelings from being seen.

From desperate, needy-for-men woman I’ve become arrogant iron-lady. One of my friends told me that some men revealed to her how much they like me from far, but they would be afraid to come any closer. Only few people were let in, few closest friends, tested by years of friendship. But even they didn’t really know my soul.

I had a friend who talked about such intimate things with me, I felt ashamed for HER that she opens up to me. I felt superior: I don’t have such weird emotional problems as you do! Oh, I have much more important subjects in my life than talking about my feelings! You are so not grown up!

Our friendship went on for years, and with the time I started to realize how much I envy her. She is so comfortable with herself. She can’t live one day without talking to someone about her feelings. She is much happier with herself than I was.

With her light in my life I started to melt my ice castle. She gave me permission to open up. One day, when I was saying something about myself, she said: oh God, you are also feeling?! I thought that on all our meetings you considered me stupid and shallow for talking all those bullshits…

I know many people like me. We are used to build the walls and so afraid to be seen. We are afraid to be ourselves because somewhere in the past we were rejected for this. We think that our real self is not needed in this world, and that nobody would ever like it anyway.

So we create our image and wear masks. We choose the most encouraged behavior, we try to always look “cool” and in control. We want to always be confident and perfect. Nobody likes messy people. Nobody wants to hear dark stories. Because when we see a mess in someone else – it forces us to face our own. It triggers memories and we feel intimidated. So we protect, run, attack, hurt.

We hide, fearing that somebody will see our imperfections. Then it all will be over! They like the perfect image of me, not the real me!

When we become an authentic version of ourselves – people will not stop liking us. Our environment will simply change. For me it happened that old friends stopped talking to me with no reason or explanation. And that’s okay. The Universe is replacing them with those who are a better match to the new real me.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

Marianne Willamson

I am glad I had a friend who gave me permission to shine my light. And I am hoping to return the favor by shining my light in other people’s lives and giving them permission to open up too.






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