Unexpressed emotions and thoughts accumulate like piles of clothes in a bedroom closet that no longer fit. The bigger the pile gets the messier the closet becomes. Pretty soon I can't find things, but worse than that, I don't even know what is in it anymore.
The same is true for our inner life. The more I tolerate mental and emotional pretense the more stuff I hide with myself. I am no fan of brutal honesty, but I am a fan of discernment, openness and authenticity. I am a fan of speaking in a way I can be heard. Because I may believe I'll never change someone's mind or they won't believe me, or they will be upset with me, does not mean I should not say and share my authentic thoughts and concerns. Did you know we become more vulnerable when we placate, blame others, remain silent or try to dominate?
This way of managing our life creates masks that we hide behind which don't truly represent who we really are. Pretense may work in the short run, but never in the long run. The cost to us is high: our inner power is diminished and our personal boundaries become porous and weak causing us to lose our true sense of self.
Too many of us as we were growing up were taught to regard the outer world more than our inner world. In fact, the idea of responding to our internal voice and needs was often labeled selfish. When this happens we tend to feel stressed, and feelings of anxiety are not far behind.
One way to know how big your pile of emotional stuff is to ask yourself: What do I tolerate in my emotional world?
Do I tolerate someone dominating me; or, do I tolerate avoiding difficult conversations? Do I tolerate situations and people that make me feel smaller? Do I tolerate not taking good care of myself? Am I tolerating my kids checking out on social media?
Do I placate, blame, or do anything else that does not represent my real needs and wants? Do I feel people don't respect my boundaries and am I prone to letting them get away with that? Are these patterns or one time incidences?
If we don't clear out our stuff, we will feel anxious and fatigued? I have to admit in my counseling practice, I am seeing an epidemic of people suffering with anxiety and depression. If we just take one thing from our tolerance list and begin to change the pattern, we begin to awaken into self-acceptance instead of pretense, self-love instead of fear.
Too many of us are walking around pretending to be someone we are not, fearing the criticism of another who themselves are likely living a life of pretense, experiencing the same or similar anxieties. Begin with intention of living life genuinely; accepting and loving your entire self. Be mindful of being in the present moment, fully engaged in your life, living your beliefs and values, and taking good care of the special person you are. When you live in your truth, you become your own best friend, and life becomes sweeter, easier and simpler.