When I was younger, 10 or 12, I used to get a nervous belly when first going to school. Going to school meant entering a new place filled with new people and leaving the people that loved me unconditionally. Throughout my memorable life it was at certain events—going to school, summer camp, a party—that I got this feeling, and, still to this day, it happens. Waving goodbye to my partner as I board a train, hugging my family as I get dropped off in Guelph (the place I friggin’ love), going to a party, just typing and remembering it brings up feelings of tightness in my mid-gut and my jaw. Accompanying the memories are thoughts of shame, embarrassment, worthlessness, plus feelings of being helpless, scared, discouraged, nervous, show up in me. There are feelings of excitement and eagerness, too, in my big body, however, my actions have sprouted from those only a fraction of the time.
Reflecting on my life I see where it took a lot of encouragement from others for me to try things and how easy it was for me to shift attention to others, especially if they were hungry for it. I remember taking actions from that place of fear and all the uncomfortable situations that were of consequence—uncomfortable for me and others who I cared about.
Perhaps these feelings are attached to my need for interdependence—acceptance and appreciation, community, emotional safety, closeness, and empathy. Today, after a relaxing, creative, family-filled, loving holiday break, I was returning to Guelph (again, a place I really love) with my Mum and sister. On the highway I began to recognize my pattern taking over. My mind, with the information that 6 of my good friends are no longer living nearby, went automatically to thoughts of “all my friends aren’t there anymore” (emphasis placed to show the exaggeration that my mind was creating). Thoughts of my lists of things “I must do” for school, volunteer, and life came up with increasing emotional feelings of nervousness and stress, along with the physical tightness. (I’m at a stage where I’m becoming aware of my body and mind behaving like this, so, in utter amazement of what I’m becoming present to, I take every other minute to remove myself from conversation to watch the clouds or trace the details of trees on the side of the road—Nature is skilled in empathy). My sister sparks a conversation about self-love and that sparked some self-compassion which helped me meet my need for reassurance and love. The three of us laughing brought up feelings of joy and relief as my needs for inspiration and honesty were met.
Arriving at my home I saw a crock pot of cooling veggies on the porch—this meant that a certain friend, who has hugs and conversation aplenty, was home. As I opened the door, with feelings of hope and comfort, I saw my kitchen filled with two friends a-stewin’! “Fuck yes!” says my mind and my body opens up, streaming energy and love because my need for an accepting and inspirational community has been met. I acted out from that place, heck yeah I did, with a big ol’ smile, hoot and holler, and hugs! Amazing, eh? Receiving more hugs from my Mum and sister as they headed back home, and from our new housemate (old friend), I settled in and set to taking care of myself (e.g., drinking healing teas, eating healing foods, breathing, physical expressions) and care of my space (e.g., cleaning, organizing, decorating). I was so inspired I even went over and introduced myself to a brand new neighbour (haha, this sounds hilarious, but it’s sooo powerful). Later in the evening I spoke with my love, who’s across the continent, and hugged two other friends—welcoming them home.
When I am surrounded by people who celebrate me, love me, welcome and accept me, I do things that help me to meet my need for self-worth. I feel full of power. Thank you Gryph, Erin, Devin, Casey, Mumma Kathy, Ilana, Leah, and Wayne. (AH HAH! Just received a love-full text from my brother Josh. It’s as if he felt the waves that are beaming off me). I appreciate having you all in my life.
Day 4 of practicing appreciation using processes from Nonviolent Communication. Whew!
1) express the actions that have contributed to my well-being,
2) express the particular needs of mine that have been fulfilled, and
3) express the pleasureful feelings engendered by the fulfillment of those needs.
Thanks for making the time to read.
Having friends who practice healing and share so much of themselves with me. Helping me to meet my need for autonomy and my wellbeing. I feel relieved and comfortable. Thanks Sarah.