Back in December I wrote a post about surrender – specifically My Struggle to Surrender – and I promised to get back to you about what I was learning and working on. So much has happened since then and it feels like December was a year ago rather than just three and half months. Recently I have begun to write about surrender in a whole new way and I want to share that here soon. Before I do that I thought it may be worth posting the writing I had all but finished back in December as Part Two to the original surrender post.
You may remember that I was reflecting on the space of surrender – the allowance of all of my emotions, all of the time….
I could pick up the pace, I could go to the place where I let my emotions lead, where I let myself become a teary mess for days at a time, I could surrender. This is the most rapid way to change and grow. I know intellectually that this is the better way and yet I don’t trust God enough that I will survive the tumble over the cliff; I don’t believe that I can do it.
Yeshua is helping me so much with this issue and I want to share with you some of my discoveries about my blocks and the tools that are helping me with this issue.
The Things I do to Avoid Surrender
Usually I do one of two things. The first thing I call ‘Toughing it out’. This is where I tell myself things like: ‘well I just have to feel this, this is the only way to grow, I’m just being an idiot, God made me to be able to do this, I’m just going to push on’ I try to force myself over the edge. I get all rigid and try to survive it all rather than feel it all. And, no surprises here, I don’t end up feeling very much at all.
The second thing I do – lets call it ‘Sulking it out’ – is more like ‘I can’t do this on my own, AJ can I have a cuddle?, I think I’ll have a cup of tea, maybe some chocolate, I just want to watch a nice movie’ i.e. I become needy, I seek comfort, I feel I will be able to cope if I just feel a little better.
In both cases I am avoiding my true grief, I am avoiding the place of surrender, of overwhelm. I am either ‘toughing it out’ and shutting down my vulnerability or I am ‘sulking it out’ and looking for external things to help me avoid my feelings.
Fear Stops Surrender
I know intellectually that experiencing my pain will lead to healing and growth. So why am I so afraid??
I must have a false belief about what it will be to surrender emotionally. So lets call this belief or set of beliefs my ‘block’, the thing that blocks me feeling everything all of the time. The belief must be false because God created me to be able to cope with all of my emotions.
So what are my biggest fears and false beliefs about surrender?
- I can’t cope with the emotion
- I will be completely out of control if I surrender to this emotion
- I will feel crazy, I will look crazy to others, others will laugh at me, or condescend to me
These huge beliefs inside of me have their origins in things I learned in childhood through my early experiences and the way my parents viewed emotions.
Its no surprise, given the state of our world, that my parents themselves have fear of their own emotions. In my childhood they treated themselves most of the time in the way I usually resort to i.e. they ‘toughed it out’. Instead of having a good cry, they taught me to get on with life and that it was foolish to spend too much time feeling sorrow or grief. So I learnt that I could feel grief for a little while but after that I was feeling sorry for myself.
I also come from a family where ‘making fun’ of others or paying a person out for their idiosyncrasies is considered good natured and normal. This is the culture in one side of my extended family. Cruel sentiments, condescension and ridicule were often dressed up as ‘having a joke’. As a kid I was labelled a ‘drama queen’ because I was so expressive and often emotional. Growing up that made me feel ashamed of my emotions, I learned to not be so ‘sensitive’ and I become a ‘joker’ too. As an adult I now have the belief that if I’m overly emotional I will be made fun of or condescended to.
Also, my parents, because they feel afraid of their own sorrow, find it hard to allow it in their children. They felt completely powerless and distressed if I was inconsolably sad as a child. They hugged and ‘comforted’ me at the first sign of tears. So little me, instead of getting the message, ‘Its OK to have a good cry, you can handle it and in fact you will feel a whole lot better when you do. Just come and see us when you’re done’ came to believe ‘Crying is scary, I need someone with me, I can’t cope with my emotions’
So, all of these early messages about emotion, have resulted in me have never having had the experience of just submitting to big emotions and the entire process is now shrouded in fear. I now feel weak, crazy, out of control and like I can’t cope when I have large emotions.
So what do I do?
Understanding all of these early messages helps me see my blocks a little more clearly.
I can feel frustrated that my parents didn’t encourage my tears but that doesn’t get me anywhere. They have their own fears and blocks to work through and blaming them and being a victim still doesn’t release the blocks that are now a part of me.
However connecting to the pain of these early memories and releasing it, reduces and eliminates my fear of those things happening again. If I have grieved being judged for being expressive and emotional I will no longer fear it. I will have worked through the emotion and know that feeling myself is worth it and if people try to make me feel small for crying it won’t effect me.
I can also enlist the help of my intellect to help me begin to challenge the false beliefs. One of the problems I have and see many people having is that we tend to ‘live in’ the emotion; we keep resisting the feeling of it and instead tell it to ourselves as a truth. I can remind myself that the feeling ‘I can’t cope’ is not the Truth, it is JUST AN EMOTION.
In fact the only way I am going to release this block is to stop believing it is the truth. The Truth is actually that;
– God created me to cope with all of my emotions.
– That when I feel everything I am actually most connected to myself and therefore the most in control.
– That its not crazy to feel the emotions that are already there inside of me
When I live in the feeling ‘I can’t cope’ I actually use it as a way to control my feelings, the other alternative is to experience ‘I can’t cope’ as an expression of grief. This is the key to releasing the block.
For example yesterday when I was writing my first ever blog post I was full of fear. I was sitting at the computer typing away and every now and then I would be hit by huge feelings of terror of exposure and rejection and I would begin to feel ‘I can’t cope’. At that point I would go rigid, get up from the computer and go and do something else. My experience of ‘I can’t cope’ was almost angry; I was telling it to myself as a truth and it was a way to control my feelings.
If I had been releasing my block, I would have been typing away, felt overwhelmed and softened. I would have sat and sobbed out all of the feelings of ‘I’m just not up to this, this is all too much, I feel like I can’t cope’. My block would have been released from me as an expression of grief.
Have a great week everyone. I’ll be back sometime to finish my musing on surrender!
These days Yeshua and I are enjoying the beginning of learning teams, listening and watching as some of you express and step into desire and we’re busy planning trips in the coming months. The autumn days are full of spectacular light and I’m feeling a quiet joy at just being together and loving God.
Blessings to you,
That's really helpful Mary…Thank youLove Suz
"Experience the grief of not being able to cope with the emotion." I like that and it makes a lot of sense. Thank you Mary for your beautiful posting.Lawrence Bakur
ahh, thanks Mary. i've been pondering about my emotional blocks and why i'm so resistant to feeling, and got guided to read this particular post. it connected me deeply to a childhood experience, which has caused me to fear expressing emotion, because i'll be growled at and threatened by my father.