In part one of this four week series on the power of emotion, I talked about some of the benefits I’ve experienced from focusing on my emotions. One of them was how doing so helped me to grow in my understanding of myself.
So today, I would like to share with you the why behind this, why focusing on my emotions and growing in my understanding of myself was (and is) such a powerful aid in my own eating disorder recovery.
Before I go on though, let me clarify that when I talk about emotions, I’m talking about emotion as a vibration. I’m not talking about emotion as a thought or a label, but as a felt sensation in the body.
If this doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry. I didn’t always look at emotion as vibration. When I started to though, my view of myself expanded, I started to be able to allow difficult or challenging emotions instead of resisting them, and I began to trust myself on a much deeper level.
For someone with an eating disorder, these are huge accomplishments! And, most importantly I might add, very, very possible for anyone.
I sat in a chair in a small, dark room. The room wasn’t pitch black but was softly lit by a single lamp. I had joined a mindfulness meditation group and this is where it began.
I heard the statement, “We are not physical beings but rather we are vibrational beings having a physical experience.”
Of course, I’d heard this a million times before but this was the first time I’d heard the word vibrational used instead of spiritual. It resonated.
I never could relate to being a spiritual entity. There was too much political and dogmatic baggage tied to the word spiritual for me. But a vibrational being? This was who I was. I could definitely wrap my head around that.
This idea of being vibrational suggested that everything is energy and that you can sense the vibration of all things, that you can communicate via these vibrations. This intrigued me to no end.
A Breath Of Fresh Air
I’d spent years trapped in an anxious and equally depressed mind and in a body that felt so foreign to me that I struggled to find comfort. This idea that there might be something else going on in the world around me, something that I couldn’t see with my own eyes, sparked my curiosity and gave me hope.
Whatever I was feeling, maybe there was a reason for it, maybe there was more to the story, and maybe I wasn’t the fault of every seemingly bad thing that was happening in my life. Maybe, just maybe…
In the fortress that was my mind, an eating-disordered mind that typically sees situations in black and white and all-or-nothing, a crack had surfaced.
I thought I’d known. But now, all that I thought I’d known about myself wasn’t necessarily true and a world of possibility stood before me giving new ways of understanding myself.
So here I was, standing at the edge of a brand new city, so to speak, ready to enter, and I didn’t know how to speak the language.
It was not an easy transition.
The language was emotion, emotion of a vibrational nature, and my outer skin was so thick and tough that I couldn’t feel anything. I felt lost. Everything felt dark. I wondered how I would survive here. Maybe it wasn’t even a good idea that I was here. I thought of turning back a million times.
But I began having teeny, tiny little experiences of feeling and those were enough to keep me interested in the greater exploration of understanding myself. I couldn’t leave.
Learning A New Language
The pull to understand and learn this new language was so strong. But, it was hard! I had no translator.
Imagine visiting a foreign city all on your own and trying to live and navigate your way through it without knowing how to communicate in the native language. It would feel frustrating. Scary. It would probably feel pretty lonely too.
Well, that’s exactly how it felt to me. I felt frustrated, scared, often angry. And I felt incredibly alone.
But I also knew what I was up against. Learning a new language isn’t easy. It wasn’t going to happen overnight. So I kept plodding away.
Knowing that I could no longer make assumptions about the reason for my emotions and feelings, I only had one option. I had to stay with them, the emotions. And I needed to constantly remind myself that I couldn’t rely on my old ways of interpreting what I felt. I had to listen and be open to new meaning. I couldn’t translate this new language based on an old understanding of myself.
And so, over time (I’m talking years), I began to find meaning in the emotions and sensations that I experienced. I eventually was able to accept and tolerate the feelings and emotions that I normally would have recoiled from in my eating disordered past.
And this ability to accept and allow what I was feeling offered me a freedom I had only once dreamed of. It was liberating!
The Last Step
After learning this new language of emotion, my language of emotion, I had to start using it. It was time to build relationships.
I lacked confidence. I held back. And I certainly didn’t trust this new language of mine.
But, one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is that action brings clarity. The more I began to speak in this new language of mine, the more I was able to trust its reliability. I was able to trust myself.
So, here I was, having lived with an eating disorder for 20-plus years, and I could feel the binding ties, the relentless urges, falling away.
Learning to tap into the power of my emotions has helped me tremendously in understanding myself. My view of myself has expanded. I don’t blame myself for every little misstep. I can accept and tolerate emotions that I once wouldn’t even look at. I’m more resilient. And, I trust myself.
It’s not over though. The journey continues. It will continue for as long as I live. But I know how to communicate with myself, I understand myself way more than I ever have, and by not giving up I continue to become even more fluent in this wonderful language of emotion.
Please join me next week for part three of this four week series on the power of emotion where I share some of my own story about how delving into my emotional nature has helped me find myself and find freedom from my own eating disorder.
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