“We don’t see things as they are. We see things as we are.” ~Anais Nin
When I was young, I used to stare out into the big, blue sky and ask, “Is this really the right place?” “Did they drop me off on the wrong planet?” I wondered.
It felt like I didn’t fit in or belong. For others, things were so much simpler. While they moved with ease through pain, I felt like an arrow in my heart whenever a loved one was experiencing pain or was facing a difficult situation.
The suffering was all around me when I looked. Because of my extreme sensibility, I didn’t just watch but I participated in the suffering. I felt guilty at that time for my emotions. I didn’t know that about 20 percent of the population is highly sensitive and that it’s a trait filled with gifts as well as deep feelings.
As my family was struggling, I looked around quietly. When my mother felt fearful, I felt a deep sense of sensitivity. I watched the news and thought, “Look at all the horrible things happening out there.” Everything I saw and felt reflected back to me what I decided was true as a child: the world isn’t a safe or good place.
I was in my early years when I started worrying about people and things. Life was full of the worst-case scenarios and I found myself engulfed in what-ifs.
I didn’t realize at the time that thinking was my way out of feeling my feelings. The feeling of pain was so overwhelming that I didn’t allow it to touch me. Instead I used my mind to manage the situation. I didn’t wait and see how things would unfold; I began making negative conclusions so that I could feel safe. If I already knew it was bad, I wouldn’t be shocked when horrible things happened.
To save other people, I assumed the role of helper. These people were so in pain. I believed that if they weren’t suffering, I wouldn’t suffer and could finally live. It was because I could connect to their pain and hold it. I believed that I was stronger than them.
Since I was in a constant state of overwhelm, my nervous system was on overdrive to protect me from all the thoughts and perceptions I’d adopted about life. Years later, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease and saw firsthand the way years of stressing, living in my head, and avoiding my emotions impacted my health.
It was then that I realized all of my suffering was my fault. A painful diagnosis about a loved one brought me to a point of clarity. My reaction to the news was filled with so much pain and fear that I sensed it wasn’t about the circumstances at all.
It was all about me. It was about me. Helping them was what I needed to feel secure. Believe that my pain was caused by them and their hardships.
It was true that I was experiencing a lot pain and it had nothing to do my actions. It was much easier to save others than focus on myself, so I chose my superwoman cape.
In those days, I did not know anything about myself or my goals. I’d been hiding behind the mask of “perfect helper” so I didn’t have to acknowledge that I was struggling with my identity and purpose and commit to the work of discovering and embracing my true self.
This sudden realization made me realize that there had to be another way of seeing life. My guard was too low to allow me to feel. The emotions erupted like a volcano.
A little closer, I saw the golden door hidden beneath my dark emotions. The only way to get in was by swimming through the water. The deep-rooted, unconditional love that I feel for all people around me was sent inwardly to those who needed it the most.
My first coaching job was the way I achieved this. It was the first time I’d ever invested in myself for the sole purpose of loving and caring for myself. It wasn’t to change the way I looked, to earn more money, to gain a relationship; it was for my heart and soul. To be heard, to get love and shine light onto the mess I was trapped in.
I knew that life could be filled with laughter, joy, and confidence if I started focusing more on my own issues and needs than everyone else’s. I was willing to lift the weight of the entire world from my shoulders. It was an exciting life filled with romance and adventure. I wanted peace of my mind.
I realized that I believed my entire life could be mine. I was able to hold the reins and knew that I was capable of achieving whatever I desired.
My fears, worries, and doubts were also within me and I realized that they could be changed.
That golden door began to feel closer each day as I empowered myself with love and awareness, swam through the waters of pain, and challenged two limiting beliefs—that I needed approval from others to be safe and needed to appear perfect and strong to be worthy.
It was clear to me that my body was on constant guard, trying to shield me from my worries. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between actual danger and perceived danger. My nervous system was constantly thinking of negative or fearful thoughts and was heightened in the event that I had to fight. Breathing, yoga and exercise helped my nervous system to calm down and be neutralized.
I stopped fighting my anxiety and worry addictions and began to practice self-love and compassion. I accepted my feelings, and then invited others to join me for tea. While it was frightening and difficult, I realized that with the right support, my life events were occurring for me.
Unknowns will always exist in this life. Instead of trying to control or fear them, I learned how to accept them and that everything was good for my highest good. I found that all of the problems were the best catalysts for my personal growth. Instead of seeing life as either good or evil, I saw them all as one experience.
The trust and love weren’t hard to find, they were within me. As everything you need right now, so is everything. The difference was my focus and perspective—instead of leaning on fear and worry and trying to fix and change the world, I began to slow down and let go of the illusion of control.
To put myself first, and to see myself as a whole person meant that I had to look at all the pieces and say “I love it all!” It all is mine! It is all my trust!
As I reflect on my life and how it all came about, I find myself in wonder at the beauty and magic that surrounds me. It is in my daughter’s bright eyes, the warm hug of friend, the sound of the waves crashing on the beach. Now I can see the truth that was hiding from me in my constant fear.
My life has been made easier by the unending love and support I have shown to myself.
It doesn’t matter what life throws at me, I can always look out for my best interests. Instead of trying to hide or judge myself, I listen to my feelings and respect what is happening.
Awakening is the first step in any major change. Magic can occur when you embrace your awareness with love arms.
If you feel like you are overwhelmed by all the suffering around you, and you think that you have to manage it in order to stay safe, then shift your attention back towards yourself. Trust that both the dark and light serve a purpose—for all of us—so you don’t need to save or fix anyone else. Just take care of you, respect your personal needs and believe that with self-love and strength, it is possible to handle anything.
Orly is an Intuitive Lifestyle Coach and Author. For the sensitive soul who struggles to find their gift, she offers support. Her one-on-1 programs allow others to connect with what is, release their blockages and reconnect with their intuitive to find peace. Visit her virtual home for tools, to schedule a free session, and follow her on Instagram.
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Tiny Buddha published the post How I stopped Worrying all the Time and started Feeling Good About My Life first.