09 Feb Cry-baby: Seeking emotional stability
I was known as the crybaby of the family so much so that it earned me the nickname “cry-baby,” and I hated it. My feelings were hurt, but I never learned how to effectively communicate that, so I resorted to yelling or using my hands as a way to show my disdain for the teasing. After years of being bullied, I stopped crying. When I was hurt, I never showed or told anyone; My moods switched to autopilot, and I was on a consistent false ok. I found out later that this wasn’t healthy. I was killing myself – burying my feelings inside only to find out that they were resurfacing in other areas of my life. I didn’t know how to talk about my feelings, so I didn’t, and this inevitably led to a deep depression which took me years to overcome.
The truth is I still struggle with showing emotions, but I have my moments – away from the world, away from people, in my room, alone- where no one can see me – where no one can point their finger and laugh at me, where no one can recall my tears because I don’t want anyone to remember me in pain and use it against me. I’ve become numb to the pain. I’ve learned to move on automatic, never coming up for air, never stopping to feel, never stopping to refuel. I’m running on empty. My past continues to haunt me in my adult-life but if you’re like me, you don’t want to be held hostage anymore, so you find that you have to unlearn some things you were taught, deprogram yourself, forgive those who hurt you and begin to download new information into your brain which allows you to break out of the chains that have held you hostage for so many years.
I’ve also learned that because I was emotionally unstable as a child, I undervalued myself. You may not think this is correlated, but let me explain. Think about every situation you thought you were being strong in and tell me if you now think that you were being stupid (not to offend you) or if you were being strong. I used to think that I was strong until I actually became strong. I look back and I think about some decisions I’ve made – what was I thinking? There are some things that we’ve been conditioned to believe makes us strong – like staying with a man who cheats. Now, I’m not saying staying makes you weak, but it also depends on who you’re talking to. It’s all about perspective. You might say that staying and dealing with his/her mess makes you strong because many of us couldn’t and wouldn’t. Others might think that you’re being weak because you don’t think you deserve better – you’ve become numb to the pain, you’ve invest all of these years, so you stay for the sake of not being alone. You’re on autopilot. You’re in constant pain, but you don’t have the words or the strength to verbalize it.
The point of this story is to show you how being bullied as a child affected my ability to show emotion, not towards others, but towards myself and because of this, I ignorantly associated crying with being weak thus, allowing me to make many decisions that did not meet God’s standards for my life.
The truth is many of us are only doing what we were taught. I learned to stop crying – “you’re so sensitive” is what they said to me. What makes being sensitive weak? In fact, we’re created to be sensitive – God what do you want me to do with alls of these senses that you so freely gave to me? I’m sure he’d want me to use them. You know He’s not a God Who likes to waste. Try having that conversation with God and watch him correct, renew, and transform you into the person He has called you to be.
I hope this admission will help others be free. Identify the areas in your life that have held you back, where you’ve allowed the pain of your past to take root and grow, where you’ve allowed the smell of defeat to fester, where you’ve allowed people who are no longer in your life to still have control over your daily actions. It’s time to clean house, to remove the unstable foundation that was laid by people who did not know who God created you to be, to cut off every branch that has been and continues to be unfruitful, and to lay a firm foundation on a rock that cannot be broken.
Are we really being strong if we aren’t conquering our weaknesses? Are we really being strong if we aren’t identifying which areas we’re weak in and working to build strength? Are we really strong? We’ve all been asked the question – what are your strengths and weaknesses. Instead of waiting for someone to ask you the question in an interview, try asking yourself the question first, and apply the question to all areas of your life, not just to your professional life. Next, TAKE ACTION. Work to improve every area, not just the weak areas, but even the strong areas. God has called you to be excellent, and He’s not giving up until You’ve become all that you were created to be.
Be blessed. Be strong. Be sensitive.