I’ve recently been going through a transition in my life. For four years my life revolved around a super intense job, moving at 120 MPH with hardly any space to breath; before I had the courage to hit the nail on the head, and take some time out.
At first, it was liberating. I got to sleep in past 4:30am and I didn’t really have to tend to anybody but myself. I had the energy to workout, and I could eat fresh meals every day – It was dreamy. Once the ‘honeymoon’ phase of this new found freedom started to fizzle out; the feeling of dread, doubt, and sadness slowly crept in.
I couldn’t quite understand why I was feeling like this. I had the time to do all of the things I loved AND I was making pretty good money, but something was missing.
I plastered a smile across my face for a few weeks and when somebody asked ‘How’s life?’, I would enthusiastically reply ‘Better than ever thanks’, with this dim feeling of guilt rushing through me.
One Tuesday morning, I woke up (reluctantly), made my bed, looked myself in the mirror and cried. I cried and cried for hours. I let my emotions flow, and I allowed myself to feel a deep sadness. I usually would have wiped my tears after a few minutes and never spoken a word to anybody; but instead, I called my boyfriend and cried. I called my manager and cried. I called my friend and cried; and each person I opened up to, I would feel the weight on my shoulders getting lighter and lighter.
By allowing myself to cry, and offloading to my closest circle, I was able to receive advice, gain other perspectives, and come up with a plan on how to move forward feeling more fulfilled.
In the past, this would have been oh-so-different.
When I was growing up, I was the ‘agony aunt’ of the group. I was always ‘the happy one who gives great advice’, but when it came to my own problems I would brush them off, put them to the back of my mind and move on.
A series of events happened in my teens, which I didn’t feel able to speak to ANYBODY about. I was deeply hurt, but because I was the strong, bubbly, independent woman that I was; I wore a big smile and got over it (well I thought I did). It just so happened that under a year on, I began to develop anorexia and depression.
Now, I don’t think the events themselves were the fuel for my eating disorder; instead, my inability to speak up about how I was feeling, or allowing myself to cry the rivers which I so deeply wanted to. By not dealing with the pain as it arose, I pushed it to the back of my mind, not realizing it would later come back to haunt me.
The old phrase ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ speaks so much truth. The more you begin to share your feelings instead of masking them behind a smile, the easier it is to free space in your mind for things which can propel you forward.
So please beautiful girl, stop wearing a fake smile to please the world, start honing in on your emotions; cry, scream, offload, do whatever you need to do. Set yourself free from the idea that problems and emotions take from your strength.
You’re not weak if you cry. surrendering to your emotions breeds so much strength.