Emotional Self-Care

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After leaving my therapy session this week, I was thinking about all of the emotions I’ve been processing over the past year. I also started to think about the oh so common question that we ask each other; “what have you been up to?” As I get older, my goal has been to answer this question from a truthful and open place, instead of just giving an automatic response. I do this in an effort to live MY LIFE’S KALEIDOSCOPE, not just write about it. For today, and in this moment of writing this entry, my answer to the question of, “what have you been up to?” is that I am being a responsible adult… and sometimes it really sucks. I’m being responsible to myself by taking care of my emotional well-being. Some days it looks like me isolating myself at home and watching as much TV as I can. Some days it looks like me consciously avoiding the emotions that exist for me with sex. Some days it’s me spending time with close friends that I can share myself with. And right now, it looks like me having a weekly therapy appointment where I can be a custodian to my own emotional needs.

I know that I am an emotional caretaker to others and that is a position I have held from a very young age. At that time, it wasn’t something that I sought out to be. There were certain life circumstances that were happening in my family at the time and it was something that I became out of survival. What I have learned is that in being an emotional caretaker to others, I can often neglect myself. After all, if I were taking care of someone else emotionally, how would they be able to respond to the emotional needs that I have? I don’t write this from a place of martyrdom, I do so to represent from myself, what I am sure is a shared experience to anyone who reads this. We all have a place within us where we sacrifice ourselves for another and by doing so we lose the vulnerability to reach out when we ourselves need help.

I had recently shared with a friend that I was going to start going back to therapy to work on some things for myself and he was glad to hear that for me because he had noticed that there was something going on with me. He didn’t know what exactly and felt that when I was ready to share it with him, I would. I thought about what he said for a few days and the next time I saw him I brought it up again. I wanted to know how he was able to tell that something was off with me. I thought that I had gotten pretty good at disguising my sorrow for others to see, especially those close to me. His reply was that it shows in my eyes. I shared this with my roommate, whom I’ve known for almost 9 years and also used to date years ago. His response was that when I am upset or sad, it’s when my “true Gemini shows”. He also said; “ it’s as if someone took the sun out of the sky.”  When I am low, I am very low and unfortunately, I have learned to keep that to myself. Why do I do it? Because I’m afraid that my most vulnerable self will not find the support it needs from whomever I choose to reach out to. It was a behavior that I learned at a young age, without even knowing what it meant. And now I am working to change that for myself.

There has been a longing developing inside of me for some time now, a longing for a more vulnerable and open connection with certain family members, as well as friends. As well as a longing to express my whole emotional self with the next man I am in a relationship with. I know that my capacity to give love is greater than I’ve been living, and I have been afraid to fully do that because I’ve not trusted that it would be honored. And by limiting how I love, I am limiting how I receive the love that is being given to me. I am well acquainted with how it feels to limit my emotional expression to others. It’s isolating, saddening and goes against who I know I truly am. I have begun a journey to put myself at the top of my care taking list, and that will include extending myself emotionally in ways that aren’t always comfortable to me. Some people in my life may not respond so well to this and I might have to distance myself from them if that is the case, but it will be what is needed for me. What I’d like for you to know is that, by me extending who I am to you, I’m making space for you to do the same. I would never ask of someone something I was not willing to ask of myself.

May this find you in good health and spirits. :) 

Antuan RaimoneComment