When I was younger, I often found it hard to behave how I wanted to behave, and I was often described as being ‘shy’. This was something my mother would say, and there were moments when other people would say the same thing.
During this time in my life, my emotions were frequently out of control and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t realise this at the time, though, as I would just end up feeling overwhelmed; I didn’t really know what emotions were at this stage of my life.
But even though I was seen in this way and I had all this stuff going on within me, I wasn’t willing to accept this description. So, while I didn’t know what was going on, I did know that this wasn’t a reflection of who I really was.
There were plenty of people around at this time who were happy to label me, but there were very few people who were willing to take the time to understand me. In a way, it was as though there was part of me that was strong and confident, and this part was being overshadowed by the part of me that wasn’t.
As The Years Went By
A few years after I finished school, I started to look into psychology and to see if I could find anything that would help me. At this point in my life, I believed that if I could increase my confidence everything would be fine.
I started reading books on self-development, and this had a positive effect on my behaviour, at least in the short-term. This was a time when I focused on my thoughts and behaviour, and I used affirmations and positive thinking.
The Same Outlook
I came to see my emotions as the problem, and believed that I needed to get rid of them. The techniques that I picked up in these books were then a way for me to keep my emotions at bay.
The way I treated my emotions was then very similar to how my parents treated this part of me when I was younger. Due to their own inability to deal with their own emotions, they were unable to show me how to deal with mine, and this meant that I also tried to suppress my emotions.
I soon realised that these techniques and tools were not cutting it; if anything, they were just a way for me to avoid my feelings. I thought that I was making progress; when in reality, I was simply avoiding myself.
Ultimately, I wasn’t ready to face what was going on within me, and I was supplied with a number of ways to avoid myself through reading these books. This was also a time in my life when I believed that it was all about adding things, as opposed to taking things away.
Thus, although I thought that I was ‘developing’ myself, I had simply found a way to decorate the false-self that I had created. I was then still living on the surface of myself, but I could tell myself that I was making progress.
It wouldn’t be right to say that this was all a waste of time, as this allowed me to gradually see what I needed to do. A number of years after this, I came to see that it wasn’t that I just lacked confidence; it was far more severe than that.
The reason I lacked confidence and my emotions were out of control, came down to the fact that I was abused and neglected as a child. Saying affirmations, thinking positive, and changing my behaviour, for instance, was not what I needed.
I didn’t need to add anything; I needed to face what was within me and to work through the layers of pain. Taking this approach was painful in the short-term, but it allowed me to settle down over time and to connect to my true-self.