It is a deeply intense process, unlearning the selves we think we are. The identities we have accumulated over the entire course of our lives. Even if those identities include many positive qualities and strengths, they still exist on a surface level. They were labels handed to us by our parents, teachers, social peers, and ultimately ourselves. Think of that last powerful scene in the classic 80’s teen movie “The Breakfast Club” (ugh, I can’t believe I had to even explain what that film is but whatever). The scene where the narrator is labeling each kid in detention. Each kid had a role, and it was discovered throughout the movie that none of them wanted them. Even the pretty and popular ones hated the boxes they were assigned to. It’s natural for us to start to work towards fitting into our designated boxes. We are given identities and roles so early on, so it’s almost confusing to abandon those ideas, even if they don’t quite make sense to our young souls. Who are we without them? After all, grown ups know better. They must know something we don’t. We want to please people so much, and living up to other people’s ideas of who we need to be is a great way for us to gain their approval. As we get older ourselves, and these assigned roles have hijacked our true natures altogether, leaving us seemingly bereft of plot, we become trapped in this endless cycle of false identity accumulation. A huge reason for this is that our bodies and minds have become emotionally and physiologically addicted to certain thoughts, behaviors, emotions, and reactions. That is where the prison is built. And why we do often have that feeling of “I wish I could stop thinking about this or doing this but I just can’t”. You feel trapped in your own bullshit because you actually are. I have experienced this many times. Where I’ve pleaded with myself to just stop whatever it was that was weighing me down, and I just wasn’t able to. Until we learn about what emotional addiction really is, and how it conspires with the brain to perpetuate our pain and poor choices, it is almost impossible to live a healthy life. I have learned so much from The Holistic Psychologist on Instagram. Her name is Dr Nicole LaPera and she is an absolute game changer. She explains in very user friendly terminology about why we are so messed up, and more importantly, HOW WE CAN A THOUSAND PERCENT HEAL OURSELVES. No one has to be stuck, but know this; no one is coming to save you either. This is work no one can do for you. It’s not possible. No one has access to your insides. Only you know the ingrained depths of your own painful neurotic reactivity. Only you can chart the same unhealthy, self destructive patterning and conditioning that has taken up residence in your human. Please look up this account, I promise you’ll learn so much. There are so many keys to freedom and wellbeing but you have to get them yourself.
I recently saw a friend who was painfully recounting the same thing she’s been stuck on for as long as I’ve knew her. I am certain she wants out of this thought pattern, she’s told me so. She knows the actions of this other person are why they are, and why they don’t pertain to her. But she couldn’t stop the mental and emotional runaway train. This is where we remain stuck. And where we carry so much shame for re-enacting our own crap. We are embarrassed and unaligned. There is an added layer of pain in our shitty choices. Betraying ourselves hurts deep. As the hole gets larger, the need to cling to those outer identities increases. As our insides don’t feel so great, the need to pretend the outsides are ok multiplies. “I’m ok” is one of the most irksome phrases. Life is never just one thing at a time, so how can we sum up our current state with two little letters?? It’s usually a lie we tell ourselves and others. It’s the most convenient answer. Ten minutes before my friend was trapped in her emotional addiction she told me she was “ok”. Emotional addiction is a real thing almost everyone has. All of us have patterning we feel helpless to stop. Pain we feel powerless to. Well, that’s the force of any kind of addiction. We have become powerless out of habit. As always, the shitty stuff wins because of the longevity factor. It’s just so freaking familiar. It’s what we know, so there’s a perverse mental message involved; I know this is going to hurt but at least there’s predictability. I am safe because I know the outcome. This is one of the functions of the ego mind; to keep you safe in the most messed up ways since it’s all it knows. Read that again. As I was reading about emotional addiction and the brain chemical reaction involved, my own patterning flew up in my face. None of this was new to me, since I have made untangling myself a massive project the past few years, but I did see certain things from a new angle. I finally saw what others have told me but that I hadn’t yet internalized on my own. The patterning I’m referring to has to do with my assigned role in romantic relationships. The role given to me by both myself and others, which no doubt stems from my earliest childhood bonding experience. For the record, some of the most unaware, unconscious people I know have terrific, loving relationships with their parents. They’re just as lost, if not more so, since they were put on this illusionary pedestal. Point being, there are no rules here. No formula for emotional health. I think it’s par for the course for it to be the Wild West in each of our minds just so that we can lasso the shit out of the horses fleeing in all different directions. It has to first be anarchy for us to gain control. Control leads to tranquility. Ease. Calm. How great that our sense of safety and prediction can rest in a healthy, loving space? That’s where the heart trumps ego mind; when we can belly crawl to the place where our heart tells us we are safe because we are resting in loving awareness, instead of false safety due to predicting and anticipation of fear. I have been living in a fear based role my whole life. One that was built on me sitting, waiting, hoping, yearning, and longing for love, approval, recognition, and validation. Waiting to be good enough to be seen and chosen. I don’t like writing about this publicly. It’s not comfortable to expose myself like this. But that’s what I have committed to here and in my life in general; sharing and connection.
Here’s what I realized recently; the ingrained habits and cycles of yearning and longing actually truly no longer apply. My life is different. My choices are endless, my directions determined by me alone. Not in a lofty, abstract way but in actual reality. I kind of knew that but my emotional addiction to that miserable ache crept in constantly. It’s all I’ve known, and so it subconsciously told me my role is to wait. Pain is normal. Yearning is just what we do. I sat with this for awhile and I made a mental list, meticulously separating old facts from new. With discipline I will have to keep doing this until new habits form. I realized all the love, aliveness, passion, connection, expression, and freedom that I’ve been starving for is all around me. It surrounds me because I have worked so hard to awaken and uncover the purity that was hidden under too many veils to count. It’s in me and so I am in it. I literally felt the connection to the air, both my breath and the breeze on my skin as I learned even more about myself, on my porch on Friday afternoon. This is what it means to awaken. To find a new path that leaves behind old suffering. There is simply nothing in my current state that belongs with old mental habits. The emotional addictions have really become obsolete. I haven’t eaten meat or chicken in two years, so why would I look at chicken dishes on a menu? It’s simply no longer applicable or relevant. I’m not interested in those former choices, and my new brain cells don’t want them either. The old thoughts pop up constantly, that doesn’t go away so fast. But I’m so on top of them. Over and over I will see them, honor them, and choose differently until I form new and improved ways of thinking and feeling. If emotions are reactions to our thoughts, then I will train myself to become addicted to a whole new set of wonderful, loving mental and emotional patterns. The ones we were born to have. This takes consistency and commitment; to catch yourself time and again. But I’d rather choose that than to fall further into the old traps that never served me. As Eckhart Tolle says, “suffering is only necessary until you realize it is unnecessary”. I thank Source for giving me the time and space that has allowed me to come to these realizations. There is no right romantic relationship until this happens first. New love becomes old love very quickly unless we give ourselves a total makeover emotionally. And I’ve never been one for a shitty paint job to cover things up. Nah, I’d rather bulldoze the whole damn thing and rebuild. A new structure needs a new foundation. Rebuild or wait for things to crumble again. It’s your choice to get out of your own way or not.