This past week, I’ve been struggling with health issues in regards to my stomach and digestive system. Last week was my third week of acupuncture treatments and I suddenly started feeling much worse then I did before I started.
And now, when I say that I was feeling worse doesn’t mean that it was simply just physically — but I also felt terrible emotionally. For the first time in a very long time I spent a good few days being in this deep melancholy/depressed state where I had little drive and energy to do anything. I just felt really down, but yet I couldn’t get myself to cry.
It was a weird experience because, upon reflection, I feel like I haven’t felt quite like that since maybe around high school age. So, perhaps, the acupuncture triggered some old emotions to resurface from that age in order to be healed — hence, why I was feeling the exact way that I did around that time.
So I took the time to really stop, get out a journal and ask myself what on earth I felt so down and depressed about.
As I started writing, I realized that the reason I was so down was because I felt like I had no emotional support. I felt like I was all alone in trying to heal these digestive issues and I had only myself to rely on and trust.
The second those words came out on paper I finally started crying.
Once I let most of the tears out that needed to come out, I then asked myself with a clear mind the question of: At this point in time, is that actually true?
Well, yes it was true that I wasn’t feeling fully supported. But, then again, how could I feel emotionally supported by others if I wasn’t reaching out to them in the moments when I really needed it?
I feel like many of us struggle with this in various periods of our life — some, perhaps, more than others depending on our upbringing. For some reason it’s always easier to “give” than to really “receive” and allow ourselves to enjoy and be grateful when we do receive the very thing that we’ve been needing so badly.
That’s the irony of us recovering people pleasers — we feel like we are constantly “giving” and that we rarely “receive” but we never actually allow ourselves to receive
So here are some steps to help you receive the support you know you deserve:
1. Recognize how you’re feeling.
Pay attention to how your body feels, your energy level, your mental clarity, and so on. Is it easy for you to focus on tasks today and get work done or do you feel like you’re needing to push yourself through? If you’re feeling like you really need to “push” yourself to get things going then chances are you’re doing to much. Are you feeling sick or just really tired? Then your body is probably telling you to slow down.
2. Take a break.
Cancel your plans after work, don’t go to that extra meeting after class, or postpone those errands you have to run just for a little bit. Turn off your phone, your computer, your TV, and anything else that can distract you and just take that time for you.
Get out a journal and just write. If you find yourself struggling to get yourself in the flow, then set a timer on your phone (after you’ve turned on the “Do Not Disturb” of course!) for at least 30 minutes — preferably an hour.
Try not to think too much about what your writing. Just write down any thoughts that come up as they arise. Make it a goal that every single thought that crosses your mind needs to come out on paper. The more you focus on that goal, the easier it will be to get things flowing.
4. Identify your needs.
As you get into the flow of writing down all of these thoughts that are lingering in your mind, pay attention to how it feels to write all of these thoughts down. Does something make you feel sad? Angry? Anxious?
After you recognize that feeling, close your eyes look within and ask that feeling (and yes, in second person): What do you really want? What is going to make you feel better? What do you need to receive that you haven’t been?
Whatever it is that you realized you need, go out and do it for yourself. If it’s simply a break, then do that. If it’s to allow yourself to actually enjoy reading a book or watching a movie, then do it. If it’s to feel some emotional support by a loved one, then go ahead and reach out to someone you can trust who you know will be there.
(*Note: If you do feel that you need emotional support but others are reflecting back to you that it’s too much of a burden for them or if you simply don’t feel like you have anyone that you can reach out to, then please contact either a coach or therapist who you trust. Clearly, something within you needs that emotional support to heal, so reach out. Even if your mind is trying to tell you that what your going through is “not a big deal” or “that’s too expensive. Your emotions are valid — and they deserve the space to heal and people are more willing to help then we often think. We just have to be willing to ask.)
Now, as for me, in the very moment that I realized I wasn’t allowing myself to receive I immediately contacted a friend to simply let all my struggles known. I gave myself the space to simply “vent” for a bit and then be grateful that this friend openly welcomed me to share and provided the support I really needed. It helped one part of this thing heal a bit — now I have many more to go.
Take action now!
Go through the 5 steps sometime during the day today. After you go through them all, share in the comments below what you realized you truly need.