As I read the title of today's lesson, I thought we were going to discuss how we should become more in tune with the feelings of other people. (I thought it made sense, since we are dealing largely with the subject of loving other people.) Turns out, the lesson was about realizing and dealing with our own feelings.
There was a sentence in this lesson that I had to re-read a couple of times, just because I could relate and I felt like it was popping out at me:
"If you don't see the importance of expressing and dealing with your feelings, those feelings can end up controlling your life." (105)
I have a hard habit of trying to hide my true feelings from other people. Look at any of my past entries and you'll find that I do it all the time...
But when I read the aforementioned sentence I was thinking about a specific example:
The first week after Nathan left I felt like I was in a daze. I was trying so hard to be strong for my kids so they wouldn't know there was anything to be sad about, for my friends so they felt like they had someone they could lean on, and for my family so they wouldn't think there was any reason to worry about me. I was trying so hard to appear happy and well-adjusted to everyone else that I was denying to myself what I really felt...sad, lonely, a little scared. I mentioned in a previous blog that the inner-emotions I wouldn't express outwardly were showing up in different ways--reaping havoc on my sleep schedule and causing physical stress on my body that led to severe breakouts, more lack of sleep, and additional medical ailments. I kept thinking to myself, "I just need to cry. If I can just have one good cry, it will get better."
Eventually, I did cry. I was at a MOPS meeting in front of a whole group of ladies I had only met twice before, and I missed my first phone call from Nathan once he had made it to the FOB. I sobbed openly. And while I felt ashamed that I broken down in front of so many people, I was beyond the point of caring what other people thought of me.
About thirty minutes after that I was loading the kids back into the car to go back home and Nathan called us again. I was so excited (because I knew it must be him) that I fat-fingered the 'ignore' button when I was trying to get my phone out of my purse. I cried again--and this time in front of my kids. It was something I was so terrified to do before, but I just couldn't contain my disappointment for having missed him twice! To my surprise, my kids did not break down along with me. Actually, they were very sympathetic toward me. And an added bonus came when we were able to make Mommy's breakdown a teachable moment. My kids now know that sometimes Mommy cries because she misses Daddy and it is okay to miss someone that you love. Then, we were able to talk about Daddy being gone and how we can make ourselves feel better when we miss him.
Nathan was able to call one more time that day...that time we all got to talk to him :)
I still have a lot of work to do when it comes to harboring my emotions. I still miss my husband, but I am dealing with it a little better every day. Unfortunately, repressing my feelings in the beginning had already taken its toll, so I am still working on fixing my sleep patterns and clearing my face. Thankfully my cold (not sure exactly what it was?) and my other medical issue have subsided.
I really do understand now that not dealing with my emotions was not the right answer, and I am ready to get back control of my life---or at least my body!!!