I don’t just have feelings—I have a hell of a lot of them.
I have so many, I sometimes wonder if people can see right through me and think, “Whoa, what’s going on in there? Someone call the fire brigade!”
I consider myself to be a highly sensitive person, yet I am also a thrill seeker and like to live on the edge. This doesn’t always make for an ideal combination, though it makes for a pretty fascinating life. It makes for a life that I feel I won’t have any regrets about.
And that’s what I’d like to share here: how we can be super emotional and live a life full of fireworks—because this is what I believe it means to fully live.
I care about this so much because I never knew how to deal with these conflicting character traits. I would always go all-in, feel crazy high-vibes, take up every activity I possibly could, be the star of the show and just always go for awesomeness. I kept going from one high to the next, getting my ego fix through things like dyeing my hair bright pink, getting piercings, starting cool new projects and acquiring new boyfriends.
Adrenaline was my daily fuel—until one day, I crashed and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. I couldn’t get back up. I felt I was going to die.
I couldn’t get back on that stage, I couldn’t be bold, I couldn’t be that tough girl I always seemed to be. I couldn’t keep up with my self-imposed persona—because I wasn’t actually her. My sensitive side finally spoke up and said:
“No more! Stop ignoring me. I am part of you and the only way to make you see me is to make you crash.”
I didn’t know what to do with myself. If I couldn’t be that strong part of my personality, then who was I? I couldn’t possibly show that I was insecure, anxious or that I felt like crap. That would make me seem weak. The horror!
Showing my raw emotions, saying that I actually felt insecure, admitting my sadness by crying out in public—these were all parts of me that I simply wouldn’t allow myself to accept. I wasn’t aware of this. I just wouldn’t acknowledge it—that was my survival policy. Apparently at a very early age I had learnt that it wasn’t okay to be a little girl with fears, doubts and the need for a comforting hug, so I decided to just not feel them anymore.
I decided to shut off my need for love and affection, and never shared how I really felt in my heart. Sharing that was dangerous. That would mean losing love. That would mean being vulnerable—and that, to me, equaled risking my life. So I hardened up, toughened up, made sure I always seemed on top of the world and on top of my game. And I believed I was. Until my softer side slammed on the breaks and threw me down a deep, dark hole.
It was the best thing that ever happened to me.
It taught me to get in touch with my feelings, to see them, to honour them and to let them speak for themselves. I discovered that I am actually a phenomenally sensitive person with a gift for sensing what other people need. I now use this in my work and I help my clients get in touch with their softer, yet much stronger side. That side they’ve always been hiding out of fear—but is actually the part where the gold is hiding.
Our feelings are our guides, our intuition is our compass. Without them we are lost. Does finally tapping into our feelings mean feeling a hell of a lot? Sometimes feeling overwhelmed, feeling on top of the world and then down in the dumps? Yes, it does. But at least we’re feeling something. And to me, to feel is to live. It is the human connection that we all share, yet are so afraid to show out of fear of losing love.
That which we fear, we create—by shutting it out.
Our strength lies in our softness. Our truth lies in our feelings. Our purpose lies in our intuition.
But how do we access this powerful side that scares the sh*t out of us?
How do we handle the fear of falling in deeply when opening up that hole?
What do we do when we’re afraid we can’t hold ourselves steady on that emotional roller coaster ride?
The only way we can face it is by gradually sinking in, as if it were a hot bath that we need to get used to—slowly and carefully. We take time to turn to ourselves, to sit with our feelings and to simply feel them. To allow them to be there, to experience them, breathe into them and to give them space. That is the only thing they need—to be heard, to be seen, to be welcomed. Just like we needed to be, when we were young and reaching for a hand to hold or looking for a shoulder to cry on.
When I feel vulnerable, not good enough or just unsure about what the hell I’m doing, I sit with myself. I talk to myself and ask myself what I need. I listen to what comes up and tend to that; nothing more, nothing less. I don’t expect others to solve my misery. I don’t blame others for my unhappiness, or see the world as the cause of my despair. I take responsibility for myself, become my own parent and take care of whatever needs I have.
And then, all of a sudden, I open my eyes and look up through my wet lashes to see that the real, strong “me” has come out again, ready to play.
And that’s how I go from one side of my personality to the other, always taking both of their needs into account.
And that, allows me to stand strong in the middle of all those exploding fireworks—gracefully balancing them while creating a true masterpiece worth living.
Author: Sophie Charlotte
Image: flickr/justine warrington
Apprentice Editor: Cori Carlo / Editor: Emily Bartran