(This is the 5th of the Eight Universal Principles for Stepping up to the Edge by Baron Baptiste taken from his book -“Journey into Power”.)
If I had to choose one out of the 8 principles for Stepping out of My Edge that impacted my life in a HUGE WAY - it’s this one -
In order to heal, we must feel.
I have sadness. It’s not new. It’s the hiding of the sadness that is new, well at least when I discovered it during my first Baptiste Level 2 program in 2016. It’s more than crying at sad movies. I bury the sadness deep within me, because I thought it as a useless emotion. When I was young, I was called a crybaby. Plus at that age, most of you may remember being scolded, and your father telling you to stop crying and it was so damn difficult to stop crying.
The word I used is SQUELCH.
YourDictionary.com defines SQUELCH as:
To subdue forcibly: squelch a revolt.
To inhibit or suppress: squelch a rumor; squelch one's anger.
Archaic To crush by trampling.
Trying to stop myself from crying, physically felt like the 3rd definition. And crushed it, I did. Squelching the sadness is painful.
Why are we made to feel ashamed of our emotions? Maybe it’s not intentionally done, but the consequences are real.
You can agree or disagree with me but most of us puts on a mask. We put up a facade to show everyone that we are strong. We’re reluctant to show our vulnerability, our fears, our shortfalls, our real feelings basically - god forbid, others will laugh at us, make fun, think less or be condescending.
I dare to say that we put on a mask not to hide our emotions but to hide our shame.
We can’t prevent the stories other people have of us but we can be a yes to creating a new story for ourselves only if we are ready to step out of the edge.
But first we need to STOP HIDING.
When we hide our emotional and physical injuries, those wounds do not disappear. They stay dormant. The feelings of fear, disappointment,, shame, rage - they stay dormant.
It’s ironic that hiding these unpleasant feelings in order to “look good in front of others” - to be “strong" - is actually a weakness.
And if so why do we do it?
How did the desire to look good on the outside become more important than feeling good on the inside?
All it takes is a major or even a minor event, to make us explode from all the pent-up "inner strength”. And when the BOOM happens, we regret the words we said and the actions we took.
I’m not saying that that you should show your emotions to the world. Realistically, being emotional and vulnerable doesn’t work in the corporate world. Brene Brown says yes, but it’ll take the time.
Healing starts from the inside. It starts you acknowledging your feelings. It’s not right or wrong. Stop judging. And start responding with kindness and understanding, even if it’s uncomfortable.
To start healing - we need to stay in the discomfort.
YOga is healing.
The physical asana is a great practice to stay and be whatever comes up and It’s visceral it’s physical, you feel the truth of your body right there on your mat - your thoughts, reactions, emotional patterns.
Backbends symbolise fear of looking in the past. Hip openers may release angers you weren’t aware you had. Chest opening poses may stimulate buried sorrows or flood you with love for someone in your life.
People sabotage their practice and growth: because they give up in those difficult moments. They are not willing to work things through. They flee and instead of staying grounded in their calm centre.
Baron says if you stay in those difficult moments, choose to stay open, relax and breathe and a breakthrough is right there on the other side.
There is a yogic principle that promises that everything is fleeting - nothing is permanent, not even pain.
All of us experience a certain trauma in our lives, and we’ve learnt to “suffer” with them the best that we can. But are you really ok? Don’t you think you have suffered enough by squelching those emotions?
Do you want to try something newly?
If yes, we have to get out of our own way.
To get out of our own way, we need to step off the edge. And stepping off the edge means dealing with our feelings. It’s not girl thing, I promise you.
Stepping off the edge is a continuous practice of being present to what’s coming up and being committed to growth. And it requires you to face your fears and being willing to see what’s possible on the other side of fear.
Whatever your fears that makes your angry or sad- the work is to acknowledge your emotions, be it sadness/anger/frustrations and allow yourself to feel the emotion. Cry if you need to.
The more you acknowledge and feel it, the more friendly it be comes and has less hold over you.
I’m a naturally happy person and the irony is the smiles I put on is my mask, my coping mechanism.
It’s ok I guess, if I don’t WANT the world to see that I’m sad.
In fact, when I realised that I don’t NEED the whole world to see that I’m sad, that was the turning point for me, that’s how my healing began. I found the right people - whom I could share my sadness and who would allow me to feel my sadness and not stop me from me from feeling sad.
And if someone ask me if I’m ok, I’m brave enough to say I’m not ok.
If someone asked me “how are you”, I’m strong enough to say “Not to good”.
What excess baggage am I carrying around with me? What thoughts, feelings or past situations am I clinging to that drains me?
What do I most need to let go of? What are the things that I would be most relieved to finally release? Anger towards someone in my life? Stress about money? Fears that arose from a past negative experience?
Principle 5: In Order to Heal, You Must Feel
Principle 6: Think Less, Be More
Principle 7: We are the Sum Total of Our Reactions
Principle 8: Don’t Try Hard, Try Easy