Written by Sophie
What a fantastic group! I always come away feeling more connected, braver, and stronger. Thank you everyone, I am so grateful. My recovery, being one of my life’s processes, has evolved yet again and I’ve entered another stage, wow what a blessing. I am so grateful. I may have judged this at a certain time in my life but now I am valuing my journey more and more every day.
I am valuing my emotions as they come up, raw and unfiltered, I am valuing my awareness and how it has led me to this point in my life. I am valuing my strength and resilience as I have chosen myself and, in doing so, not given up on my freedom. I am valuing my bravery as I continue to give all elements of this process the space and time they need to grow, heal, express, or do whatever they must do.
Now for sharing. As time passes, I see how powerful sharing really is. How sharing and being real and vulnerable with another person is an essential part of my liberation. I see how this portal for deep connection guides my discovery by shining light on who I am, what I want and what I need. I often refer to it as ‘being on the same wavelength’. It is a spiritual experience, a frequency or a feeling that thinking can no longer hijack for me.
Feeling this wavelength by listening to the energy in my body, more specifically my heart, has helped me become clearer about other types of sharing, their intention, what they feel like in my body and what I learn after.
Even though I now understand what real connection is and how it feels, it does not mean that every sharing experience is amazing, and I connect in this way with everyone all the time. Quite the opposite. It’s a learning curve. I’m learning more and more as I listen to my body when I share and ask myself ‘what was I looking for there?’ and ‘could I have given that to myself?’
After group, I felt inspired to write about my interpretation of different types of sharing, how I recognise/identity them, how they feel for me, what I am thinking before and after I share and what I now do to support myself if I find myself using one of the more unhelpful ‘methods of sharing’.
Oversharing: For me this often crops up when I don’t reassure myself enough. When I don’t practice self-reassurance, I can get overwhelmed with doubts and fears and I externalise these thoughts to look for reassurance. Because I recognise this, the fear loses its power and after I share, I feel ‘robbed’ like I gave away my favorite painting and the person I gave it to put it in their attic. It is not that the other person doesn’t have empathy, but they do not know what I need in the situation, only I do: my own reassurance. I noticed this coming up a lot when I was preparing for my driving test. The narrator in my head was very unsupportive so I looked to others for comfort, but it had no impact because what I really needed was to change the narrator’s script. It was a very valuable realization as it showed me the impact of self-talk.
Not sharing: Condition classic. For me, not sharing is victim mode. Not asking for what I wanted and needed while expecting everyone to know all the same. When you think about it, it’s hilarious. I’ve had many a laugh with my boyfriend over this one… I think this comes up more in certain relationships in my life than others. I find it challenging to be honest with some people about how I feel because we are not on the same ‘wavelength’. I am still learning about this one and I find it helpful to practice patience with myself. I use reminders like: “this is a new realization; I am working towards expressing how I feel”. Something else I do to help with this one is writing letters to both myself and the other person. It brings up a lot of emotion and letting it come up and come out makes it easier for me to interact with that person. Slowly I am beginning to put little boundaries in place. Baby steps.
Sharing gossip: Everyone can relate to this; we’ve all done it at some point. I’ve always been wary of people who have a lot to say about others behind their back. There is a difference between using gossip to feel validated versus genuine expression of emotion. I’ve learned it is necessary to let out frustrations about people or situations with someone on my team as suppressing them led to a lot of resentment and discomfort in my body. Gossip on the other hand is quick and easy and gives this false sense of belonging. After engaging in gossip, I have felt deflated and almost remorseful. These feelings helped inform me of my values as I realized honesty and integrity were important to me. Gossiping goes against these values. When I feel the urge to gossip about someone behind their back I now ask myself questions like: “what is this person bringing up for me?”, “what are my expectations of them?”, “what are my expectations of myself?”, “what could I be letting go of here?”, “how could I be more compassionate with myself?”.
Sugarcoating/ dramatizing/ over exaggerating: Oh, the shock factor! That will get a bit of attention… Condition loooves this one. For me, dramatizing is a real case of not good enough syndrome. I think being a storyteller and using my creativity to connect is great but using my creativity to project an image of myself is draining. Trying to make someone like/respect/fear/envy me (the list goes on) leaves me feeling a bit empty, like I’ve outsourced my own approval for someone else’s. And nobody else’s will ever add up. It’s like climbing a mountain and telling someone who hasn’t climbed it about the experience. Only I can truly understand what I experienced and how it felt.
I notice I over exaggerate when I’m trying to ‘make’ someone else see things my way. When I recognise this totalitarian regime, I usually laugh at the irony and then I give myself plenty of credit for recognising this one because it can be sneaky! I’m giving myself time to practice validating myself and prioritizing what I think about me over what others think. It’s also showing me what I care about and what is important to me. I tend to do a lot of promotion work for things I feel passionate about. It’s early days for this one and I’m exploring different ways I can express myself without needing to impress others or look for their validation. Exciting!
Overall, I’m starting to see how climbing the mountain is enough. Sharing stories and memories about the climb is an amazing opportunity to connect with others, especially those on the same wavelength. For me, I no longer value the race to the summit but instead I value the learnings along the way. At times, when I catch myself comparing mountains or quickening my pace to the summit, I simply remind myself I am enough and give myself permission to slow back down and connect with my wavelength again.