Caution: This is a long article, so save it for when you have time to put your feet up and relax with no distractions from kids, work, or task lists pulling at you. And then let me know what you think by simply replying to this post. It’s been great hearing from many of you.
When’s the last time you were really honest with yourself? Especially when you were feeling some of those harder emotions of abandonment, disappointment, frustration, resentment, and bitterness?
Yeah, I know. Not pretty.
But since I have come to consider you as friends, I know I can trust you with a confession of my own.
These darker thoughts happened to me just the other day. And seeing the reflection of who I am deep down inside staring back at me was. . .well, uh . . .(squirm) . . . let’s just say, a bit unappealing.
However, fresh off the book, The Love Code, I was doing a pretty good job seeing my rather dark thoughts and loving myself through it. Honestly, I believe this is what allowed the unpleasant thought to surface with such acute clarity.
So, here’s my dark thought . . .
I can’t figure out what I want…and I’m mad that you DO know what you want.
Can you relate?
I was mortified when I realized what I was really thinking behind my festering thoughts of bitterness, resentment and punitive plotting. Where was all of this coming from? It’s not who I want to be nor who I am choosing to become, and I was determined to deal with it.
Here’s the backstory:
My husband had been wanting to learn how to fly-fish for years. I had been encouraging him and doing all I could to support him in this new adventure. He deserved it big time. The man works hard for his family and gives nearly every waking moment to the needs of his wife and two teenage kids—as he runs a successful full-time company “on the side”. He’s a strong heartbeat in our family and is on the far opposite end of the deadbeat dad. He’s the real deal.
So, when the opportunity of a lifetime came along to join a buddy on a fly-fishing trip with a private guide through the beautiful Green River of Utah—I cheered! This was it! What a cool break! He just HAD to go!
But in true fashion, he resisted because it was five days where he didn’t want to be away from the family. I encouraged, pushed, prodded and even went shopping with him to pick out his new gear. The good man finally let himself get excited about it as he fought the guilt of taking time for himself.
Then the big day came and I was starting to “feel” things. Tinges of resentment. Little bitter thoughts flitting in and around me. Feelings of withdrawing from the relationship.
I could see the signs that I wasn’t happy, but I was confused. Hadn’t I truly wanted him to go? Wasn’t I thrilled that he had found a new hobby? Hadn’t I wanted him to go guilt-free? Yes, to all this, but something was getting in the way of joyfully sending him off.
And that’s when this clarifying thought hit me…so as uncomfortable as it is, I’ll put it out there again—
I can’t figure out what I want…AND I’m mad that you DO know what you want.
Yikes! Talk about sending mixed signals!
And over the five days that he was gone, I wrestled with this embarrassingly dark thought. Here’s the truth: I was feeling restless in my life and was struggling to figure out what I wanted from day-to-day. Whether it was in my free time, next steps in my business, or simply who I wanted to hang out with. I was unclear about what I needed for fulfillment and I was avoiding the discomfort of facing it.
And my avoidance was costing me. I knew what these dark thoughts were signaling. It was time I figured out what I wanted and discover what I needed. And most importantly, stop resenting him because he DID know and was daring to act on it.
To stop this unpleasant thought from festering I did two things:
I confessed it and made new commitments.
1-Confession – This is the first step to change
• Putting it into words and writing it down in my journal made me see it clearly. I was faced with the truth of what I was feeling and forced to deal with it.
• Then I prayed my simple and favorite prayer: God, save me from myself. Forgive me. This is not who I want to be. I invite you into this. Help me love both myself and others better.
2-Commitments: This second step of stating what you ‘will and will not’ do is what creates new patterns for long-term change
I will not –
• exact revenge in my ever-so-subtle ways,
• sabotage joy,
• be young,
• deny my emotions,
Yep, I am thorough because I have too many creative ways of negatively acting on my pain. Some of these might make sense to you and some of these might not. But I know my patterns and I need to see the list it its entirety to keep me honest. Plus, it makes it painfully clear my need for Divine intervention. I know I’m not a good person without God.
I will –
• show kindness,
• take care of myself,
• will bring this into the light and expose every dark corner,
• honor what I want,
• ask God to help me figure it out,
• confess my dark ways,
• choose healing,
• find a better way,
• stop sabotaging my joy and in the process sabotaging others’ joy,
• take responsibility,
• be honest,
• be kind. (yes, I know I mention kindness twice, but my journaling revealed it, so it must mean something)
And here’s the really good news. Even though these lists look long and were overwhelming, I know I am not alone in this. God is holding these commitments with me. And when I need reminding, they will be brought to my mind. This is how we change and grow. It is our job to confess and reach out for Divine help to walk alongside us in our new commitments.
What’s worse, if we try to ignore, avoid or deny what we’re feeling, this is where we stay stuck, confused and ambivalent. We need to take an honest look at the dark thoughts behind our emotions to get the true relief we crave.
So, what dark thoughts are you dealing with? Don’t be afraid of the truth. You are never alone. Having the courage to face it brings new levels of freedom. You’re ready for it.
Dear God, thank you for being kind and loving as you teach me in sensitive areas. I am grateful that you care enough to help me grow. I invite you into all of this and anticipate how I will change for the better. Bring it all to mind when I need it. I confess old ways that harmed and kept me stuck and make new commitments that heal and move me forward. I am thankful for who you are to me.
My heart is with you and for you,