I Got My Feelings Hurt
It happens to all of us. It happened to me.
I had planned a home party for a line of adult products, and invited pretty much every DFW woman I thought might be interested– 300+ to be exact.
I created this picture in my mind of what the party would be. Full house, lots of laughter, lots of girl-time connection, juicy conversations about sexuality and pleasure, and of course, toys! RSVPs showed 16 yeses. And 40 maybes! Nice!
For what I realize are reasons that have nothing to do with me, a very small handful of women came. Not counting me and the consultant, I had five others show up. Five others who I gratefully enjoyed seeing, and felt a love and appreciation for, no doubt. But simultaneously, I found myself missing the other eleven who had counted themselves a yes, and for whatever reason, did not show up. And all those maybes… I thought at least a couple of them would actualize into yes.
The big girl part of me listed possible reasons, and again, those reasons had nothing to do with me. I live a ways out of Dallas now, it’s a Thursday, I had rescheduled once, not everyone like sex toy parties, yada yada.
Yet, the little girl part of me was hurt, sad and in her hurt feelings kept whispering: Nobody actually likes me.
There were parts of me that were hell-bent on making it mean something about me, that something was wrong with me.
The mean critical aspect of me was saying: What a fucking disaster. Aren’t you embarrassed? You thought you had friends. And you made way too much sangria.
The dark shadowy part of me that lurks, eagerly waiting for moments like this to pounce, whispered sardonically: LOSER.
On a realistic plane, I KNEW these thoughts were not true. I know I am loved, that I have friends, that it was not a personal thing. I know the facts.
But I’m not necessarily talking about facts today. I’m talking about feelings.
Sometimes what we KNOW and what we FEEL are two different things. Sometimes we attach made-up stories to the feelings we feel. Sometimes we even tell ourselves lies to support our hurt feelings. (Gasp! Who would do that? Raises hand.) And most of the time, those stories can be traced back many years, and are rooted in very old wounds, experienced by a very young self.
I pushed away my hurt feelings, “knowing” they were unreasonable. I cleaned up. I went to bed. Yet the next morning I woke up feeling residual hurt. I journaled, working to talk myself out of these unreasonable feelings.
And then, Facebook chatting with one of my best friends, Angela, she asked “How was the party?”
I began typing my reply and BAM, just like that, the tears came. They came fast and hard, falling steadily from my eyes from some ancient place, and my first reaction was to stop them and shove them back up in there, because this is silly. Because I think these feelings are “unreasonable.”
I told her that I felt silly, but that my wounded-child was hurt.
Before I continue, let me tell you something about Angela. Angela and I have been friends for about a dozen years. She is one of the bravest women I know. Since a tsunami of traumatic life events in December of last year, she has been in rebuild-phase and been working her ass off to heal, to get better, to re-wire, to re-construct, to stay present, to feel it all. She’s been to hell and back, and aside from that, she knows me better than most.
This chick knows a thing or two about triggers and core wounds and she replied… “Of course. This is one of your core wounds, correct?”
“Yes.” I went on to explain that I know that I have this tendency to catastrophize, and I am famous for my ‘goldfish-memory’ (I only remember the last six minutes of my life. So, if they’ve been great six minutes, wonderful! If not, well… ugh. My entire life is shit and everything sucks.)
“I feel silly.” I said.
And she said…
“Try to replace feeling silly with being compassionate with yourself. These are deep, real wounds you are dealing with, and when they are triggered, our reactions aren’t necessarily rational.”
Her words felt like salve, soothing and cool on my owie.
I already KNOW this- I preach compassion and curiosity for a living, for cripe’s sake!
But there I was, completely forgetting to direct curiosity and compassion toward myself. Instead I lashed out judgment, even mockery toward myself for my feelings.
Thankful for this reminder, I exhaled.
I turned within and softened my gaze. I saw her, little me in there, sad and rejected, and I went to her. I let her crawl onto my lap. I let her feel.
Resisting our feelings does not work.
Judging ourselves for our feelings does not work.
Feeling bad about feeling bad is a double layered shit sandwich that just does not serve us.
Thank you, Angela, for reminding me to return to compassion. Reminding me to allow myself to feel. Caught up in my own loop of feelings and judgment about the feelings, I couldn’t remember to do this. I needed a friend to remind me.
Once felt, the feelings dissolved like vapor.
They just wanted to be felt.
Is there a feeling you’ve been judging yourself for? Is there an emotion you think is silly or unreasonable and you try to chase it away?
Turn to it. It’s a precious part of you. Let it feel. Create a safe space for it, and watch what happens next…