In my healing work, one of the biggest discoveries I’ve made is the devastating effect of believing that our feelings are wrong, and how much of our pain stems simply from that.
It is without question the deepest pain I've ever experienced.
The ache of not being able to be with someone I love does not even register in comparison. By that I mean both being in love with someone I can't be with in this moment, and the losses I’ve experienced of all my immediate family members. Believing that my feelings are wrong and believing that I have to be someone different in this world far, far outweigh the pain of any of that.
Along with this belief that my feelings are wrong is the belief that I have to hide them, because people would be horrified by them. Specifically the people I feel deeply about ... I believe that I have to minimize or deny what I feel for them, or they will run screaming from me and never speak to me again.
It’s not a matter of not getting to have what I'd dream of. I don’t have that even now and I continue to have an amazing life. It is a belief that if they knew I loved them, they would find me horrifying and abandon me completely and forever.
So much of this comes back to my dad telling my precious little girl heart about the horror of my "scaring boys off.” Looking back, that may have only been one conversation, but coming from the most powerful man in my life, those words were etched into my heart forever. They taught me to see myself as something awful and threatening to the people I’d long to matter.
It's worth mentioning here that every man I've ever loved or had feelings for in my life is still in my life.
And it's worth mentioning that while my deep wounds and paralyzing fears stemming from a childhood trauma have kept me from ever experiencing intimacy with a man, I did once experience something closer to it than I would have imagined was possible ... With a man I had deeply loved, who is gay! But who held me in such regard that that line blurred for some moments. He is one I had long believed was horrified at my feelings (they had been some years before this), and I was shocked when he told me during this time that he had always loved that I felt that way about him.
So imagine ... While life circumstances were such that I couldn't be with him, his feeling about it was not horror ... It was love. And while we don't talk as much as we have in past seasons, there is no question that he deeply loves me to this day.
So, today I've been trying on how it would feel if I got to be fully myself with all of my feelings, and this man I currently love would still be here … Knowing that scandalous truth and all.
I’ve been amazed to discover that the world feels completely different when I contemplate getting to be honest with him and still having him in my life. I don’t even care whether I get to be with him or not … What’s important is simply being seen and known by someone who matters to me.
It feels miraculous even contemplating the possibility that he could know my heart and still find me worthy of being present with, in whatever way.
Just like happiness, love is completely an inside job. And more than love being retuned in the same way, what our hearts need is simply to be honest, and to be seen and known by the people who matter.
Since this writing, I did give a voice to my feelings. While I knew it would be powerful from trying on that feeling the day I wrote this, I had no idea how completely my world would shift the moment I hit Send on that email, hands shaking.
Since that moment I have felt whole in a way I never have in my lifetime.
It truly does not matter what the outcome is, and as with everything that involves others, it’s completely out of my hands.
Happily, he does seem to still be speaking to me and all, and there’s been no running or screaming!
Regardless, though, simply giving my heart a voice changed everything.
What does your heart need to say?
Susan is a singer, flutist, and writer in Nashville. She spends her days writing procedures and communications for a bank, her Sunday mornings making amazing music with amazing people, and every moment discovering her heart. Her life's work is writing, creating, and living her story.