Yesterday, anger greeted me. I got emotionally triggered when I felt judgments, criticism from others who I’ve been close to in the past. As a long time fan of feeling all the feelings, I let myself feel anger and disappointment, and then began wondering how I might need to explore some impacts I may be having that were not intended.
Something I’d considered years ago — that some of you have faced yourself before — presented itself again.
Am I “too much?”
Is my way of expressing Love effusively, communicating robustly and sharing wide-openly, self-centered or vain? Is it needy? Am I seeking attention in a way that is not based in Love? Am I having an impact on others that is not what I want, not what Love wants through me?
I felt annoyed that criticisms weren’t being shared directly but instead talked about away from me. This didn’t feel like Love. Having direct communication withheld by loved ones left me feeling like I couldn’t consciously converse, which might help me to explore where I may be having a hurtful impact.
I prayed for God’s arms to wrap themselves around me. I laid in the sun for some medicinal vitamin D and for the striking pierce of the sun’s bold light.
Streaming from its rays, there was a whisper.
It was like the sun spoke to me… “Even when you’re angry, even when you’re triggered, you are lovable.” Just like we all are, no matter what. Oh, did I ever inhale that piercing, whispered Light.
Moments later, I had the fortune of a phone conversation with my dear friend Michael who sees me. Now, not 10 years ago. Not next year. Now. He sees my intentions, my far-end-of-the-range ways of expressing personally and openly, as inspiring and beautiful. Are they? To some, yes. Am I “right” and others wrong? No. Does Michael withhold feedback when it’s not cozy and comfortable? Nope. We “go there” because we aren’t conflict avoiders. Resolving conflict can be delectably juicy! It is part of sharing Love in a friendship. In his presence, even over the phone, I felt seen. We explored some of the unconscious ways I might want to look at more closely, and I simply felt seen… through the eyes of God, which is Love.
As long as we are willing to humbly consider feedback about our ways, words or actions, there is nothing else to consider in this situation. If you live on the far end of a range and you revel in PDA like me… or perhaps you only wear the color purple or you are a committed vegan… or perhaps you are openly gay or lesbian living in a town where most people can’t be at peace with that…
You are courageous!
I acknowledge you for living your truth. You aim to fully accept yourself. You honor who you are. And you live it — despite the unsavory circumstances you sometimes experience. It’s worth it, to be you.
People’s unwillingness to accept you as you are is a reflection of their unwillingness to accept themselves. Breathe it out, let it go, and take your attention away from them. They do not have power over you. Unless you give it to them -- take it back! Criticism from others is not your problem and it's not a healthy place to keep your attention.
If they call for Love through you, you can extend it however that feels true for you. As for judgment, in this moment you can choose to let it go.
Turn your attention to those who mirror your Light back to you!
Lean into the Light you are made of.
If I am a poppy and you are a rose...
We are both still plants. We can grow in the same garden. We have so much in common, and WOW you are stunning! We can be at peace with our differences, we can actually revel in them. I don’t need you to be like me — and I don’t need you to like me. However, if we want to express spiritual and emotional maturity, we can choose to celebrate our differences! They really are gloriously gorgeous.
When you are triggered, do healthfully vent. Honor and release the edges of anger, pain, rage, shame, fiery upset. Vent with pen and paper or with your voice out loud. Ask within yourself, What might be the gift in this for me? Aim your attention away from others and toward the power of Love that lives inside of you. How might this tense situation actually be pointing you to greater self-acceptance, greater Love for the one precious you?
I'll close with this.
Our 12 week old Goldendoodle puppy Jerry loves to eat. A few times I’ve thought, Gosh, does Jerry have overeating issues? Oh no! Sometimes he whines and seems to want more food after eating and then I hear my gut and heart speaking… "Mama, will you love me? Will you touch me?" I sit on the floor and begin to pet his furry belly. He kicks his little golden puppy leg and melts. He begs no more.
It wasn’t food he wanted. It was Love.
Jessica Rios, Founder of Leaning into Light, is a lifelong letter writer, Love-based leader and eternal fan of Mr. Rogers. This deeply personal blog and our free recorded conversations are devoted to one of her greatest passions: illuminating the beauty of the human spirit.